Archive for 2015

Breast Cancer Screening – Why is it important?

Monday, October 19th, 2015
Did you know…?

At present, it is estimated that 1 in 23 women is likely to develop breast cancer and according to a recently concluded study, these figures are expected to double by 2030

After 20 years of age, it is recommended for every woman to regularly perform breast self-exams and go for periodic breast screenings at least once in 2 years. Most women who lead a healthy lifestyle believe that they can never be diagnosed with a breast cancer but this kind of wishful thinking can sometimes take you into troubled waters.

Like many women across the globe, you too might wonder as to why is it so important to go for a breast screening?

The answer is simple – Breast cancer can happen to anyone and early detection is the best defense against it

Regarded as the most common cancer affecting Indian women, breast cancer is also one of the most curable cancers if diagnosed early. Screening refers to medical tests and exams that help in discovering a disease that hasn’t started to show any symptoms. Breast cancers that are detected through symptoms are more likely to have already spread beyond the breast. When the cancer spreads beyond the breast, it is referred to as “metastatic” and is expected to affect to the bones, liver, and lungs. On the other hand, cancer that is detected through periodic screening exams is often smaller and still confined to the breast. Also, the earlier this cancer is detected, the less likely it is that the person would have to undergo a mastectomy (breast removal) or chemotherapy.

Breast cancer screening is often misconstrued as means to prevent this disease whereas what it actually does, is reduce the chances of late detection thus improving the survival rate of patients. Mammography is the single most screening and diagnostic technology that can detect breast cancer at an early stage. It is important to find cancers as early as possible. Lack of awareness and ignorance about this disease has resulted in late detection, especially due to many patients opting for alternative treatments offered by quacks, who claim to treat cancer without surgery or chemotherapy. Many reach the hospital at an advanced stage whereby the cancer has spread to an extent that very little can be done to help them.

Having a family history of breast cancer increases a woman’s risk for developing this disease later in life which is why screening is crucial. Similarly, the probability of being diagnosed with breast cancer increases with age, therefore women between the age group of 50 to 70 are routinely expected to go for a breast cancer screening once in every 3 years.

Breast cancer cannot be predicted but few important measures if undertaken from time to time can certainly reduce the risk and increase the odds that if cancer does occur, it will be identified early at a curable stage. Almost 90% breast cancer cases are diagnosed through advanced screening techniques.  Periodic screening and early diagnosis can save lives!

Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital features a Comprehensive Breast Care Unit (CBCU) that is well-equipped with state-of-the-art radiation machines and day care chemo suites to specifically diagnose and treat all kinds of breast related diseases. To know more, visit:

https://www.kokilabenhospital.com/departments/centresofexcellence/centrefor_cancer/comprehensivebreastcareunit.html

Hand Washing – Are you doing it right…?

Thursday, October 15th, 2015
Did you know…?

It takes approximately 15 to 20 seconds to wash the hands properly but studies indicate that on an average a person takes not more than 6 seconds to do it. It is estimated that 95 % of people follow an improper hand washing technique.

Frequent hand washing is one of the most effective ways to eliminate germs and prevent diseases from spreading. Washing your hands with soap can prevent the transmission of several pathogens and is therefore more effective than any single vaccine.

Approximately 2 to 10 million bacteria are present between our fingertip and elbow. Soap and water when combined together for hand washing can successfully get rid of dust and dirt but may not necessarily kill the bacteria

The efficiency of hand washing depends on the right technique

  • Run your hands under the tap water
  • Apply soap and rub them together (palm-to-palm) to make a lather
  • Now rub the right palm above the left hand with interwoven fingers (repeated the action with the other hand)
  • Scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails
  • Rinse hands with water
  • Dry thoroughly with towel

In the absence of soap and water, you can use a hand sanitizer. Opt for Alcohol based hand sanitizers as they are proven to be more effective in eliminating the number of microbes on hands

  • Take one or two squirts of the hand sanitizer in your palm
  • Rub them together.
  • Scrub also the front and back, between fingers, around and under nails
  • Allow the hands to dry

On an average, a person touches his/her face almost 16 times in an hour. If your hands aren’t clean, diseases spread easily. Even though washing your hands gets rid of germs, there’s a right time and place to do it

  • After using the washroom
  • Before & after meal preparations (especially while handling raw meat, poultry and/or seafood)
  • Before & after meal consumption
  • After sneezing and coughing
  • After petting animals or handling animal waste
  • Before & after nursing an ailing patient
  • After visiting a public place
  • After touching open wounds
  • After changing a child’s diaper
  • Before wearing a contact lens and while removing the same
  • Anytime your hands are dirty

It is estimated that washing hands with soap at key times can reduce diarrhea rates by over 40% and acute respiratory infections (ARI’s) by approximately 23%

Children are extremely vulnerable to germs and infections’; hence instilling good health and hygiene habits from early childhood is a must. Encouraging them to wash their hands frequently will ensure that this practice turns into a lifelong routine.

Breast Cancer – Awareness can save lives!

Saturday, October 10th, 2015

October is observed as Breast Cancer Awareness Month but how much are we really aware about this illness is the real question here

Did you know…?

Breast cancer has replaced cervical cancer as the leading cause of cancer deaths for women in India and across the globe. It is a fact that many Indian women diagnosed with breast cancer know very little about their condition and do not pay much heed to getting immediate treatment which reduces the chances of their survival. Busy with handling the daily chores and sorting out family hassles, many women keep postponing their treatment and reach hospitals at an advanced stage whereby the cancer has spread to an extent that very little can be done to help them.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) report, more than 60% of Indian women are diagnosed with breast cancer at stage III or IV. Experts believe 1 in 28 women is prone to develop breast cancer during her lifetime. Public awareness can be part of an overall approach to reducing these figures.

It will benefit the next generation of women who will be much more aware and willing to take the first step towards early diagnosis and treatment.

Having a family history of breast cancer increases a woman’s risk for developing this disease later in life. There is no control over genetics but some factors can certainly be controlled to prevent and minimize the risk of breast cancer:

  • Bad lifestyle choices that include a poor diet with excess consumption of alcohol and exposure to nicotine makes a woman highly prone to being diagnosed with breast cancer later in life
  • Lack of physical activity and sedentary lifestyle also contribute to this disease
  • Ignoring the warning signs and delaying the screening process often results in late detection which directly affects the survival rate of breast cancer patients
  •   Many artificial hormone therapies including some oral contraceptives could be potential triggers of this disease. Getting your doctor’s approval before starting with any kind of medical therapy is a must
  • Disrupted sleep cycle as a result of working in rotating shifts can also increase the risk of breast cancer. Some researchers are of the opinion that women who work at least 3 night shifts a week for 6 or more years are twice as likely to develop breast cancer
  • Delaying pregnancy has also shown to increase the likelihood of developing breast cancer at a later stage. Researchers believe that the longer a woman breast-feeds, the lower her chances of getting the disease.
  • Stress may not be directly linked to breast cancer but definitely triggers other bad habits that could then increase your risk factor
  • Certain canned food and drinks are known to possess chemicals that behave like oestrogens, ­increasing breast cancer risk. Also, excess intake of food items that are high in saturated fats doubles the risk of developing this disease
  • Breast implants may enhance your overall appearance but could also make you susceptible to developing breast cancer. Studies indicate that women who have breast implants are 38% more ­likely to die from breast cancer as compared to women who succumb due to late diagnosis