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Think Pink: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The Pink Ribbon

Conquering Cancer

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is between October 1st and 31st this year. This tragic condition affects approximately 1 in 8 women throughout their lives. That’s 12.5 percent of the total population, according to those numbers. If the world has a population of seven billion, that means a whopping 875,000,000 women will eventually encounter breast cancer at some point in their lives.

Now, the funny thing about statistics is that they’re prospective, not necessarily representative. While they can be used to identify a trend, and help prevent against that trend, they aren’t ironclad numbers representing the history of that trend’s ultimate impact. For example, statistically, it may be unlikely for a person to make a living as, say, an entertainer. Artists who paint, act, tell jokes, or make music represent a minority of the population; though they do ultimately have a big impact. But just because it’s statistically unlikely to be a successful artist doesn’t mean you can’t be a successful artist. It just means getting there is more difficult.

Likewise, with breast cancer, just because statistically 1 in 8 women come down with this condition over the course of their lifetime doesn’t mean that out of eight women you know, one of them will find a malignancy in her breast. According to the American Cancer Society, it is estimated that 2017 will see 252,710 invasive breast cancer cases diagnosed in women (because, though a minority of the population, men can also get breast cancer), and it’s predicted that 40,610 will die from this condition. You’ll notice that this represents a fraction of the 12.5% supposed by the earlier statistic. Though it is still a debilitating condition, in some countries it is being successfully contended with.

That said, these numbers also don’t take into account the many women who get breast cancer but go without diagnosis until it is too late, and they’re already terminal.

Surprising Causes

What is known is that there are certain causes for breast cancer which are often ignored by mainstream media outlets for reasons of economy. For example, certain compounds in beauty products are often toxic. Have you ever used deodorant and found yourself breaking out where you applied it? This is because the deodorant blocks your pores. Now according to the ACA

, only a few studies have ever indicated a correlation between antiperspirants/deodorants and breast cancer; but there have been studies that have found a link.

It’s just possible that part of breast cancer’s cause stems from social norms which are unhealthy. Without raising awareness for this reality, the scourge of preventable cancer will not be lessened. But that scourge is lessening, and part of that has to do with the pink ribbon army sweeping our nation.

Get Your Pink Ribbon

You’ve seen the ribbons on license plates, bicycles, instrument cases, bumpers, back windows, bulletin boards and more. The pink ribbon represents breast cancer, and raising awareness for the condition. This coming October, you may feel compelled to do your part to combat breast cancer. Some suggestions involve:

  • Buying And Decorating Visibly With Pink Ribbons
  • Raising Awareness On Social Media
  • Doing Your Own Research To Better Understand The Condition
  • Reaching Out To Friends And Loved Ones Living With This Cancer
  • Helping To Educate Women On Possibly Dangerous Activities

The best way to fight cancer is with proper diet, proper exercise, healthy supplementation, and the avoidance of known unhealthy activities. Don’t spend too much time in the sun, don’t use substances which are known to be toxic, and avoid questionable beauty products. The more aware people are, the better this cancer can be fought.

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Digestive Tract Paralysis

Digest

In the most comprehensive definition, digestive tract paralysis refers to an inconsistent movement of certain parts of the digestive tract which in turn poses challenges to the smooth operation of the gut. When you take in food, peristalsis ensures that the food is pushed down from your throat to other parts of the digestive system so that further action can be taken on the food material. This smooth movement of food through the system lacks in individuals who have digestive tract paralysis. The muscles are not able to facilitate the push the food further down for more action thus slowing down its movement. This condition can manifest in as either gastroparesis which is partial paralysis of the stomach or intestinal pseudo obstruction which is a paralysis of the intestines. The following are symptoms and treatment of digestive tract paralysis.

Symptoms

If you have digestive tract paralysis, you will notice several symptoms including:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Feeling of satiety
  • Heartburn
  • Sweats
  • Lack of appetite

There are also several secondary conditions including malnutrition and dehydration are as a result of vomiting and lack of appetite. Individuals with chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction will present with constipation, bloating, diarrhea, nausea, and loss of appetite. These symptoms, however, will not show at the same time and will, to a large degree, depend on the part of the small intestine that has been affected.

Treatment

It is important to know what causes brings about the condition in order to find out how to treat it. Both conditions of the digestive tract paralysis have an array of causes associated with each most of which are common. They can either be triggered by a problem in the nervous system of the loss of a muscle function. In some cases, these disorders can be inherited. Likewise, individuals who have undergone treatments for chemotherapy or even illnesses like Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis can easily get the disease.

Most treatments of this ailment focus more on easing the symptoms. Aside from medication, changes in eating patterns are some of the approaches used to combat both conditions of digestive tract paralysis. A good chunk of relief comes when the digestion is sped up by watching your diet. For instance, you should avoid fats and fiber. Fats leads to the production of certain hormones that impedes digestion while fiber generally is slow to be digested. Better still, have small meals with regular small intervals to hasten the digestion process.

Medication on the other hand often depends on specific symptoms. If you present with nausea then you will be given anti-vomiting medication, similarly, when you present with diarrhea, ant kinetic comes in handy. Pro-kinetic drugs are also vita in improving bowel movements as well as reducing nausea and bloating. In more advanced cases, you may need hospitalization where you will be given intravenous nutrition for some time before you can manage the condition on your own. Studies are also still underway to test the viability of certain treatments. There are also a variety of approaches that can work excellently to bring relief. If you suffer from this condition frequently then chances are you have a transient condition which is triggered by stress. Meditative chanting among other activities can help to relieve stress and ultimately digestive tract paralysis.

The above are some of the symptoms and treatments for digestive tract paralysis. It is critical that you understand them to the core so that you may know how to avoid it, use remedies, and when to see a doctor.

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What is Oral Cancer?

OralCancerAwarenessMonth_infographic

Image is from Market My Laser

Oral cancer is a persistent growth or sore inside the mouth that is caused by an uncontrollable growth of cells that invade and cause damage. It will not go away on its own. It includes the following surrounding tissues:

  • Throat
  • Tonsils
  • Sinuses
  • Hard and Soft Palate
  • Floor of the Mouth
  • Cheeks
  • Tongue
  • Lips

What are the Symptoms?

There are numerous symptoms associated with oral cancer. The most common ones are:

  • Any lesions or swelling on the lips, gums, or other areas inside your mouth
  • Unexplained oral bleeding
  • Unexplained numbness, tenderness, or pain in any areas of the mouth, face or neck
  • Persistent sores in the mouth or the neck and face that do not heal within two weeks.
  • Red, white, or red and white speckled patches in your mouth
  • A feeling that something is caught in the back of your throat
  • Difficulty speaking, chewing, swallowing, or moving the tongue or jaw
  • Chronic sore throat, hoarseness, or change of voice
  • Earache
  • A change in your teeth or the way your dentures fit together
  • Large weight loss

If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to make an appointment with your dentist or primary care physician as soon as possible.

Who is at Risk?

It is estimated that over 40,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer each year. Men face twice the risk than women, and men over the age of 50 face the greatest risk of all.

Oral cancer risk factors include:

  • Smoking. Whether you smoke cigarettes, cigars, or a pipe, you are six times more likely to contract oral cancer than nonsmokers.
  • Using smokeless tobacco. Chewing tobacco, snuff, or dip makes you 50 times more likely to develop cancers of the lining of the lips, gums, or cheeks.
  • Drinking a lot of alcohol. You are six times more likely to contract oral cancer than nondrinkers.
  • Family history of cancer. If cancer runs in your family, then you are more genetically predisposed.
  • Too much sun. If you have excessive exposure to the sun, especially when you are young, it increases your odds of contracting oral cancer.
  • If you have been diagnosed with HPV (Human Papillomavirus), some strains put you at a higher risk for contracting oral cancer.

It is important to note, however, that 25% of diagnosed cases of oral cancer do occur in nonsmokers and social drinkers.

What Can You Do to Prevent a Diagnosis?

There are some things you can do to lower your risk, such as:

  • Drink alcohol in moderation, and do not smoke or use any tobacco products.
  • Maintain a well-balanced diet.
  • Limit your exposure to the sun, and when you are out in the sun, apply UV-A/B sun blocking products on your skin and lips.

Early Detection is Key

The earlier you see any symptoms, the greater the chance of successful treatment. You can also take an active role in early detection by doing the following:

  • Do a Self Exam Once per Month – Use a bright light and a mirror to examine all the surfaces of your mouth and lips. Feel for lumps and thoroughly look over every part of your mouth, throat, and gums. Check for enlarged lymph nodes in the neck. If you find anything suspicious, contact your health care professional immediately.
  • See your Dentist Regularly – No matter how thorough, you can’t always see everything, so ask your dentist to conduct an exam at your next visit.

Remember, understanding what oral cancer is and how to detect it increases your chances of successful treatment.

 

 

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Understanding Sarcoma Cancer

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Sarcoma is a very rare form of cancer. It is also different from most types of cancer because it occurs and grows in connective tissue. The cancer cells grow in parts of the body that support or connect other types of tissue to the body. While the tumors can appear anywhere, they are most commonly found in the muscles, bones, cartilage, tendons, fat, and nerves. They are also seen in the blood vessels of the legs and the arms. There are over 50 types of sarcoma and they are divided into three categories, bone sarcoma, soft tissue sarcoma, and osteosarcoma.

Who Is At Risk Of Developing Sarcoma?

It is unknown exactly what causes sarcoma, however, there are certain risk factors that make it more likely for people to develop this type of cancer.

  • Radiation exposure: If you had radiation to treat a previous cancer, you are more at risk.
  • Family history: If a member of your family had sarcoma, your chances of getting it are higher.
  • Genetic disorders: Certain genetic disorders such as retinoblastoma, neurofibromatosis, Gardner syndrome, or Li-Fraumeni syndrome put you at greater risk.
  • Bone disorder: If you have the bone disease called Paget’s disease, you are at risk of developing sarcoma.
  • Age: Children and young adults are more prone to developing an osteosarcoma.

What Are the Symptoms of Sarcoma?

In its early stages, sarcoma doesn’t show any symptoms. They can be hard to spot because they can grow anywhere in your body. If it is a soft tissue sarcoma, the first sign would be a painless lump. As it grows larger, it can press against the nerves or muscles causing pain. An osteosarcoma shows symptoms much earlier than the other types. There would be pain in the effected bone that comes and goes. Also, the pain is often worse at night. The area can also swell.

What Is the Treatment For Sarcoma?

How the cancer is treated would depend on the type, where it is located, and whether or not it has spread to other parts of the body. The most common treatments include:

  • Surgery: A doctor can perform surgery and remove the tumor from the body. It is possible for the doctor to remove the cancer cells, therefore, there would be no need for the effected limb to be amputated. If all of the cells cannot be removed, amputation might be your only chance of survivial.
  • Radiation: If surgery isn’t an option, radiation is used. It can also kill any cells left behind after another treatment.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is used either with surgery or if surgery isn’t possible. It is also used if the cancer has spread.
  • Targeted therapies: This is a relatively new treatment and the doctors use man made antibodies from the immune system. They are placed to block the growth of cancer cells without damaging any of the normal cells.

What is the Survival Rate For Someone With Sarcoma?

In most cases, soft tissue sarcoma can be cured with one surgery. If it is an aggressive tumor and the cancer has spread, it can be harder to treat. With osteosarcoma, if the cancer has not spread the survival rate is between 60 and 80 percent. If the cancer can be completely removed with surgery, the chance of a full recovery is excellent. If the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, the treatment would need to be more aggressive and the chances of being cured completely are much lower.

Sarcoma is a rare and serious type of cancer. If it is caught early enough, the chances of survival are great.

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What is Colon Cancer?

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Image is from Everyday Health

Colon cancer is the accumulation of cancer cells in the lower part of the large intestine. These tumors typically begin as small benign growths referred to as polyps that turn into malignant tumors over time.

Stages of Colon Cancer

When a patient is diagnosed with colon cancer, they will be diagnosed with a stage of the disease, depending on it advancement. Colon Cancer is broken up into stages Tis to T4b.

  • Tis -In this stage, cancer cells are only found in the top layers on lining in the colon.
  • T1 –At this stage, the cancer cells have begun to spread to the tissue below the lining of the colon.
  • T2 – During stage T2, the cancer cells have developed into the deeper tissue that is involved in pushing along waste during the digestive process.
  • T3 – At T3 the cancer has spread to the connective tissue that connects the colon to other parts of the body, as well as permeating into some of the other surrounding tissues.
  • T4a – At this point the cancer cells have grown throughout all parts of the colon.
  • T4b – At this final stage the cancer cells have spread past the colon into other parts of the body.

What are the Symptoms of Colon Cancer?

Symptoms of colon cancer can come on suddenly or develop gradually over time. Often times symptoms of colon cancer are mistaken for gastrointestinal issues or discomfort. Some symptoms of colon cancer include,

  • Blood in the stool
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Abnormal changes in your bowel habits, such as constipation or diarrhea that lasts for more than a month
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Fullness in bowel even after going to the bathroom.

Risks for Colon Cancer

While there is no specific cause for every case of colon cancer there are risks that may make you more likely to develop colon cancer.

History of Polyps

While many times polyps are found and easily removed, repeated development of polyps is linked to an increase in colon cancer.

Low Fiber Diet

Low fiber and high fat diets have been linked to an increased chance for developing polyps and colon cancer.

Obesity

Those with a BMI in the obesity level have an increased risk of getting colon cancer as well as an increased risk of suffering more complications from it.

Inflammatory Gastrointestinal Problems

Chronic disease of the gastrointestinal track, including colitis and Crohns disease, can increase the risk of development of colon cancer.

Age

Most colon cancer patients are 50 years of age or older.

Genetics

A family history of colon cancer increases your chance of developing the disease as well. There are also genetically passed conditions that can greatly increase your risk for colon cancer including,

  • Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer, otherwise known as lynch syndrome
  • Familial adenomatous polyposis, which leads to an increase of the development of polyps in the colon.

Diagnosing Colon Cancer

Diagnosis of colon cancer is either done through routine screenings that are part of annual physicals or testing when gastrointestinal problems are present. To diagnose colon cancer patients will,

  • Receive blood tests to check for cancer markers
  • Undergo a colonoscopy which involves a camera scope of the patient’s rectum, colon and intestinal track.

Treatment Options

Treatment options for colon cancer are typically determined based on the stage of cancer the patient is in. Treatment options can include,

  • Polyp removal during colonoscopy
  • Partial colectomy
  • Removal of lymph nodes
  • Colon resection
  • Targeted drug therapies
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation treatment

When it comes to treating colon cancer, routine wellness screenings are important as early diagnosis will lead to the best prognosis.

 

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Colorectal Cancer

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Image is from Colon Cancer Alliance

Colorectal cancer is most common if there is a family history of it, colon polyps present and long bouts of ulcerative colitis without treatment. With that said, colon cancer can affect anyone. Sometimes all it takes for the cancer to occur is poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking and drinking and exposure to toxins that create damaging free radical cells that harm the DNA. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of the cancer can help with early detection, but sometimes there isn’t any, which is why colon screening is essential. Screening usually starts around the age of 50, but if there is a family history it may be best to start sooner.

What are some of the signs and symptoms of colon cancer?

  • Extreme Fatigue and Weakness
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Change in Stool Shape, Size and Color
  • Red or Dark Stools
  • Bleeding During Bowel Movements
  • Drastic Weight Loss
  • Suffering from Anemia
  • Constant Abdominal Pains
  • Headaches
  • Pain During Bowel Movements
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

How is the cancer detected?

Colorectal cancer is detected by doing a barium enema x-ray to locate any tumors, or through a colposcopy, which views the entire lining of the colon for cancerous growths. If any cancer is suspected, a biopsy will be done. After, surgery will be scheduled to remove the cancerous growths and a recommended treatment plan will be provided if one is necessary. Sometimes further treatment is only needed if the cancer has spread throughout other areas of the body. It all depends on the stage of cancer you have.

How many stages of colon cancer are there?

There are four stages of colon cancer. The first two stages typically only require surgery to remove the cancerous parts of the colon. The last two stages usually require surgery plus chemotherapy or radiation. Therefore, catching colon cancer early is extremely important for saving lives. The last stages of colon cancer and more difficult to treat and eventually end in death since it has spread to other parts of the body that can be hard to treat.

Are there any preventative measures you can take for preventing colon cancer?

Yes, there are preventative measures you can take for preventing colon cancer. Some include:

  • Eating a good balance diet
  • Exercising daily
  • Getting plenty of rest
  • Not smoking or drinking acholic beverages
  • Taking daily vitamins
  • Increasing your fiber intake
  • Getting colon cancer screening when recommended

Bottom Line

When it comes to preventing colon cancer from taking your life, colon cancer screening is your best line of defense for catching and treating it early. If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of the cancer it is time to visit your doctor now for a checkup.

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Understanding Colon Cancer

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Image is from Health Essentials From Cleveland Clinic

Colon cancer is synonymous with the cancer of the large intestines, which is the lower region the digestive system. In the United States, over twelve thousand people are diagnosed with this form of cancer every year. The American Cancer Society released this data. Usually, the new cases of colon cancer start with small cell clumps then developing into dangerous cancer cells over time.

How does cancer come about?

Generally, cancer comes about when healthy body cells start to fight other cells within the body. Before the actual cancer cells have begun developing, you will often not notice any symptoms. For this reason, it is critical to get an early screening of the cancer cells as it is the only surest way of detecting the colon cancer and acting on it appropriately to terminate its growth and development.

What are the common signs and symptoms of colon cancer?

Cancer has a plethora of signs and symptoms which include:

  • Blood in stools
  • Change in bowel habits
  • Bloating and abdominal pain
  • Recurring cramping
  • Gas

While blood in stool can be indicative of cancer, it can also indicate some conditions such as hemorrhoids in the anal area. You should immediately visit a health center the moment you notice recurring blood in your stool.

Risk factors

There is a myriad of risk factors which may significantly increase your risk of being ill with colon cancer. They include

  • Age (fifty years or older are more predisposed)
  • A family history of colon cancer
  • Long-standing inflammatory infections of the colon

As well, colon cancer has been linked to dieting that has little fiber but high fat content as well as calories. In as much as scientists have not agreed on the effect of junks in relationship to cancer, it is general knowledge that junks have a lot of unhealthy fats which has been shown to affect a patient’s health negatively.

Couch potatoes stand a higher risk of getting colon cancer. As well, obesity, smoking, and consumption of large amounts of alcohol are all predisposing factors of colon cancer. It is, nevertheless, imperative to note that these pieces only increase the risk of getting cancer significantly and does not in any way mean that whoever smokes will get colon cancer.

Treatment of colon cancer

The standard treatment for cancer is surgery in all the stages of the colon cancer. There are three types of surgery which specialist can opt for to remove cancer. They include:

  • Local excision- this is mainly for cancer that is still in the early stages. The doctor will insert a tube into your rectum then push it through to the colon. He then cuts the cancerous section of the colon
  • Resection- doctors often opt for this method when cancer has grown significantly large. The doctor will make a careful incision into the abdomen and get rid of the affected part of the colon. As well, they will remove small sections of healthy tissues that surround the part of the bowel which is diseased.
  • Resection and colostomy- sometimes, the surgeon may find it difficult to sew the ends of the colon after the surgery together. In that instance, a whole will be made in the abdomen, and one end of the colon will be brought towards this hole. The patient will need to wear a bag over the opening to collect the waste being expelled from the colon. This is commonly referred to as colostomy.
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