Sunday, September 28, 2008

Breast cancer awareness – Early detection is key

October is designated annually as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. So what better time to not only talk about breast cancer, but to also encourage all women to follow the American Cancer Society guidelines for early detection.

Breast cancer, the most common disease among women in the United States, accounts for nearly one of every three cancers diagnosed. You no doubt know someone in your family or circle of friends and acquaintances who has been touched by this disease. Even though the vast majority of breast cancers occur in women, men are at risk as well.

Breast cancer is a disease that begins in the tissue of the breast. Sections of the breast known as lobes are divided into smaller lobules, which have bulbs capable of producing milk. Passageways called ducts connect these structures and eventually lead to the nipple. The spaces around the lobules and ducts are filled with fatty tissue as well as blood vessels and lymph vessels. The lymph vessels lead to small organs called lymph nodes, which are found under the arm, above the collarbone and in the chest (as well as many other parts of the body).

By year's end, more than 180,000 women throughout the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Sadly, about 40,000 women will die from this disease in the coming year. That is the bad news. The good news is that because of medical advancements in diagnosing and treating cancer, there are approximately 2.5 million breast cancer survivors!

Yet many women refuse to take a proactive role against breast cancer and ignore the situation completely. Just being a female is the greatest risk factor for breast cancer. Yes, increasing in age and family history are other risk factors - and it can and does touch women of all races and ages. In fact, 90-95 percent of all breast cancers are found in women with no family history of the disease. That is why it is important to be vigilant.

There are things you can do to greatly reduce your chances of developing breast cancer. You can include regular exercise in your daily routine; eat a low-fat, high-fiber diet; avoid smoking; and use alcohol in moderation.

If you are 40 years of age or older, please get a mammogram and have a clinical breast exam every year. And don't forget the importance of monthly breast self-exams. If you are between the ages of 20 and 39, make certain you perform a monthly breast self-exam and have a clinical breast examination by your health care professional every three years.

Most breast lumps are benign; that is, they are not cancerous. Benign breast tumors are abnormal growths that do not spread outside of the breast and they are not life-threatening. But some benign breast lumps can increase a woman's future risk of getting breast cancer so it is important to have regular breast exams.

That is why mammograms are important. A mammogram, a low-dose X-ray that helps find a cancerous tumor before you feel it during a monthly breast self-exam, gives the woman (or man) a crucial head start on potentially lifesaving treatments. That makes this test one of the most powerful protections a person has against dying from breast cancer.

But there is a caveat to that statement. For maximum protection, a woman needs to have mammograms on a regular schedule. Occasional mammograms simply do not provide enough protection against advanced breast cancer. Studies suggest that regular mammograms can decrease a woman's risk of dying from breast cancer by roughly 30 percent.

Mammography is now available as a digital test at Battle Creek Health System's Mary Coleman Mammography Center. While the procedure for taking the images is the same for traditional film and digital mammograms, the digital images are recorded and processed on a computer. They offer faster and more accurate images for physicians to read, and also the ability to enhance, magnify and manipulate them for further evaluation.

Remember, early detection can save your life or the life of someone you love. If you have not already done so, please talk with your physician about scheduling your mammogram today. Early detection is the key to survival.

If you would like more information about breast cancer, stop by the American Cancer Society Resource Library in The Cancer Care Center or call the BCHS breast nurse navigator at 269-966-8647.

Dr. Wendy French and Dr. Sue Tobin are medical oncologists with The Cancer Care Center at Battle Creek Health System.

Talcum powder 'can raise cancer risk'

Ladies, please note -- the next time you use talcum powder to keep fresh, make sure you don't sprinkle it in your lower body.

A new study has revealed that women who use talcum powder around their private parts everyday are actually 40 per cent more likely to develop ovarian cancer -- the risk is only restricted to the lower body.

Talc is made from a mineral called hydrous magnesium silicate which is crushed, dried and milled to produce powder used in cosmetic products.

And, according to researchers, powder applied to the private parts in the lower body may travel to the ovaries and trigger a process of inflammation that allows cancer cells to flourish.

Lead researcher Dr Maggie Gates said that until the outcome of further researches, women should avoid using talc in the genital area, the 'Daily Mail' reported.

Dr Gates and colleagues at Harvard Medical School have based their findings on an analysis of over 3,000 women -- the study found using talcum powder once a week raised the risk of ovarian cancer by 36 per cent.

The risk increased to 41 per cent for those applying the powder every day, the researchers found.

The study also revealed that the risks were greater still for those with a certain genetic profile. Women carrying a gene called glutathione S-transferase M1, but lacking a gene called glutathione S-transferase T1, were three times likely to develop tumours.

The study has been published in the latest issue of the 'Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention' journal.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Treatment For Cancer

Cancer is the disease that is dreaded as the worst cause of deaths in the world. One, it can't be prevented unlike AIDS which has no cure but is preventable. There is no effective and safe treatment for cancer.

Treatment for cancer exists in a wide rage; surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, clinical trials, proton therapy, complementary medicine, and cutting edge technologies. All this treatments are there but none of them guarantees good end results. When one is on the operating table under going either of the treatments, it is a matter of life and death. If one is lucky to live his/her life would never be the same again. One has to bear with the side effects that come with this disease such as hair loss sometimes even one of their body part like a leg might be amputated.

Many foundations are being formed so as to assist those inflicted by cancer. The main purpose of the foundations is to assist with the finances that cancer brings about. It is very difficult for a single person to be able to pay for treatment of cancer disease.

There are also different organizations that provide assistance to the infected. There are those who give free transportation for those seeking distance treatment. Others provide free of charge accommodations and other supportive services to patients and their families when confronted with medical emergencies. While some pharmaceuticals companies have programs to assist patients of cancer cover or ease the cost of the medications they manufacture.

Before going for treatment for cancer, the ailing person must make a decision before choosing any of the treatments. This is because they all have different complications and also it depends with the kind of cancer one may have. Otherwise let's continue wishing for a better treatment or better yet a "cure".

Peter Gitundu Researches And Reports On Health. For More Information On Treatment For Cancer, Visit His Site At TREATMENT FOR CANCER

Monday, September 8, 2008

Facts on Pancreatic Cancer

The pancreas is a gland organ in the digestive and endocrine system. It produces several important hormones, including insulin, glucagon, and somatostatin as well as secretes pancreatic juice containing digestive enzymes. It is a very important organ dealing with digestion and hormone production but unfortunately also vulnerable to many infections including pancreatic cancer. Every year about 33,000 individuals in the United States and more than 60,000 in Europe are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Early diagnosis for pancreatic cancer is very difficult because most of its symptoms are non-specific. The most common noticeable symptoms for this type of cancer are pain in the upper abdomen, loss of appetite, significant weight loss and painless jaundice related to bile duct obstruction. All of these symptoms can potentially have multiple causes, which is the reason why pancreatic cancer is often not diagnosed until it is in its advanced stages.

There are many different causal risk factors associated with the development of pancreatic cancer. These risk factors include age, male gender, African ethnicity, smoking, obesity, a high meat diet, and diabetes. Pancreatic cancer is usually discovered during the course of the evaluation of all of these symptoms. Liver function tests are often performed to verify if there is any obstruction in the bile duct. Ultrasound and CT scans are also used to scan the inside of our bodies and to identify tumor growths.

The prognosis for pancreatic cancer is not very good at all; the reason for this is because cancer of the pancreas are often not diagnosed until they are in some advanced and harmful stages. The average survival rate after being diagnosed is between 3 to 6 months, and the 5-year survival rate is around 5%. Pancreatic cancer has the highest death rate of all types of cancer and is the fourth highest cancer killer in the United States among both men and women alike.

There are several ways to prevent the development of pancreatic cancer. Smoking is the most significant and easiest avoidable risk for getting this type of cancer. Maintaining a healthy weight and constant exercise is also another good way to not only prevent cancer but to keep your body fit and healthy. Consuming fruits, vegetables and grains and decreasing red meat intake in your diet is another recommended prevention. Vitamin D has also been shown to significantly reduce the risk of developing this type of cancer by up to 50%.

Pancreatic cancer is definitely a deadly disease and it is important for all of us to know the facts about it, the different symptoms it manifest and the ways of preventing it.

Lester Lee is the webmaster of, an informative website that provides the latest advice, info and updates on Pancreatic Cancer. Visit our site today for more helpful info on Pancreatic Cancer and other similar topics.