Back To Normal
Click Here To Subscribe Via Email

Subscribe To Our E-Mail Newsletter

Ovarian Cancer and Oral Contraceptives

Ovarian cancer is an especially deadly form of cancer because it often goes undetected until it spreads to a vital organ and disrupts the organ's functioning. Thus, it earned the name "silent killer." While an estimated 13,580 women have passed away in 2010 due to cervical cancer, this number is gradually decreasing. Doctors and researchers believe that the increasing use of oral contraceptives plays a role in ovarian cancer's decrease.

Ovarian cancer can begin with three different tumor types on and around the ovary. These small, almond-shaped organs can mutate and develop tumors in the epithelium, which is the thin layer of tissue that covers the ovaries. This accounts for 85-90% of ovarian cancer cases. Two rarer forms of tumors begin in the actual egg-producing cells, or germ cells, as well as the supportive and hormone-producing tissue, called stromal tumors.

From here, ovarian cancer can spread in two different ways. It can leach into nearby tissue, such as the pelvis, cervix, and lower digestive system. Additionally, pieces of the tumor can break off and spread through the circulatory and lymph systems. From here, the tumors can anchor themselves anywhere in the body and begin to grow again.

In a study conducted by the Harvard Medical School, researchers found that even using oral contraceptives for one year decreased a woman's risk of developing ovarian cancer by 10-12%. After five years of using oral birth control, the risk dropped by half. At first, doctors found that this reduction in cancer rates occurred no matter the hormone in the oral contraceptive. However, a more in-depth study found that a higher level of progestin decreased the cancer risk better than low-progestin pills.

While many women turn to oral contraceptives solely to prevent unwanted pregnancy, it also has the proven benefit of protecting you from ovarian cancer as well. Frustratingly, though, not all birth control pills are created equally. Some, such as YAZ, Yasmin, and Ocella, have been linked to devastating side effects such as stroke and heart attack.

Read More

Treatment and Cures For Ovarian Cancer

Cancer can be a difficult disease to treat and cure fully. Due to the different types of tumors that comprise of cancer as whole, no single type of treatment is fully effective after a certain stage. After one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, there are different courses of treatment that one can choose from. There are no sure fire cures for ovarian cancer, but a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and intensive medication work very well for almost all patients. Depending on which stage the cancer has advanced to, treatment can be decided. There exist three main types of treatment for ovarian cancer, namely surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

The most common treatment for stage I and benign tumors is the removal of all cancerous tissue through surgery. This can be limited to removing only some pieces of tissue or the entire ovary and fallopian tube altogether. In severe cases, the uterus may also be removed. This is known as a hysterectomy and is common when there is no risk factor for recurrence of any cancer. If the tumor removed is high grade in nature, then some chemotherapy may also be given in accordance to the type of the tumor. Surgery is also helpful in making an exact diagnosis about ovarian cancer to start with and is seen as the safest method of treatment due to low chances of any risk.

For those patients whose cancer has entered Stage II or III, chemotherapy happens to be the best option. Chemotherapy uses fast acting drugs to kill off all the cancerous cells in the body. the only problem faced by those undergoing chemotherapy is the fatigue, constant nausea and other such problems suffered due to temporary decrease in the body cell count. Chemotherapy can be combined with surgery even in stages II and III of the disease. For those with malignant tumours, a combination of radiation therapy is suggested since it can be quite useful in removing all traces of the affected tissue in the body. However, by stage III there are chances that the cancer may have spread to other parts of the abdomen and so treatment can be ineffective to a certain degree.

For stage IV patients, radiation treatment is used in combination with surgery or chemotherapy. This is a rarely used and risky treatment, where high energy x-rays are used to kill the cancer cells. The treatment at this stage mainly involves removal of as much cancer as possible by all different means. At stage IV, cancer has most probably spread to other parts of the body and has a high chance of recurrence even with intensive treatment to prevent the same. However, the use of radiation therapy is useful to a large extent in removing cancer from most parts of the body and allowing other methods to take out the benign tumorous growths. For those who suffer from drug resistance during chemotherapy or radiation sickness, the best recourse is to go in for a full hysterectomy and salvage chemotherapy with stronger drugs.

Read More

Breast Cancer - Medical Symptoms, Causes And Treatments

Cervical cancer symptoms

Breast cancer is a malignant (cancerous) growth in the breast that can spread to the lymph nodes, lungs, brain, and bones. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer over the course of their lifetime. This article takes a brief yet concise look at the medical symptoms, causes and treatments for cancer of the breast.

Breast Cancer Symptoms And Causes

In the early stages of the cancer, symptoms usually do not appear. As the cancer grows, symptoms can include: a lump in the breast that may or may not be tender and/or an enlarged lymph nodes under the arm that may feel hard and have uneven edges but typically does not hurt.

A woman may also notice changes in the size, shape or feel of the breast such as an indentation of the nipple or a fluid discharge from the nipple; or redness or dimpling of the skin.

Men can get breast cancer yet women are 100% more likely to get cancer of the breast than men. In a man, symptoms will likely present as a breast lump, pain and tenderness.

The cause of cancer in the breast is unknown but the risk increases with a family history of this type of cancer, in women who have not had children; or in women who reached their menstrual cycle before age 12 or went through menopause after age 55.

Some cancers of the breast are sensitive to the hormone estrogen, that means estrogen causes tumors of the breast to grow. These estrogen sensitive cancers are called 'estrogen receptor positive cancer' or 'ER positive cancer'.

Breast Cancer Diagnosis And Treatment

Monthly self-exams of the breasts should be performed to detect any changes early. A baseline mammogram is recommended by age 35, then follow-ups every 2 years up to age 49, then every year after age 50. If a lesion is detected, a biopsy (tissue sample) may be needed to make an accurate diagnosis. Other tests that may be performed to formulate a proper diagnosis include an MRI, CT Scan, Breast Ultrasound or PET Scan.

Treatment is based on many factors including the type of cancer and the stage the cancer is in (stages range from (0 to IV). Surgery to remove the lump (lumpectomy) or to remove all or part of the breast and possibly nearby structures such as lymph nodes and muscle tissue (mastectomy) is the recommended treatment. Other treatment options include chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.

The experimental drug, tamoxifen, is currently being studied to determine if it can prevent cancer of the breast. This drug blocks the effects of estrogen which can promote the growth of cancer cells in women with estrogen-sensitive breast cancer. A newer class of medicines called aromatase inhibitors, have shown good results in post-menopausal women with breast cancer.

Read More

Breast Cancer - How You Can Return To Your Sexual Life After Breast Cancer Treatment

Cervical cancer symptoms

There are some changes in sexual life which a breast cancer victim has to face after undergoing breast cancer treatment. Continue reading this article if you want to discover how a breast cancer survivor can return to normal sex and intimacy.

It is very difficult for a women to return to their normal sex life after going under breast cancer treatment. The most important thing what a woman needs after the treatment of breast cancer is a sexual health program.

It is a difficult task to have sex after the regular side effects of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, such as vaginal dryness. This is due to premature menopause which causes pain during sex. Usually it takes a longer time to get aroused and the touch of your partner is not as pleasurable as before.

The steps of treatment of breast cancer like radiotherapy and chemotherapy makes the breast more sensitive to touch and if a women has gotten a mastectomy it is great shock for the patient as well as for her partner.

It is very important to regularly visit your gynecologist during and after the treatment of breast cancer. The women who suffer from cancer of the breast are at greater risk of cervical cancer and atrophy of the vagina.

But there is some good news. The side effects of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment do not last for a long time. About six months later the woman who as gone under the treatment of cancer are ready for to resume having sex again. But these six months are full of stress and anxiety and some special techniques and ideas should be followed to return to normal sex life.

Read More

Natural Alternative Treatment for Uterine Cancer

Uterine cancer occurs in women aged 40 to 50 years and post-menopausal women, with fewer than 5% of child bearing women at risk of developing this cancer. A common approach against most tumors is its removal together with the organ it is attached to thereby necessitating a hysterectomy. Physicians determine if uterus removal is adequate or whether the tumor has extended to surrounding lymph nodes and ovaries.

There are standard surgical and chemotherapeutic procedures or other options and certain women may opt for a hysterectomy followed by alternative methods of treatment to replace radiation, chemotherapy, hormonal blocking which cause anemia, nausea, hair loss and generally feeling totally miserable. Some women decline surgical procedures while some may choose the hysterectomy and chemotherapy together with alternative treatments.

Certain medical centers approach cancer treatment with alternative procedures which could (or could not) incorporate regular Western type medical procedures. Cancer Treatment Centers of America, the Issels and Envista are some of the centers that view cancer treatment from the position that medical options must help the body in treating itself.

Alternative cancer treatments (including uterine cancer) start by focusing on the improvement of the immune system - the body has self healing abilities provided it gets the correct nutrition.

Diet intakes, low in whole, raw foods and high in animal fats and processed foods, don't provide the minerals, vitamins and living enzymes required by the body for new cell creation. Chemically or artificially produced vitamins do not possess intricate enzymatic activities as found in natural food sources. Alternative treatment centers recommend, even insisting on diet changes for patients, to diets that support the fight against cancer. Changing eating habits may be problematic, however, it becomes easier once the patients perspective has changed.

Naturopathic physicians use non-toxic, natural alternative treatments and therapies which supports the person as a whole, not only focusing on one facet of the disease treatment (as in standard Western medical procedures) and seek to minimize harmful effects by applying the least force possible in boosting the immune system. Scientific and time tested therapies include botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, classical Chinese medicine, environmental medicine, hydrotherapy and minor surgery thereby resulting in a natural environment which promotes self healing in the body.

Another alternative treatment is immunotherapy in conjunction with a multidisciplinary approach and involves physical therapists, nutritionists, dieticians, naturopathic physicians and immunizations (to boost immune systems).

Although alternative therapies are more main stream nowadays, before choosing it to treat uterine cancer, check the track record and other references of applicable treatment facilities - avoid sole practitioners as best results are achieved when medical professionals combine their skills in a team effort.

Read More

What Is Lymphatic Cancer (Lymphoma) and Its Treatment Effects?

Cervical cancer symptoms

Lymphoma is the cancer of lymph nodes. Like all cancers, it is the uncontrolled growth of cells in the vicinity of lymph nodes. Lymph nodes can be viewed as stopping points of lymphatic system. Lymphatic system basically carries fighting soldiers to whatever areas of your body whenever the body area is invaded or requires help to fight foreign intruders. The lymphatic system is a network of 'highways' starting from below the chin to the back of the neck, to underneath the armpits and then to the groin area and connects to the spinal cord.

Lymphoma develops as lumps at the node areas, typically behind the neck, armpits and groin areas. Not all lymphomas grow in detectable areas. Once a lump develops careful monitoring is required. Whenever a lump occurs, it can be caused by

1) viral infection, which can be easily cured by a course of antibiotics and usually last only a week or two,

2) Tuberculosis, which detected at early stages can easily be cured, and which will require more specialized medical care and treatment,

3) Cancer, which can only be confirmed by a biopsy. If there are several lumps that have been growing for some time, it is vital to get the lumps checked out by a Hematologist. Hematologists are specialized doctors dealing with blood disorders. Lymphoma is considered as a blood disorder. For other types of cancer, one would go to an oncologist.

Other noticeable signs are cold sweats at night, lost of appetite, drastic weight loss and lethargy. Sometimes these signs do not appear as in my case except for the lumps on base of the neck.

Like many other cancers, lymphomas are quite complicated and have different types and subtypes but generally lymphoma can be divided into two broad categories, namely Hodgkins and Non-Hodgkins. Hodgkins lymphoma is much more curable and the prognosis is very good.

Conventional treatment applies for Lymphoma - surgery and radiation - if the cancer is fairly isolated typically only in stage 1 (more on staging later). Chemotherapy followed by radiation for cancer that is not so widespread in the body. If the cancer is in a fairly advanced stage as in stage 3 and 4, then a full course of Chemotherapy treatment is required, as was in my case.

Staging in lymphoma is different from other types of cancer. Stage 1 is cancer found on one part in one section of the body either above or below the diaphragm. If the cancer has appeared in more than one place on same side of the diaphragm, then it has gone to stage 2. Stage 3 means the cancer has spread to the abdomen and groin areas above and below the diaphragm. Stage 4 means that the cancer has been detected in the bone marrow. Stage 3 is already considered advanced stage.

Once a biopsy has confirmed that a tumour is cancerous, a CT scan is usually performed to stage the cancer. In lymphomas, a bone marrow tap is usually done to check if the bone marrow carries the cancer as well. CT scans are also performed at regular intervals during Chemotherapy to determine the treatment's efficacy. If the current treatment is not effective, doctors will switch to another Chemotherapy regimen. At the end of the treatment, a final CT scan and PET scan are conducted to confirm absence of cancerous cells. The words "No cancerous cells detected" are the sweetest words one can ask for.

Chemotherapy treatment can last between six to eight months and a month more to recuperate from the onslaught of Chemotherapy. Most people will give up work to focus on the treatment. As in my case, Chemotherapy was once every two weeks. The first week immediately after Chemotherapy is the worst.

Most of the time, I was too weak to keep awake. As time passed, strength returned and by the second week, I could manage a short walk. After that the whole process starts all over again.

Towards the end of the Chemotherapy, the body would have been pretty badly savaged by the Chemo poison. One often lands up feeling very different after Chemotherapy, and it takes months to get back toany normalcy. The speed of recovery from Chemotherapy really depends on one's physical and mental strength.

Chemotherapy, as it is often called - "It is a marathon"

Read More

What to Expect With Ovarian Cyst Removal

For those women who are unlucky enough to experience an ovarian cyst that does not dissolve on its own, surgery for ovarian cyst removal is an option. There are several considerations when preparing for surgery that women should be aware of. Most women feel more comfortable knowing exactly what to expect in regards to the possible complications, the actual procedure, the recovery time and the level of pain that is expected after surgery.

Ovarian cyst removal surgery generally involves removing a cyst through either open or laparoscopic surgery. The surgery can be done to remove just the cyst or, if cancer is found, one or both of the ovaries. In preparation for the procedure, your physician will most likely order a series of tests which usually include an EKG, CT scan, an ultrasound, blood and urine tests, and a physical exam. You may also be asked to stop using any blood thinning medication, such as Coumadin or Plavix, aspirin and ibuprofen. You will also be asked to refrain from eating or drinking anything for a minimum of 8 hours prior to your surgery.

You should always have your doctor explain both the open and laparoscopic procedures because there is a chance that, if a laparoscopic procedure will not allow the proper access, an open procedure may be necessary. The surgery generally lasts for 1 to 2 hours and you will be given either a general or local anesthetic; depending upon the procedure used. There are possible complications with this surgery which include excessive bleeding, blood clots, infection, infertility, shoulder pain and recurrence of cysts and/or cancer.

The average hospital stay after laparoscopic ovarian cyst removal is about 24 hours, while, with open surgery, the stay can expect to be extended up to 7 days. The pain after surgery can last anywhere from 3-10 days and usually depends upon the type of procedure used. However, the actual recovery time can be up to 3 weeks for laparoscopic surgery and up to 5 weeks for open surgery.

Read More