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(exclude UTI before measuring PSA) Any of the following when unexplained: Erectile dysfunction, hematuria, lower back pain, bone pain, weight loss
Symptoms suggesting Prostate cancer (Lower urinary tract symptoms)
A lump in the breast is Breast Cancer
A lump in the breast has a long list of differentials. More than 80% of lumps felt by women are benign, however this should be evaluated by a doctor who will perform an ultrasound, mammogram and at times a biopsy or FNA as deemed appropriate.
Women under 40 don't get breast cancer.
Though the risk of breast cancer increases with age, women of all ages can develop breast cancer and statistically speaking it is uncommon for women under 25 to present with breast cancers.
A Mammogram detects all Breast cancers
Mammogram is currently the gold standard screening investigation of choice, however it detects only 85% of all breast tumors, as it is harder to detect these tumours in women with dense glandular breast tissue. In these circumstances, an ultrasound and/or MRI Breasts may be useful in addition to Mammography
Breast cancer is a women’s disease
This is not true as for every 100 breast cancers inflicting women, there is one male breast cancer detected. Paradoxically, breast cancer kills 25% of men who develop it, largely due to the fact there is a delay in diagnosis and the cancer goes untreated for a longer duration.
If I have no family history of breast cancer, and I exercise, eat right and don’t smoke, I probably wont get breast cancer
Unfortunately this is not the case as 70 % of women have no identifiable risk factors. A healthy life style certainly helps with your general health in the long run, but this does not determine your risk of getting breast cancer or not.
Antiperspirants and deodorants can cause breast cancer.
A decade back this was quite a common myth which fortunately is not true as substantiated by extensive research perfomed in studies.
Mammograms can spread cancer, or even cause it.
There have been nearly a dozen trials all over the world over the last 3 decades which has consistently shown that the amount of radiation from mammography is so low, that it is outweighed by the benefits this test offers.
Underwire Bras can cause breast cancer
A few years back few enthusiasts felt that an underwire bra potentially obstructed the lymphatic flow which possibly may have a link of causal association with breast cancers. The good thing is that this is not true as underwire Bras are absolutely safe as this finding has not been validated.
If my mother had breast cancer, I will also get Breast cancer.
There is a genetic association of Breast cancer, and having one or two family members may put you at twice or thrice the risk of cancer. This implies that if your baseline risk of breast cancer was 1.5%, then with the presence of family history this risk increases to 3-4%
However if the breast cancer is hereditary and a few known genes from your mother have been passed on to you like BRCA1 or BRCA2, then the risk of developing Breast cancer can be as high as 50-80% during life time. It is seen that only 5% of all familial breast cancer patients harbor the above mentioned genes.
Mastectomy is the only treatment for Breast cancer.
As an alternative to mastectomy for Early Breast cancer and select cases of advanced breast cancers, it is now possible to preserve the breasts by performing a breast conserving operation which is followed by a course of radiotherapy treatment +/- chemotherapy. The results from over a dozen clinical trials comparing mastectomy Vs Breast conserving approach are identical, with of course the added benefit of preserving the body image for women by preservation of the breasts.
The most important risk factor for cancer is growing older. In the western world most cancers occur in people over the age of 65, while in developing countries like our, this is around 50. There seems to be a complex interplay of genetic, environmental and life style changes which seem to be the root cause.
This is the most preventable cause of cancer and death. Smoking has now been shown to be implicated in causation of not only Lung cancer, but also larynx (voice box), mouth, esophagus, bladder, kidney, throat, pancreas, and cervix. Smokeless Tobacco (Snuff and chewing Tobacco) along with second hand smokers are also at increase risk.
Ultraviolet radiation from the sun, sunlamps and tanning booths are responsible for the resultant skin cancer.
This kind of radiation emanates from earths atmosphere in small quantities. Radioactive fallouts from accidents at nuclear power plants like the more recent incident at Fukushima in Japan, can increase the risk of cancer like and cancers of the thyroid, breast, lung, and stomach in the subsequent years to come.
The risk of cancer from diagnostic and theraupeutic purposes is quite small and perhaps the benefits far outweigh the risks involved
Chemicals and Other substances
People who have certain jobs (such as painters, construction workers, and those in the chemical industry) have an increased risk of cancer. Many studies have shown that exposure to asbestos, benzene, benzidine, cadmium, nickel, or vinyl chloride in the workplace can cause cancer.
Viruses and Bacteria
It is now known that few viruses can cause cancers, for instance Human Papilloma virus (HPV) is now implicated as the main cause for cervical cancers and oropharyngeal cancers, Hepatitis B and C viruses with Liver cancers, HIV virus that causes AIDS with Lymphomas and a rare cancer called Kaposi sarcoma, Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) with Lymphomas and nasopharyngeal cancers and Helicobacter pylori with stomach cancer.
There have been a plethora of trials which implicate that estrogens and /or progestin used as contraceptive pills or advocated for management of menopausal symptoms may implicate a slight risk for breast cancer. Diethystilboestrol, a form of estrogen when taken by pregnant women in the 40s and 50s increased the risk of vaginal cancers in the daughters who were exposed to this drug before birth.
Family History of Cancer
Most cancers are sporadic and due to the complex interpay of the genes with the environment and the life style there are sporadic mutations in the genes which are ultimately responsible for the genesis of cancers.
A few cancers do run in families, where the faulty genes if passed from one generation to another would enhance the risk of cancer which is the case in breast, ovary, colorectal, prostate cancers and melanomas.
Excessive alcohol consumption over a period of years may increase the chance of developing cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, larynx, liver, and breast.
Life style changes (Poor Diet, Lack of Physical Activity, or Being Overweight)
People who have a poor diet, do not have enough physical activity, or are overweight may be at increased risk of several types of cancer. For example, studies suggest that people whose diet is high in fat have an increased risk of cancers of the colon, uterus, and prostate. Lack of physical activity and being overweight are risk factors for cancers of the breast, colon, esophagus, kidney, and uterus.
2/3 of all cancers may be prevented by