Breast Cancer Symptoms

Breast cancer is the most common cancer afflicting many women around the world. Generally a painless breast lump is the first indication of an impending breast malignancy, but not all lumps are cancerous.

Thus, understanding the early signs and symptoms of the disease can cut unwanted stress and anxiety associated with the disease.

Various Breast Cancer Symptoms
• A lump or hardening of an area of the breast – Development of the lump or thickening of the tissue of the breast.

• A bloody or clear discharge from the nipple – A bloody discharge or a clear discharge, especially in women who are not breastfeeding, should be investigated by a healthcare professional.

• A change in size or shape of either one or both breasts – Any kind of asymmetry of the breasts, like dimpling, swelling or shrinkage of the breast should be closely investigated.

• Any change in the feel or appearance of the nipple – Nipple that appears to have turned inward or sunken into the breast.

• Any change in the skin of the breast, areola, or nipple – Consult a doctor if the skin of the breast, areola, or nipple becomes scaly, red, or swollen.

• A rash on or around the nipple – In a rare form of breast cancer, a rash around the nipple mimicking the looks of small patch of eczema may appear.

• Formation of lump in the armpits or pain in the underarms – The area of the underarms also makes up the breast region. Any formation of lump in the armpits or pain in the underarms should not be taken lightly.

• Pain in the breast – Pain in either of the breasts or armpits which is not related to one’s period cycle should be investigated.

Source: the med guru

Low oxygen bad for breast cancer patients

Breast cancer cells, when exposed to low oxygen conditions, trigger the production of two proteins that make the cancer cells spread fast — making the patient’s condition worse, a new paper has contended.

Researchers at The Johns Hopkins University reached the conclusion that low oxygen conditions, frequently present in breast cancers, facilitates the production of RhoA and ROCK1 proteins that, in turn, endow the cancer cells with the ability to move.

“High levels of RhoA and ROCK1 were known to worsen outcomes for breast cancer patients by endowing cancer cells with the ability to move, but the trigger for their production was a mystery,” said Gregg Semenza, Professor of Medicine at The Johns Hopkins University.

The researchers found that women with high levels of RhoA or ROCK1, and especially those women with high levels of both, were more likely to die of breast cancer than those with low levels.

“We now know that the production of these proteins increases dramatically when breast cancer cells are exposed to low oxygen conditions,” said the paper, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

With the multiplying of tumour cells, the interior of the tumour begins to run out of oxygen simply because they are not being supplied by blood vessels.

“The lack of oxygen activates the hypoxia-inducible factors, which are master control proteins that switch on many genes that help cells adapt to the scarcity of oxygen,” explained Semenza.

Hypoxia refers to a condition in which the body or a part of the body is deprived of adequate supply of oxygen.

Hypoxia-inducible factors also turn on genes that help cancer cells escape from the oxygen-starved tumour by invading blood vessels, through which they spread to other parts of the body, the paper added.

Here is a breather, though.

“We have successfully decreased the mobility of breast cancer cells in the lab by using genetic tricks to knock the hypoxia-inducible factors down,” said Daniele Gilkes, lead author of the paper.

“Now that we understand the mechanism at play, we hope that clinical trials will be performed to test whether drugs that inhibit hypoxia-inducible factors will have the double effect of blocking production of RhoA and ROCK1 and preventing metastases in women with breast cancer,” Gilkes added.

Source: Pak tribune

Robot Detects Breast Cancer With Space-Grade Tech

The same technology designed for huge robotic arms that help astronauts in space is being brought back to Earth to do some heavy lifting in cancer treatment — in the form of a surgical robot. Its inventors say the robot could take breast biopsies with remarkable precision and consistency.

 The new machine is called IGAR, which is short for Image-Guided Autonomous Robot. NASA officials say it descends from a long line of robotic arms built for the Canadian Space Agency, such as Canadarm, which helped build the space station, service satellites and sometimes gave astronauts a lift during spacewalks, and Dextre, a maintenance robot on the space station. (This specific tech was developed by the British Columbia-based aerospace and communications firm MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd.)

IGAR works in combination with a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner that can help doctors see potentially harmful mass in the breast. Currently, MRI is used to examine areas of the breast found on mammograms to be suspicious. With special software, a radiologist could tell IGAR which area to target with a needle-based biopsy device, or similar tissue-removing tool. [6 Foods That May Affect Breast Cancer Risk]

The space-inspired robot works with enough precision to insert the needle within about 0.3 inches (8 millimeters), of the suspicious lesion with a high degree of accuracy, said Dr. Mehran Anvari, chief executive officer and scientific director at Canada’s Centre for Surgical Invention and Innovation.

Anvari said IGAR will improve sampling, reduce the pain of the procedure, save time and, as a result, save money.

“It also will allow all radiologists to perform this procedure equally well, regardless of the number of cases per year and move the site of treatment from operation room to radiology suite for a significant number of patients,” Anvari explained in a statement from NASA.

Dr. Nathalie Duchesne, a breast radiologist at the Hospital Saint-Sacrement in Quebec City, will be performing the first of three clinical trials with IGAR. She, too, said she believes the surgical robot will make breast biopsies more consistent across different doctors, patients and types of lesions.

I’ve been teaching MRI-guided breast biopsy for years and there are many steps in the procedure that are operator-dependent,” Duchesne said in a statement. “These steps may prevent good sampling of the lesions if it’s not done properly. I believe IGAR will take care of this. It will subsequently decrease the time of the exam, ensure good sampling and increase patient’s comfort during the exam.”

NASA officials say IGAR could also be used to assist doctors in lumpectomies, a surgery that removes only the tumor and part of the surrounding breast tissues, as opposed to a mastectomy, in which the breast is removed. Some tumors might require a lumpectomy because they cannot be detected with ultrasound and X-ray mammography. Researchers say IGAR could be used deploy a tiny radioactive seed near the area of interest during a biopsy, which could later located with a detector, allowing the doctor to identify and remove the lesion.

The National Cancer Institute estimates that 232,340 American women and 2,240 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013, and that about 39,620 women and 410 men will die of the disease this year.


Source: Yahoo News