Facts and Information about Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Facts and Information about Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a treatable respiratory disease that affects the lungs. It is characterized by persistent shortness of breath and fatigue. Early stages of COPD exhibit shortness of breath in patients when they exercise. As it progresses, it becomes hard to breathe out or even breathe in. 

Types of COPD 

There are two types of COPD; obstructive bronchiolitis and emphysema. A patient can have either of these two conditions or in some isolated cases, experience both them. 

Obstructive Bronchiolitis 

This condition is defined by chronic inflammation and swelling of airways in the lungs, making them abnormally small. Inflammation in this tubular organ results in restricted breathing as it interferes with airflow in and out of the lungs. 

Emphysema 

The lungs comprise millions of alveoli. To facilitate breathing, these alveoli expand and contract enabled by their elastic nature. In Emphysema, this elastic feature in the alveoli is damaged thus requiring extra effort for them to expand and contract. 

These two conditions both restrict the movement of air in and out of the lungs, demanding a lot of effort just to nourish the body with enough oxygen. 

Symptoms 

– Common symptoms of COPD include: 
• Shortness of breath while involved in activities 
• Fatigue 
• Coughing 
• Wheezing 
• Unending mucus 

Causes and Risk Factors 

The major cause of COPD is tobacco smoke, and its prevalence relates directly to the widespread culture of tobacco smoking. Other factors that will put you at risk of getting COPD or making it worse include: 
 
• Prolonged exposure to indoor pollutants such as biomass fuels used as energy in poorly ventilated homes. 
• Industrial exposure to chemical fumes, organic and inorganic dust. 
• Outdoor air pollutants are a factor that most people assume, but inhaled particles have a small effect. 
• The genetic component passed down from parents. If your parents had COPD, then you are at high risk of getting it. 
• Respiratory problems or low birth weight during childhood that interfere with lung development. 
• An underlying condition such as asthma or chronic bronchitis. 
 
COPD is treatable with a combination of pulmonary rehabilitation, anti-inflammatory drugs, bronchodilators, and ICS. These drugs reduce symptoms, stabilize the functions of the lung, and improve quality of life. However, the damage to the lungs is irreversible. COPD is chronic, therefore, it is a lifelong condition that a patient has to learn to manage it and continue to lead a fulfilling life. 
 
Glossary 
Pulmonary – Relating to lungs 
Bronchiolitis – inflammation in the lungs 
ICS – Inhaled Corticosteroids 
Alveolus (singular)- air sac organ in the lungs 

Facts and Information about Multiple Sclerosis

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Multiple Sclerosis is an immune-mediated chronic disease affecting the central nervous system, especially the brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord. It is characterized by demyelination, inflammation, and axonal damage of the cells in the central nervous system.  

Types/symptoms 

The most common type of multiple sclerosis is relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), affecting approximately 85% of people with multiple sclerosis. People with RRMS have relapses known as the periods when the symptoms appear. They usually last for a few days followed by the period of remission.  
 
Symptoms of multiple sclerosis might vary from person to person and change or fluctuate over time. Here are the symptoms of the disease observed in most patients:  

– Fatigue. This symptom occurs in about 80% of patients and interferes with the ability to function at work and home. In most cases, it is one of the first and most prominent signs of multiple sclerosis.  
– Walking difficulties. It becomes hard for a person to walk and to keep the balance. He starts experiencing tightness in muscles, spasticity (muscle spasms), and a lack of coordination. 
– Vision problems. Many patients with multiple sclerosis report blurred vision, pain on eye movement, color blindness, and poor contrast. Often, problems with vision are one of the early signs of the disorder.  
– Bladder dysfunction. This symptom is reported by over 80% of patients. It is characterized by frequent or urgent urination, hesitancy in starting urination, and the development of various urinary tract infections. 
– Cognitive changes. Patients with multiple sclerosis lose the ability to process incoming information, solve problems, make decisions, and accurately perceive the environment. 
– Emotional changes. They include depression, anxiety, irritability, mood swings, episodes of uncontrollable crying or laughing, and others. 

Etiology 

The exact cause of multiple sclerosis remains unknown. However, there are several factors that have been suggested as possible causes of multiple sclerosis, including: 
– Genes; 
– Lack of vitamin D and sunlight; 
– Teenage obesity; 
– Smoking; 
– Viral infections.  
It is also necessary to point out that women are 2-3 times more likely to have multiple sclerosis than men.  

Glossary of terms 

Demyelination – a pathological process characterized by destruction of the myelin sheath 
 
Myelin – the material in the central nervous system wrapping around axons.  
 
Autoimmune Disease – the process in which the immune system of the body mistakenly produces antibodies to attack the normal tissues.  
 
Axon – a nerve fiber carrying information from the nerve cell to other nerve cells. 

Facts and Information about Vascular Disease

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Vascular disease is an abnormal condition of blood vessels including veins and arteries. The body circulates its blood through blood vessels, if any problems should occur within these areas, it could cause severe pain, disability, and even death. Vascular diseases are very common although many individuals don’t even know they have one. Thus, outside of the heart, vascular diseases can present themselves anywhere. Unfortunately, these diseases seem to be turning into an epidemic in the US with the increase of Type II diabetes, obesity, and an aging population. 

Types and Symptoms 

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is one type of vascular disease that affects around 8.5 million Americans each year and pulmonary emboli and DVTs affect at least 900,000 people. The most common of vascular diseases are PAD, stroke, critical limb ischemia (CLI), carotid artery disease (CAD), abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), deep vein thrombosis (DVT), arteriovenous malformation (AVM), chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), pulmonary embolism (blood clots), and varicose veins. 

Etiology 

Vascular diseases can occur at any time in anyone. Everyone is at risk and both men and women are affected equally. It is most common for vascular disease to occur around sites of turbulent blood flow, mainly when the direction of blood flow changes abruptly.  
 
Depending on the specific disease, causes may include: 
 
• Infection 
• Genetics 
• Medicines and hormones 
• Injury 
• Heart diseases such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol  
 
The cause may not be known in some cases. 
 
Recent studies have found a common genetic variation in chromosome 6p24, in five vascular diseases including coronary artery disease, cervical artery dissection, migraine headaches, hypertension, and fibromuscular dysplasia. However, it still isn’t clear how this polymorphism affects risks for numerous diseases.  

Glossary of Terms 

• Amurosis fugax – Temporary vision loss or blindness due to plaque blocking the blood supply to the eye. 
• Aneurysm – The abnormal weakening of the artery wall that causes a balloon-like appearance and enlarging it to over twice its normal size. 
• Antiplatelet – Medication, like aspirin that prevents platelets from clumping together, which often occurs first in artery clotting. 
• Aorta – The main blood vessel in the abdomen and chest that transports the blood from the heart. 
• Artery – A blood vessel that carries oxygen-rich blood to the body from the heart.  
• Atherosclerosis, arteriosclerosis – a process that takes place within the arteries where fatty substance deposits, calcium, cholesterol, or fibrin (plaque) builds up inside the inner lining 
• Blood clots – pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis.  
• Blood pressure – The force of blood that pushes against blood vessel walls. 
• Bypass – A surgical procedure that redirects blood flow around blocked arteries. 
• Coronary artery disease – a disease that involves blockage or narrowing of an artery usually caused by plaque buildup. 
• Raynaud’s disease – a disorder that makes the blood vessels narrow when you feel stressed or cold. 
• Stroke – a serious condition that occurs when blood stops flowing to your brain. 
• Varicose veins – twisted, swollen veins that appear under the skin. 
• Vasculitis – inflamed blood vessels. 

Avoiding the Worst Injuries and Illnesses Associated with Summer

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Summer. It is the holiday that every student looks forward to once they get into school in September. As parents, it is the period we always wait for, the opportunity to relax, enjoy new experiences, and have fun moments with the children.  

Most days in the summer are hot and sunny. Thus, most activities during the day include bike riding, skateboarding, and rollerblading. During the evenings, families enjoy backyard barbeques, swimming, relaxing on the beach, and spectacular fireworks display. Nevertheless, all these activities come with dangers. We ought to be mindful of these dangers to protect our dear ones. Below are some guidelines on how to do so and what to do in case of an accident. 

The rainy days and cold air of April and May are preceded by the hot and sunny days of summer. Crowds of people relish these hot days. The sun can, however, be disastrous to young children. It is likely most you have woken up with sunburn and warned yourself for not taking appropriate precautions. Avoiding the sun during the middle of the day is the best protection against sunburn. Staying in the shade, preferably an umbrella, will always help. 

Nevertheless, sunburn can still occur when there are clouds when harmful UV rays penetrate the clouds. Applying a suntan lotion SPF will prevent sunburn. Additionally, rash guards and hats can also be used, although they cannot replace suntan lotion. Children under six months should be kept away from direct sunlight. 

Biking and skateboarding also pose another risk. During summer days, children become riding fanatics. Fitting helmets should be used to protect the children’s heads irrespective of the distance they are riding. While rollerblading or skateboarding, elbow guards and knee guards are advised. Wearing the proper safety equipment will prevent fractures and head injuries during the summer. 

Everyone loves a freshly grilled hotdog. However, barbeques pose a high risk to children. Always ensure that small children are not in the vicinity of the barbeque. After cooking, use water or a fire extinguisher to put out the fire. Additionally, carefully assemble the grills to keep them sturdy and avoid easily knocking them over. Metal bristles from brushes can be ingested and cause internal injuries. Thus, use other alternative methods of cleaning the grills.  

There is nothing more refreshing than watching your children having fun by the pool. However, never let your children swim unattended. Additionally, never let them out of sight while swimming. It takes a split of a second for an accident to occur. Thus, those responsible for watching over your children should not be distracted. Life jackets should be worn by children who cannot swim. Backyard pools should be fenced with more than 4-feet high fences and a locked doorway. 

Summer is the best time for children to have fun. Thus, as parents, we should not only let them enjoy the summer but also do it safely. 

Move Away from Hospital Care Not Enough to Handle Epidemics

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The CDC describes an epidemic as the increase in the number of cases of a disease surpassing what would typically be expected for the population of that area. This increase is often sudden. Healthcare settings, critical components of the healthcare system, play vital roles in the prevention of epidemics, including the preparation for and management of these situations. Healthcare settings are places where healthcare occurs, it goes beyond hospitals and doctors’ offices, it includes urgent care centers, rehab facilities, nursing homes and long-term care facilities, as well as outpatient care facilities and others. Such places are expected to have a plan in place to respond to the outbreak of an epidemic.

Healthcare workers need to be trained and fully aware of their roles for preparing and responding to epidemics, and these healthcare settings need to have the appropriate resources necessary for treatment and quarantine events. Conversely, healthcare settings can actually amplify the spread of epidemics due to inadequate measures being taken to control the disease or simply due to the rapid evolution of these complex situations.

For these reasons, some healthcare settings across the country are turning to tele-medicine to assist in safely screening and treating patients who may have contracted the disease in question. The goal here being to provide remote services to help contain the spread of these illnesses. During epidemics tele-medicine companies see an increase in the number of calls from people seeking information and those worried about their symptoms. This type of medicine is not new, and many health insurances offer this option in addition to seeing a nurse or doctor in the traditional setting.

Unfortunately, many people do not go this route when looking for medical care and that can make controlling the spread more problematic because even asymptomatic individuals can pass along certain diseases. But even having people treat themselves at home does not stop the overwhelming demand for health care. During epidemics there is demand for hospital space and medications as well as trained health care professionals and these high-level demands can last weeks or even months.

Consequently, disease epidemics tend to lead to burnout epidemics that can affect both the providers and the patients because despite the preparation and management for these situations, epidemics are always overwhelming to the healthcare system. This burnout is caused by increased responsibility and the ever-changing care-delivery methods. Burnout is characterized by emotional exhaustion and depersonalization and can affect the quality of care and even outcomes of patients. All things considered, in the same way that health care settings prepare for epidemics, they also need to prepare for burnout epidemics when the health care system becomes overwhelmed by actively identifying the affected professionals and implementing solutions. 

How to Plan for the Possibility of Getting Sick with Coronavirus

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Creating a plan of action is the best defense against the latest epidemic that the World Health Organization has claimed as a pandemic. People need to stop panicking to take the steps necessary to defeat this virus. Creating an individual household plan of action can help curb the spread of COVID-19, commonly known as Coronavirus. 

People Who Feel Sick Should Remain at Home 

The good news is that healthy individuals are only showing mild cases of the disease. An elderly adult or those who have medical conditions are more at risk of complications from the outbreak. Most of the patients who have contracted the disease are showing minor flu-like symptoms. 
 
There is no need to worry about losing your job with the virus or showing common symptoms of the flu. Employers are very understanding about this virus that the medical community wants to keep under control. Recommendations include staying away from others in the public sector when you feel flu-like symptoms. This means no school for the children, no work for those who are sick, and remaining at home until the symptoms are over. 
 
If symptoms of a flu-like illness happen, the CDC recommends people call their doctor for recommendations on what to do. They would rather anyone infected stay away from medical facilities to slow down the rate of infections.  

Get Your Household Ready 

Many things can be done for preparing your home. All families should stock up now on plenty of medications and groceries to last for 7-10 days in case they develop the virus symptoms. Families will need these supplies in case they become infected. 
 
Forget about purchasing face masks. They can’t keep the virus from affecting you. The masks only help others from becoming infected by you. Hand sanitizers are effective only when they contain at least 60 percent alcohol. Washing your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water can be a deterrent for the virus. 
 
Stay informed about the latest updates on the epidemic from news-related sources. Avoid shaking hands with others in public. Try to stay away from people who have a cough or flu-like symptoms. Make sure you stay informed about any closings around your area. 
 
Making smart decisions about planning for the coronavirus can help keep your family safe. The worst thing you would have done is supplied your medicine cabinet for the medication you will need next year. 

How to Plan for the Possibility of Self-Quarantine Without Symptoms

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With an increase in cases of COVID-19, many people are concerned about contracting or spreading the disease. Health officials often ask those who have been exposed to someone who has tested positive to the disease to self-quarantine as a precautionary measure. Planning ahead for the possibility of self-quarantine will ease the stress of staying indoors and limiting contact with others for 14 days. If you are asymptomatic but may have to self-quarantine, here are a few things to do to get ready. 
 
There is a difference between isolation and quarantine. Those who are sick must be isolated to prevent spreading the disease. In contrast, precautionary quarantine means staying in your home for the recommended 14 days to see if you develop symptoms. During that time, health officials recommend self-monitoring, including being aware of symptoms developing and taking your temperature twice a day.  
 
Check your pantry and refrigerator to make sure you have enough food. Many delivery services have implemented options to leave goods at your door without making contact with occupants. If you live alone, ask a friend or relative to be available for errands if you need help during the quarantine period.  
 
Think about your daily routine. If you take medication, do you have enough? If you don’t have a washing machine, do you have enough clean clothing to last for 14 days? Do you have drinking water? Make a list of contacts, including delivery services, friends, relatives, neighbors, health care providers, teachers and community outreach services.  
 
If you have a maid or other in-home help, consider whether to allow the person to continue working with limited contact or whether to ask them to stay away. If you need a caretaker’s help, use precautionary measures. This may include wearing a mask when in contact with the person, washing your hands frequently and cleaning surfaces and objects with disinfectant.  
 
If you work, arrange with your employer to work from home. Many companies have already asked employees to do that to minimize the risk of spreading the disease. Discuss sick leave options with your employer, and confirm how you will communicate and provide deliverables during your quarantine. If you are a student, contact your school to discuss how to keep up with classwork and submit assignments. 
 
If you develop symptoms during the 14 days, contact your local health department and your primary care provider. 

Facts and Information about Breast Cancer

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Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women. Most patients with a diagnosis of breast cancer have likely had the cancerous mass for 5 to 10 years before the diagnosis. Cancers can be easily felt in the breast when they reach a size of approximately 1 cm. A lump of this size contains approximately one billion cells, which is the result of 30 doublings of a single cancer cell. Assuming that a breast lump grows with a doubling time of 100 days, it would take approximately 10 years to reach a point where it could be felt.

Breast cancer in males occurs less at about 1/100 th that of females. Breast cancer may metastasize to almost any organ in the body if not stopped. The most common sites are skin around a lumpectomy or mastectomy scar, scalp, lymph nodes, bone, lung, liver, and brain. Alternative/complementary medicine for breast cancer may help build the immune system and fight any progression of the cancer.

Types of breast cancers

Breast tumors can be either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

•          Inflammatory breast cancer is characterized by a diffused inflammation and enlargement of the breast, sometimes without a mass.

•          Ductal carcinoma in situ is the most common type of non-invasive breast cancer. These cancer cells are found within the milk ducts but have not yet spread into the breast tissue.

•          Invasive ductal carcinoma is the most common type of invasive breast cancer and is responsible for approximately 80% of all cancers. These type cancer cells are found in both the milk ducts and the breast tissue. Invasive ductal carcinoma may spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body if not stopped.

•          Invasive lobular carcinoma is responsible for approximately 10 to 15% of all breast cancers. These type cancer cells first grow in the lobes of the breast and have the ability to spread to other parts of the breast and also to other parts of the body.

Symptoms

Most breast cancers are discovered as a lump by the female herself. Some females may have a history of pain with no mass; however, this presentation is less common. There also may be breast enlargement, a thickening in the breast tissue, or nipple dimpling, nipple discharge, nipple erosion or ulceration, lymph node enlargement around the breast area or under the arms. The presence of pain should not lead to a false security that it is not cancer. Approximately 10% of patients may present with breast pain and no mass.

Etiology

The risk for breast cancer increases with age. Worldwide breast cancer tendency rates appear to correspond with variations in diet, especially a high fat intake diet and high alcohol intake. The BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes are inherited genes and account for only about 3% of breast cancers. If a woman has already had cancer in one breast, she should be aware that she has an increased risk for getting cancer in the other breast. Women with early periods (menarche), late menopause, and late first pregnancy are at increased risk. Women how have been exposed to radiation at an early age are at higher risk.

Various chemicals such as arsenic, aflatoxin, vinyle chloride, and benzene show definite evidence of causing human cancers. Other human carcinogens based on evidence from animal experiments are chloroform, dichloro-diphenyl-trichlorethane (DDT), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and formaldehyde.

Breast Cancer Glossary

•          Axillary:under the arm area.

•          Benign:not malignant; not recurrent; not cancerous.

•          Biopsy: the removal and examination of a small piece of tissue from the living body to determine if cancer cells are present.

•          Carcinogens: any substance that has the ability to cause cancer.

•          Carcinogenic: any substance that causes cancer.

•          Chemotherapy: a treatment for disease by using chemical agents.

•          Extended radical mastectomy: radical mastectomy with removal of the ipsilateral half of the sternum, a portion of the ribs, and the internal mammary lymph nodes.

•          Ipsilateral: pertaining to the same side as the affected breast.

•          Lumpectomy: a surgical excision or removal of only the palpable lesion or mass in the breast.

•          Malignancy: a cancerous growth which has the tendency to progress.

•          Mastectomy: removal of the breast.

•          Menarche: the beginning of a female’s monthly cycle.

•          Menopause: the ending of a female’s monthly cycle occurring usually around the age of 50.

•          Metastatic: the transfer of a cancer from one organ to another.

•          Modified radical mastectomy: a total mastectomy with axillary node removal but leaving the pectoral muscle.

•          Palpable: being able to touch or feel the lump.

•          Radiation: a treatment for disease using high-frequency ionizing radiation.

•          Tumor: a growth of tissue in which the division of cells is uncontrolled and progressive.

Facts and Information about Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, sometimes called ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, is known to be a rapidly progressive disease that involves the body’s motor neurons. Neurons are a type of conducting cells of the nervous system. When these cells are “ailing” it affects the upper and lower motor neurons and causes the cells to degenerate or often times die. This keeps the cells from being able to send messages to our brain to start and control voluntary movement of our muscles. When the muscles are unable to function they become weak, start twitching and eventually waste away. If the muscles in the diaphragm and chest area become affected, gradually the ability to breath may occur and there will be a need for breathing support to be used.

ALS most commonly strikes adults between the ages of 40 and 60 years old. It is estimated more than 5,000 people in the United States are diagnosed each year with ALS. These numbers are growing and are becoming alarming. Although it is said ALS is incurable, more and more people are finding that their symptoms can possibly be reversed by using alternative methods.

ALS affects only the motor neurons and not a person’s mind or their ability to think. Often times this brings about depression because they may not be able to accomplish the same physical things they once could. An ALS person is still the same person they were before their diagnosis but usually become of greater character because of their challenges.

There are many studies being conducted in the United States but none are proving to be effective as of today. ALS is a very difficult disease to diagnose and sometimes can be miss-diagnosed. ALS research is going in many directions and is not just limited to pharmaceutical drugs. Also, infectious diseases such as HIV, human T-cell leukemia virus (HTLV), and Lyme disease can cause ALS type symptoms. Toxic metals and chemicals can cause neurological disorders. Alternative medicine is proving that symptoms can be reversed and patients can regain normal lives.

Symptoms of ALS

True ALS symptoms can be very gradual and frequently overlooked. Other “diagnosed” ALS patients have had symptoms to appear very rapidly.

•          The earliest symptoms can be weakness, twitching, stiffness, or cramping of muscles.

•          Most of these muscle symptoms will start in an arm or a leg.

•          Stumbling or tripping more than usual.

•          Muscle twitches that can be seen under the skin (fasciculations)

•          Difficulties with speech.

•          Difficulty with chewing and swallowing (dysphagia)

•          Overactive gag reflex

•          Difficulty forming words (dysarthria).

•          Slurred speech and a nasally sounding speech.

•          An awkward feeling when walking or running

•          Unsteadiness

•          Spasticity or stiffness and tight muscles.

•          Abnormal reflexes (hyperreflexia)

•          Foot drop

•          Muscles began to atrophy

•          Breathing difficulties

•          Periods of laughter or periods of crying and not understanding why

•          Depression

•          A positive Babinski’s sign

How is ALS diagnosed?

A patient’s clinical history is the first suspect of ALS. As the patient’s symptoms progress and involves several areas of the body, it is possible to make the first diagnosis based on the way the patient looks and his or her findings on the neurological examination.

There are several types of test that should also be used to diagnose ALS.

•          CT scan (Computerized tomographic scanning)

•          MRI (Magnetic imaging

•          Blood test

•          EMG (Electromyography)

New ALS Treatments

Traditional treatments treat ALS as a universal disease, “one size fits all”. The problems can be a symptom of something else going on in the body. While traditional treatment can deal with the symptoms, those treatments do not focus on the cause. Something has happened to the body to cause the neurons not to fire like they should. If only 5 to 10 percent of ALS is inherited, shouldn’t we consider where the other 90 to 95 percent of ALS comes from?

Glossary for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease):

•          Atrophy- the wasting away in the size of a cell, tissue,organ, or part.

•          Babinski’s sign- a test performed by stimulating the sole of the foot in a certain way. A positive Babinski’s sign is when the patient’s big toe extends upward.

•          Dysphagia- difficulty in swallowing.

•          Dysphasia- impairment of speech, consisting in lack of coordination.

•          Dysarthria- not being able to articulate speech due to the disturbances of muscle control.

•          Fasciculations- small local contractions of muscles which can be seen visibly through the skin.

•          Hyperreflexia- response to stimuli characterized by exaggeration of reflexes.

•          Neuron- conducting cells of the nervous system which has many purposes such as sending impulses to the brain.

•          Reflexes- the reflected action or movement. The sum total of any involuntary action or movement.

•          Spasticity- when the muscles are stiff and the actions are awkward characterized by spasms.

Facts and Information about Cervical Cancer

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Cervical cancer develops in the lining of the cervix which is in the lower part of the uterus (womb). The cervix unites the body of the uterus to the vagina. Cervical cancer is the 2nd most common cancer of the female reproductive tract and usually affects women in their 40s to 55 years of age.

Cervical cancers are not known to form suddenly but over time. Normal cervical cells gradually develop into precancerous cells which in turn may develop into cancerous cells. It is important for women to get routine pap smears and check-ups with their physician. If these precancerous cells are caught early, almost all cancers can be prevented and/or treated.

Types of cervical cancers

There are 3 main types of cervical cancers:

1.         Squamous cell carcinoma typically presents as an ulcerated lesion. It is felt that squamous cancers develop from preexisting dysplastic lesions.

2.         Adenocarcinoma of the cervix accounts for 5 to 20% of cervical cancers and usually presents as an enlarged barrel-shaped cervix. It has been observed that adenocarcinomas are becoming more common in women who were born in the last 20 to 30 years.

3.         Adenosquamous carcinomas are cervical cancers which have both features of squamous cell carcinomas and adenocarcinomas and are less common.

Symptoms

Early cervical cancer is sometimes painless and may not produce symptoms. The first sign may be an abnormal pap smear. Other symptoms may include:

•          Abnormal vaginal bleeding or spotting

•          Bleeding after intercourse

•          Vaginal discharge

•          Low back pain

•          Pelvic pain

•          Dyspareunia or painful sexual intercourse

•          Dysuria or painful urination

Etiology

The cause of cervical cancer is unknown however it is felt there are many risk factors.

Human papillomavirus virus (HPV) is the most important risk factor to speak of. Normally, a female will develop this virus before she develops cervical cancer. There are over a 100 different types of papillomaviruses. Some of these viruses may cause warts while others may cause cervical cancer. Many times a woman with a good immune system is successful in fighting off the virus and does not develop cervical cancer.

A common vaginal infection known as Chlamydia puts a woman at greater risk for cervical cancer. Long term infection without treatment may also cause infertility.

Certain dietary patterns such as low intake of fruits and vegetables may also be a risk factor for cervical cancer. Research shows that overweight women are more likely to develop cervical cancer along with other types of cancers such as breast cancer.

Women who have had many full-term pregnancies also have an increased risk of developing cervical cancer.

There is evidence that long term use of oral contraceptive for 5 or more years may increase the chances of cervical cancer.

Women who smoke are about twice as likely as nonsmokers to develop many different types of cancers. This is especially true for cervical cancers. Tobacco by-products have been found in the cervical mucus.

Cervical carcinoma is more common in women of low socioeconomic status.

Other risk factors include history of multiple sexual partners and intercourse starting at a young age. Cervical cancer seems to be rare in sexually inactive women.

Cervical Cancer Glossary

•          Benign:not malignant; not recurrent; not cancerous.

•          Biopsy: the removal and examination of a small piece of tissue from the living body to determine if cancer cells are present.

•          Chemotherapy: a treatment for disease by using chemical agents.

•          Chlamydia: a bacterial infection spread by sexual contact which can infect the female reproductive tract.

•          Dysplasia: abnormal cells found on a pap smear report which shows alteration in size, shape, and organization of adult cervical cells.

•          Dyspareunia: difficult or painful intercourse.

•          Dysuria: painful or difficult urination.

•          Precancerous cells: cells which tend to become cancerous cells; a pathologic process that eventually tends to become malignant.

Facts and Information about Stomach Cancer

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A significant amount of gastric or stomach abnormal growths include both benign and cancerous lesions. Several types of malignant cancers begin in the stomach, but the majorities are primary cancers which developed in the mucosal glands.

Among the types of stomach cancers, carcinomas can be grouped according to the total appearance:

1.         Protruding

2.         Penetrating

3.         Spreading

The Stomach

The stomach is a musculo-membranous structure joined by the esophagus and the duodenum or small intestines. The stomach is shaped like the letter J and it serves as a food reservoir and an initiator of the digestive process. The food is held in the stomach temporarily until the stomach lining secretes gastric juices which act on the food to break it down chemically.

Symptoms

In the early stages of this cancer, there may not be any specific symptoms. Early stomach cancer can have very mild symptoms that may appear as simple indigestion. Other symptoms may include:

•          Feeling of being full after eating only a small amount of food

•          Heartburn

•          Unexplained weight loss

•          Vomiting

•          Difficulty swallowing

•          Pain in the abdomen

•          Dark bowel movements or blood in the stool

•          No appetite

•          Difficulty swallowing

Stomach Cancer Glossary

•          Benign: not malignant; not recurrent; not cancerous

•          Biopsy: the removal and examination of a small piece of tissue from the living body to determine if cancer cells are present.

•          Chemotherapy: a treatment for disease by using chemical agents.

•          Metastatic: the transfer of a cancer from one organ to another.

•          Penetrating: the tumor has a sharp well described boarder and may be ulcerated.

•          Protruding: the tumor goes forward, into, laterally

•          Radiation: a treatment for disease using high-frequency ionizing radiation.

•          Spreading: the tumor can go either superficially along the mucosa or infiltrating within the wall.

•          Tumor: a growth of tissue in which the division of cells is uncontrolled and progressive.

Facts and Information about Bladder Cancer

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Bladder cancer is the most frequent malignant tumor of the urinary tract and usually occurs most commonly in the fifth through seventh decade. Bladder cancer usually forms in the urinary bladder from the cells that divide and grow in an uncontrolled way, causing a tumor on or within the bladder. Most bladder cancers are found on the trigone, posterior (back), and lateral (side) walls of the bladder.

Types of bladder cancers

It is believed that it takes many years for gradual change in bladder cells to produce a bladder cancer.

There are several different types of bladder cancers. Transitional cell carcinoma is the most common type and is approximately 90% of all bladder cancers. Other types of bladder cancers include squamous cell carcinomas and adenocarcinomas.

Transitional cell carcinoma starts in the layer of cells that form the lining of the bladder and may present as a superficial, well-differentiated papillary tumor. Transitional cell carcinoma may also present as a highly invasive, poorly differentiated neoplasm. Squamous cell carcinoma is seen less frequently and may be associated with chronic irritation or parasitic infestation. Adenocarcinoma may occur as a primary bladder tumor, but spread from a bowel cancer.

You can also learn about available bladder cancer treatments.

Symptoms

Early symptoms may be painless.

•          Hematuria- blood in the urine.

•          Pyuria- pus in the urine.

•          Dysuria- Painful or difficult urination.

•          Burning

•          Frequency

•          Pain may occur with invasion, infection, or fixation of tumor onto the bladder.

Etiology

The definite causes of bladder cancer are not always clear. The American Cancer Society Textbook of Clinical Oncology, 2nd Edition, page 318 states;

“Aniline dye used in the textile, rubber, and cable industries is an etiologic factor. There is a long latency period (6 to 20 years) from exposure until tumor transformation in humans. Beta-naphthylamine, 4-amino-diphenyl, and cigarette smoking is associated with a six-fold higher incidence of bladder tumor.”

Bladder Cancer Glossary

•          Benign:not malignant; not recurrent; not cancerous.

•          Biopsy: the removal and examination of a small piece of tissue from the living body to determine if cancer cells are present.

•          Bladder: a musculomembranous sac that serves as a reservoir for urine.

•          Chemotherapy: a treatment for disease by using chemical agents.

•          Cystectomy: a resection (removal) of the bladder.

•          Cystoscope: a “telescope like” instrument used for visual examination to inspect the bladder.

•          Cystoscopy: A procedure which allows direct visual examination of the bladder using a cystoscope.

•          Frequency: the need to urinate more often than which is considered normal.

•          Invasive: involving puncture or growth of the bladder tumor into the bladder wall or elsewhere.

•          Malignancy: a cancerous growth which has the tendency to progress.

•          Metastatic: the transfer of a cancer from one organ to another.

•          Radiation: a treatment for disease using high-frequency ionizing radiation.

•          Transurethral resection (TUR): a procedure performed with an instrument passed through the urethra in order to remove abnormal tissue.

•          Tumor: a growth of tissue in which the division of cells is uncontrolled and progressive.

Facts and Information about Liver Cancer

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The American Cancer Society states the estimated number of 17,550 new cases of liver cancer that will be diagnosed in the United States in the year 2005. Also stated is the number 15,420 people that will die of liver cancer in the year 2005.

Primary liver cancer is a cancer which starts in the liver. Secondary or metastatic cancer is when cancer of another organ has spread to the liver.

Types of liver cancer

The liver is the largest internal organ of the body (the skin is actually the largest organ). The liver ways approximately 1500 grams and is surrounded by a fibrous capsule. It is a large gland of a dark-red color located in the upper part of the abdomen, protected by the rib cage, and is divided into sections called lobes. This helps understand the types of liver cancer.

The liver’s functions include the storage and filtration of blood, the secretion of bile, the excretion of bilirubin and other substances formed elsewhere in the body. The liver also performs numerous metabolic functions, including the uptake, storage and disposal of nutrients such as protein, carbohydrates, hormones, drugs, and toxins. It also destroys harmful substances such as alcohol, and helps the body to rid itself of waste products.

The liver is connected to the small intestines by the bile duct which is a small tube. The bile duct allows the bile produced by the liver to flow to the intestines. When the bile duct becomes clogged, the patient may become jaundiced.

Tumors of the liver may be benign or malignant. The most common primary malignant liver tumor is hepatocellular carcinoma.

Symptoms

In the early stages of liver cancer there are often no symptoms. Other symptoms of liver cancer may include:

•          Loss of appetite

•          Weight loss

•          Weakness

•          Nausea

•          Jaundice

•          A vague discomfort in the upper abdomen.

•          Ascites

•          Pain in the right shoulder

•          Fever

•          Abdominal swelling

•          Elevated liver enzymes

Etiology

A number of factors are associated with the etiology of hepatocellular cancer. Risk factors include:

•          Hepatitis B

•          Gender

•          Aflatoxin contaminated food

•          Alcohol-induced cirrhosis

•          Certain drugs such as anabolic steroids, Thorotrast, and immunosuppressive agents.

•          Aromatic amines

•          Pesticides

•          Chlorinated hydrocarbons

•          Tobacco use

•          Arsenic

•          Oral Contraceptives

Facts and Information about Pancreatic Cancer

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Pancreatic cancer is known to be one of the most serious of all cancers. Cancers of the exocrine pancreas is the second most common malignancy and the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimated an astounding number of 31,860 Americans diagnosed for the year 2004. It is sad to say that in our advanced age of medicine almost the same number of patients will die this year as the number of newly diagnosed patients. This is one reason it is so important to start considering alternative methods to increase the immune system at the same time of doing an anti-tumor program.

Pancreatic cancer normally appears at the age of 55 to 65 years of age and occurs 1 1/2 to 2 times more often in men.

Symptoms

•          Pancreatic cancer metastases rapidly and is seldom diagnosed early because the patient’s symptoms are not always noticed.

•          Often times the onset of symptoms are gradual and the patient’s doctor may interpret the symptoms as another diagnosis.

•          Symptom Triad: 

1.         Weight loss is usually gradual and progressive.

2.         Abdominal pain is usually described as a steady “boring” midepigastric pain that is usually worse at night.

3.         Jaundice may present late and can be progressive or spontaneous fluctuations.

Etiology

* Diets high in fat have been associated with development of pancreatic cancer. Other considerations include ingestion of meat and total caloric intake from fried foods, dairy products and seafood.

* There have been a number of studies that suggests diabetics have a greater chance of developing pancreatic cancer.

* It is unusual to find pancreatic cancer in a patient younger than 40 years of age. The risk of developing pancreatic cancer increases with age.

* Studies have proven that pancreatic cancer is more common in the African-American population.

* Cigarette smoking is one of the biggest risk factors due to cigarettes containing a large number of carcinogens.

* Cancer of the pancreas is more common in men than women.

* Chronic pancreatitis has been linked to pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic Cancer Glossary

•          Benign: not malignant; not recurrent; not cancerous

•          Biopsy: the removal and examination of a small piece of tissue from the living body to denameine if cancer cells are present.

•          CA 19-9: a tumor marker for pancreatic cancer found in the patient’s blood.

•          Carcinogens: any substance that has the ability to cause cancer.

•          Carcinogenic: any substance that causes cancer.

•          Chemotherapy: a treatment for disease by using chemical agents.

•          Malignancy: a cancerous growth which has the tendency to progress.

•          Metastatic: the transfer of a cancer from one organ to another.

•          Radiation: a treatment of disease using high-frequency ionizing radiation.

•          Tumor: a growth of tissue in which the division of cells is uncontrolled and progressive.

Facts and Information about Lung Cancer

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In the United States, lung cancer is presently the leading cause of death from cancer in both men and women. Normally lung cancer starts out in the cells lining the bronchi. Lung cells usually reproduce to maintain healthy lung tissue and repair old, aged, damaged cells. If for some reason the growth mechanism is off, the cell growth can become too much and the cells can divide too fast. This process can continue and grow in an uncontrolled way causing a tumor.

Carcinoma of the lung has the ability to metastasize early. Common sites of metastasis include brain, bone, the other lung, liver, adrenals, lymph nodes, and skin.

Metastasis to the lungs is commonly from cancer that originated from the breast, colon, prostate, kidney, thyroid, stomach, rectum, cervix, testis, bone and from melanoma.

It is very important to try to contain the rate of cancer cell growth. It can also be important to build the body’s immune system while doing an anti-tumor program. The more you build your body’s system, the greater strength the body has to help you fight off the cancer.

Lung Anatomy

The lungs are considered the organs of respiration. The lungs occupy both sides of the chest cavity inside the rib cage. The right lung has three lobes and the left lung has two lobes. The bottom of each lung extends down to the diaphragm. The diaphragm is the major breathing muscle that separates the chest from the abdominal cavity.

Types of lung cancers

There are many different types of lung cancers but two main histological types. These two types are:

1.         Non-small cell lung cancer which has three subtypes:

o          Squamous cell frequently originating in the larger bronchi and sometimes spreading by extension and lymph node metastasis.

o          Adenocarcinoma of the lung commonly peripheral and found in the mucus glands. This type usually spreads through the blood stream.

o          Large cell carcinoma is usually found near the surface of the lung.

2.         Small cell lung cancer tends to be more aggressive and spreads quickly. This type is also highly associated with smoking.

Symptoms

The most frequent signs and symptoms are:

•          Cough is the most common symptom of lung cancer.

•          Hemoptysis or coughing up blood.

•          Dyspnea or difficulty in breathing. Dyspnea is greatly associated with cigarette smoking and emphysema.

•          Wheezing can occur with partial blockage or obstruction.

•          Pneumonia

•          Chest, shoulder, or arm pain

•          Weight loss

•          Bone pain

•          Hoarseness

•          Headaches or seizures

•          Swelling of the face

•          Pleural effusion is when there is some fluid in the lung or lungs.

Etiology

It is believed that cigarette smoking is the number one reason for lung cancers. Smoking is the most preventable cause of death. The more cigarettes smoked in a day and the younger the age of starting to smoke, the greater the risk of lung cancer. The major chemicals in cigarettes other than nicotine are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHS), nicotine by-products, metals such as cadmium and nickel, tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs), and radioactive polonium 210 (210Po). Elements of cigarette vapor include oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, water, nitrogen oxides, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide, benzene, and toluene.

New studies are showing that alcoholism is associated with significant immune suppression. The correlation is shown by changes in the interferon system and by the altered activity of the natural killer cells.

Lung cancer can develop in regions of scar areas such as scars from tuberculosis. This type of lung cancer diagnosis is often difficult to make.

Exposure to certain industrial substances such as arsenic, some organic chemicals, occupational or environmental exposures to radon and asbestos, is also considered great risk factors.

More risk factors include radiation exposure from occupational, medical, and environmental sources.

Air pollution is becoming more and more a risk factor. Some possible air pollutants are diesel exhaust, tar and pitch, arsenic, dioxin, cadmium, chromium, and nickel compounds.

A diet low in fruit and vegetables is linked to an increase in lung cancer. Studies show a positive correlation between the intake of cholesterol and dietary fat and lung cancer.

Lung Cancer Glossary

•          Adenocarcinoma: a type of cancer cell derived from glandular tissue or in which the tumor cells form recognizable glandular structures.

•          Atelectasis: the collapse of a lung

•          Benign:not malignant; not recurrent; not cancerous.

•          Biopsy: the removal and examination of a small piece of tissue from the living body to determine if cancer cells are present.

•          Bronchi: the large airway that runs from the trachea to the lungs.

•          Bronchioles: the smaller air passages that lead from the bronchi further into the lung tissue.

•          Bronchoscope: an instrument for inspecting the interior of the lungs and allows a way to get specimens for culture or biopsy.

•          Bronchoscopy: examination of the bronchi through the use of a bronchoscope.

•          Carcinogens: any substance that has the ability to cause cancer.

•          Carcinogenic: any substance that causes cancer.

•          Chemotherapy: a treatment for disease by using chemical agents.

•          Dyspnea: difficulty in breathing.

•          Hemoptysis: the coughing or spitting up of blood.

•          Malignancy: a cancerous growth which has the tendency to progress.

•          Metastatic: the transfer of a cancer from one organ to another.

•          Metastatic: the transfer of a cancer from one organ to another.

•          Radiation: a treatment for disease using high-frequency ionizing radiation.

•          Trachea: the windpipe connecting the larynx and the bronchi.

•          Tumor: a growth of tissue in which the division of cells is uncontrolled and progressive.