Tag Archive | "cancer"

Are You Ignoring These Symptoms? It Could Be Cancer

According to experts as well as many studies, women tend to fare better than men in the case of being conscious about health. Mary Daly, MD, who is an oncologist at the Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, says that women are found to be keener to have those symptoms checked which might be potentially serious. This is not right, though, when it comes to younger women. They believe that cancer is associated with old age, but the truth is that many young people do get affected from cancer.

Here you will find some cancer symptoms which women tend to ignore:

1.      Weight loss for no apparent reason

If you have not changed your food habits or increased exercise and still lose weight drastically, you must consult a doctor, is what Ranit Mishori, MD, from the Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, suggests. Though it could be because of a thyroid problem or some other issue, let your doctor  rule out the possibility by conducting necessary tests.

2.      Bloating

This is a common problem with most women and they take it in their stride as a part of life, but it could be a sign of ovarian cancer. If you feel bloated every day and this goes on for more than a month, you need to consult a doctor.  A CT Scan and some blood tests might be needed to verify the severity of your condition.

3.      Changes in the breast

Apart from obvious symptoms like lumps, there are many other symptoms which could point towards cancer. If the skin of the breast appears thick, or red, it could be a rare, inflammatory breast cancer. If there is a rash that stays for several weeks, that also must be examined. Also, changes in the appearance of the nipple, or an abnormal discharge from the nipple, could be worrisome symptoms. Your doctor might conduct tests like mammogram, MRI, Ultrasound and a biopsy also, if needed.

4.      Unusual vaginal bleeding

In the case of pre-menopausal women, bleeding between periods could be a possible sign of endometrial cancer. Bleeding from the GI tract could also be mistaken for bleeding due to periods. Bleeding after menopause is also a symptom that should not be ignored. Depending upon your history as well as symptoms, your doctor might run an Ultrasound or a biopsy.

5.      Changes in the skin

It is common knowledge that changes in moles on the skin is a sign of skin cancer, but changes in skin pigmentation should also be observed carefully, according to Mary Daly. She says that if you develop conditions like unwarranted scaling or bleeding from your skin, you must have it checked. More so, if this continues for more than a few weeks.

6.      Problems in swallowing or hoarse throat

Difficulty in swallowing or hoarseness could be a symptom of the cancer of esophagus, according to Leonard Litchtenfield, MD, who is the Deputy Chief Medical Officer of the American Cancer Society. When you consult your physician, he might take a chest X-ray and examine the GI tract to rule out the possibility of cancer.

7.      Blood in urine or stools

If you find blood in your urine or stools, it could be because of colon cancer, warns Mishori. It could be from your vagina if you are having your menstrual period, but if that is not the case, you must have yourself checked to rule out colon cancer, bladder cancer or kidney cancer. you might need to undergo tests like colonoscopy and other exams.

8.      Indigestion

If you suffer from indigestion for a prolonged period of time for no reason, you must consult a doctor as it could be a sign of cancer of throat, stomach or esophagus. It will be up to your doctor to decide about the tests to be conducted after taking your history and examining you carefully.

9.      Changes in the mouth

According to the American Cancer Society, finding white patches or spots on the tongue or inside the mouth could be leukoplakia, which leads to oral cancer. This is particularly important for those who smoke.

You should also not ignore symptoms like wheezing, chronic chest pain, frequent infections and pelvic or abdominal pain if these last for more than a few weeks.

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Having reconstructive surgery following cancer

shutterstock_110949728.downloadAn essential part of complete cancer care, reconstructive surgery is time and again a significant step for regaining normal functions following cancer treatments for many patients. You may check with the state’s health department to find a private hospital Belfast, London or other parts of UK that perform these surgeries. The procedure mainly constitutes correction of deformities after breast and skin cancer.

Reconstructive surgery following mastectomy

Breast reconstruction is adopted by many women after mastectomy. It should be planned soon after detection of breast cancer to enable your plastic surgeon and breast surgeon to decide the best technique for reconstruction.
Breast reconstruction includes a sequence of surgery techniques. ‘Immediate breast reconstruction’ begins with mastectomy itself. ‘Delayed breast reconstruction’ is done later, after mastectomy.

Some of the common breast reconstruction procedures are:

Natural Tissue Flap Technique

The process uses tissues from thighs, back, tummy or buttocks. ‘TRAM flap’ using abdomen tissues and ‘latissimus dorsi flap’ using upper back tissues are the common procedures.

Two scars may be left from tissue flap – the area from where tissues were removed and on the breast that was reconstructed. The blood supply from original site might be retained or connection of a new blood supply may be carried out. However, this technique isn’t suggested for women having disease of connective or vascular tissue, diabetes patients or smokers.

Breast Implants

The widely used procedure for reconstruction, implants are generally filled with saline or silicone gel. The complete procedure may take about four months and depending on your need for radiation therapy, one stage immediate reconstruction or delayed reconstruction may be considered by the surgeon.

Reconstructive surgery for skin cancer

Skin cancers may occur anywhere on your body, but sun exposed areas like neck, face, arms and legs are more susceptible to it. It is possible to cure skin cancers through various surgical and non-surgical techniques. The procedure chosen by your surgeon depends on the position, type, spread and size of cancerous cells, patient’s age and his general health.

Skin flaps and skin grafts are the common procedures used for reconstruction. Treatment of skin cancer may necessitate the excision of large areas of your skin, which can be repaired through skin flap or skin graft.

Skin grafting

The procedure involves cutting a thin skin layer from donor site of the body and positioning it in the area that needs to be cured. Stitches may be used sometimes, for securing the area from which the extraction of graft was carried out.

Skin flap

The operation uses folds of skin and underlying tissues of the subcutaneous layer adjacent to the wound. A deep cut to remove the skin fold is carried out. The skin fold is not completely removed but remains connected to original site which is then placed over the wound. The final step involves securing the flap and wound with stitches, followed by donor site suturing.

There are many treatments that are performed at the North West Independent Hospital in Belfast by professional surgeons.

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