Thursday, December 6, 2007

Building Long-Term Health in Breast cancer

Breast cancer treatment has progressed at a quick pace in recent years, and more advances are coming out all the time. This is great news for improving the health and survival odds for women with breast cancer. But it also means a confusing array of treatment options and often many months—and even years—of treatment.

After surgery, you might have months of chemotherapy, radiation treatment, or both. These may be followed by years of hormonal treatment or other targeted therapy.

But after the initial treatment—surgery, radiation, and possibly chemotherapy—is over, you might just want to put it all behind you. Done! You got through it, and you never want to deal with cancer again. You crave that normal feeling when you wake up, go through the day, and sleep through the night without any signs or thoughts of cancer. Like anyone else, you want to be able to think and plan for your future without the fear of cancer in your way.

All of these very strong wishes are totally normal. Yet you probably know you'll be dealing with some fear or concerns about cancer for the rest of your life. You may also have decided with your doctor that the best treatment plan for you includes long-term hormonal therapy or other medication that you have to take regularly—every day, week, or month—for years. And even many years after your initial treatment is over, you should be checked regularly so your doctors can monitor your health and make sure you're continuing to do well.

In this way, breast cancer has become similar to other serious, chronic conditions, like heart disease and diabetes. It's something you live with and take care of for the rest of your life.

So how do you take baby steps, and then bigger and bigger steps, beyond your initial therapy to ensure the healthiest possible future for you?

One of the big steps you need to take after your main treatment is over is to focus the strength of your mind on what's most important: your good health. You have to take a stand for getting the best ongoing care and living the best life possible well into your future.

Make a deal with yourself: you will do the best job you can to love yourself, speak up for yourself, take care of yourself, and take advantage of the best medical care available to you. Remember: there is only one of you, and you deserve the best care possible.

Of course, you don't have to do this all alone! Reach out and accept help from family and friends who are looking for ways to support you.

Think about your doctors and nurses as your "extra-special personal health-care team" that you've brought into your world to guard and cherish your life. Look at tests as an important way to know what's going on inside your body as a guide for your long-term treatment. View your ongoing therapy as an important insurance plan for extra protection beyond your initial treatment to keep you healthy well into your future.

The treatment plan, or regimen, that you and your doctors put together for you is designed to strengthen your outlook for a healthy future. By following it fully, you'll have the best chances of living a long, disease-free life.

This section of is intended to help you remain committed to your treatment plan, so you can maintain the best possible long-term health and quality of life.

In this section, we'll help you understand why it's so important to stick to your plan, suggest ways to handle possible difficulties in following radiation, chemotherapy, and hormonal therapy regimens, and encourage you to talk with your doctors and nurses to find other effective treatments and regimens
read more "Building Long-Term Health in Breast cancer"

Types of Complementary Techniques for Breast cancer

There are literally hundreds of complementary treatments. While some treatments have been studied in breast cancer patients, others have not. We have noted which treatments have and have not been studied in breast cancer patients. ALWAYS check with your doctor before beginning any complementary treatment.

Although not every complementary technique is listed here, we've included information about the most widely used complementary techniques.
Complementary medicine treatments

* Acupuncture *
* Music Therapy *
* Aromatherapy
* Progressive Muscle Relaxation
* Chiropractic *
* Reiki *
* Guided Imagery
* Shiatsu *
* Hypnosis *
* Spirituality and Prayer
* Journaling
* Support Groups *
* Massage *
* Tai Chi
* Meditation
* Yoga

*Requires a practitioner. The others can be self-taught or done alone after a few sessions with a teacher. Always talk to your doctor before trying a new therapy.
read more "Types of Complementary Techniques for Breast cancer"

Chemotherapy for Breast cancer

Chemotherapy is a systemic therapy; this means it affects the whole body by going through the bloodstream. The purpose of chemotherapy and other systemic treatments is to get rid of any cancer cells that may have spread from where the cancer started to another part of the body.

Chemotherapy is effective against cancer cells because the drugs love to interfere with rapidly dividing cells. The side effects of chemotherapy come about because cancer cells aren't the only rapidly dividing cells in your body. The cells in your blood, mouth, intestinal tract, nose, nails, vagina, and hair are also undergoing constant, rapid division. This means that the chemotherapy is going to affect them, too.

Still, chemotherapy is much easier to tolerate today than even a few years ago. And for many women it's an important "insurance policy" against cancer recurrence. It's also important to remember that organs in which the cells do not divide rapidly, such as the liver and kidneys, are rarely affected by chemotherapy. And doctors and nurses will keep close track of side effects and can treat most of them to improve the way you feel.

In this section, you'll learn more about how chemotherapy works and the best ways to manage nausea, hair loss, and other chemotherapy side effects.

You'll also read about the different chemotherapy regimens and about deciding together with your medical oncologist which regimen would be best suited to you.

It's important to remember that every woman's ideal treatment plan is different. Be aware that your "chemo" regimen may be different from someone else's, based on very individual—and sometimes subtle—breast cancer factors. These include: lymph node involvement, tumor size, hormone receptor status, grade, and oncogene expression. Be prepared for your doctor to recommend a combination of chemotherapies—together or in a series.
read more "Chemotherapy for Breast cancer"

Hormonal Therapy for breast cancer

Hormonal therapy is a very effective treatment against breast cancer that is hormone-receptor-positive. Find out if you should be tested to see if you need other therapies, as well. Sometimes called "anti-estrogen therapy," hormonal therapy blocks the ability of the hormone estrogen to turn on and stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells.

For years, tamoxifen was the hormonal medicine of choice for all women with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. But in 2005, the results of several major worldwide clinical trials showed that aromatase inhibitors (Arimidex [chemical name: anastrozole], Aromasin [chemical name: exemestane], and Femara [chemical name: letrozole]) worked better than tamoxifen in post-menopausal women with hormone-receptive-positive breast cancer.

Aromatase inhibitors are now considered the standard of care for post-menopausal women with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. Tamoxifen remains the hormonal treatment of choice for pre-menopausal women.
read more "Hormonal Therapy for breast cancer"

Targeted Breast cancer Therapies

Targeted cancer therapies are cancer treatments that target specific characteristics of cancer cells, such as a protein, an enzyme, or the formation of new blood vessels. Targeted therapies don't harm normal, healthy cells. Most targeted therapies are antibodies that work like the antibodies made by the immune system. So targeted therapies are also called immune targeted therapies. In this way, targeted therapies are very different from more traditional types of anti-cancer therapies.

* Herceptin
Herceptin (chemical name: trastuzumab) is the best known targeted therapy for breast cancer. Herceptin only works against breast cancers that have extra HER2 genes and make too many HER2 protein receptors. Herceptin does have a number of potentially serious side effects.
* Tykerb
Tykerb (chemical name: lapatinib) is another targeted therapy that works against breast cancers that have extra HER2 genes. Tykerb has been approved by the FDA to be given in combination with Xeloda (chemical name: capecitabine) to treat advanced, HER2-positive breast cancer that has stopped responding to anthracyclines, taxanes, and Herceptin.
* Avastin
Avastin (chemical name: bevacizumab) is also a targeted therapy. Avastin targets the new blood vessels that feed cancer cells. Avastin has been approved by the FDA to treat certain types of advanced cancers of the lung, colon and rectum. Researchers are studying Avastin in combination with Taxol (chemical name: paclitaxel) to see if the combo can slow the progression of advanced breast cancer better than Taxol alone.

New targeted therapies are emerging on a regular basis. Stay tuned to for the latest research results in this area of treatment.
read more "Targeted Breast cancer Therapies"

The role of surgery in breast cancer treatment

For well over a century, surgery has been the first line of attack against breast cancer. But things have changed a lot in recent years. Today, the goal is precise, targeted surgery that aims to preserve as much of the healthy breast and surrounding areas as possible. Even mastectomy (breast removal) is a more refined, less drastic option than it was a generation ago.

The most important of these deciding factors are: the stage of the cancer, the overall "personality" of the cancer, and what is acceptable to you in terms of your long-term peace of mind.

kinds of surgery

* breast-conserving surgery, (commonly known as lumpectomy) in which only the tumor is removed from the breast. This is usually followed by radiation therapy to the remaining breast tissue.
* mastectomy, an operation in which the whole breast is removed. Sometimes radiation is given after mastectomy.

For invasive breast cancer, both of these procedures may also be accompanied by an axillary lymph node dissection. Recommendations for whole body or "systemic" treatments such as hormonal therapy, chemotherapy, or both, may follow either approach.

The need for systemic treatment is independent of which surgical procedure you choose. Do not elect to have a mastectomy thinking that this will eliminate the need for chemotherapy.

If you have early-stage breast cancer, ask your doctor about the sentinel lymph node dissection as an alternative to traditional lymph node dissection. Find out if you are a good candidate. If you are, ask if your surgeon has a high level of experience with this new technique, before proceeding.
read more "The role of surgery in breast cancer treatment"

Treatment of breast cancer

In recent years, there's been an explosion of life-saving treatment advances against breast cancer, bringing new hope and excitement. Instead of only one or two options, today there's an overwhelming menu of treatment choices that fight the complex mix of cells in each individual cancer. The decisions—surgery, then perhaps radiation, hormonal (anti-estrogen) therapy, and/or chemotherapy—can feel overwhelming. can help you understand your cancer stage and appropriate options, so you and your doctors can arrive at the best treatment plan for YOU.

In the following pages of the Treatment section, you can learn about:

* Surgery
Breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy), mastectomy, and lymph node dissection, and what to expect from each.

* Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy—also called radiotherapy—is a highly targeted, highly effective way to destroy cancer cells that may linger after surgery. Radiation can reduce the risk of recurrence by 50% to 66% (about a half to two-thirds reduction in risk). Despite what many women fear, radiation therapy is relatively easy to tolerate, and its side effects are limited to the treated area.

Your radiation treatment will be overseen by a radiation oncologist, a cancer doctor who specializes in radiation treatment.

* Targeted Therapies
Including Herceptin: How they work, who should get them, how they're given, side effects, and major studies.

* Hormonal Therapy
The link between hormones and breast cancer and how different groups of drugs—including ERDs, SERMs, and aromatase inhibitors—can affect that link.

* Chemotherapy
Who should get it, how it works, different types, side effects, and how to manage them.

* Complementary Medicine
How complementary medicine techniques such as acupuncture, meditation, and yoga could be a helpful addition to your regular medical treatment. Includes research on complementary techniques and ways to find qualified practitioners.

* Building Long-Term Health
Why it's so important to stick to your treatment plan, take the full course of medications, and continue with regular tests and doctors' visits to keep yourself healthy into the future.
read more "Treatment of breast cancer"

Stages of Breast Cancer

The purpose of the staging system is to help organize the different factors and some of the personality features of the cancer into categories, in order to:

* best understand your prognosis (the most likely outcome of the disease)
* guide treatment decisions, since clinical studies of breast cancer treatments that you and your doctor will consider are partly organized by the staging system, and
* provide a common way to describe the extent of breast cancer for doctors and nurses all over the world, so that results of your treatment can be compared and understood.

Tumor sizes:
3 spheres measuring 1 cm, 3cm, 5cm

Stage 0

This stage is used to describe non-invasive breast cancer. There is no evidence of cancer cells breaking out of the part of the breast in which it started, or of getting through to or invading neighboring normal tissue. LCIS and DCIS are examples of stage 0.
Stage I

This stage describes invasive breast cancer (cancer cells are breaking through to or invading neighboring normal tissue) in which

* The tumor measures up to two centimeters, AND
* No lymph nodes are involved.

Stage II

This stage describes invasive breast cancer in which:

* The tumor measures at least two centimeters, but not more than five centimeters, OR
* Cancer has spread to the lymph nodes under the arm on the same side as the breast cancer. Affected lymph nodes have not yet stuck to one another or to the surrounding tissues, a sign that the cancer has not yet advanced to stage III. (The tumor in the breast can be any size.)

Stage III

Stage III is divided into subcategories known as IIIA and IIIB.
Stage IIIA

Stage IIIA describes invasive breast cancer in which:

* the tumor measures larger than five centimeters, OR
* there is significant involvement of lymph nodes. The nodes clump together or stick to one another or surrounding tissue.

Stage IIIB

This stage describes invasive breast cancer in which a tumor of any size has spread to the breast skin, chest wall, or internal mammary lymph nodes (located beneath the breast right under the ribs, inside the middle of the chest).

Stage IIIB includes inflammatory breast cancer, a very uncommon but very serious, aggressive type of breast cancer. The most distinguishing feature of inflammatory breast cancer is redness involving part or all of the breast. The redness feels warm. You may see puffiness of the breast's skin that looks like the peel of a navel orange ("peau d'orange"), or even ridges, welts, or hives. And part or all of the breast may be enlarged and hard. A lump is present only half of the time. Inflammatory breast cancer is sometimes misdiagnosed as a simple infection.

Stage IV

This stage includes invasive breast cancer in which

* a tumor has spread beyond the breast, underarm, and internal mammary lymph nodes, and
* a tumor may have spread to the supraclavicular lymph nodes (nodes located at the base of the neck, above the collarbone), lungs, liver, bone, or brain.

"Metastatic at presentation" means that the breast cancer has spread beyond the breast and nearby lymph nodes, even though this is the first diagnosis of breast cancer. The reason for this is that the primary breast cancer was not found when it was only inside the breast. Metastatic cancer is considered stage IV.
read more "Stages of Breast Cancer"

How Breast Cancer Happens

Breast profile:
A Ducts
B Lobules
C Dilated section of duct to hold milk
D Nipple
E Fat
F Pectoralis major muscle
G Chest wall/rib cage

A Normal duct cells
B Basement membrane
C Lumen (center of duct)

The breast is a gland designed to make milk. The lobules in the breast make the milk, which then drains through the ducts to the nipple.

Like all parts of your body, the cells in your breasts usually grow and then rest in cycles. The periods of growth and rest in each cell are controlled by genes in the cell's nucleus. The nucleus is like the control room of each cell. When your genes are in good working order, they keep cell growth under control. But when your genes develop an abnormality, they sometimes lose their ability to control the cycle of cell growth and rest.
Breast cancer is an uncontrolled growth of breast cells.

Cancer has the potential to break through normal breast tissue barriers and spread to other parts of the body. While cancer is always caused by a genetic "abnormality" (a "mistake" in the genetic material), only 5–10% of cancers are inherited from your mother or father. Instead, 90% of breast cancers are due to genetic abnormalities that happen as a result of the aging process and life in general.

While there are things every woman can do to help her body stay as healthy as possible (such as eating a balanced diet, not smoking, minimizing stress, and exercising regularly), breast cancer is never anyone's fault. Feeling guilty, or telling yourself that breast cancer happened because of something you or anyone else did, is counterproductive.
read more "How Breast Cancer Happens"

Signs, Symptoms & Diagnosis of Breast cancer


Early breast cancer usually does not cause pain. In fact, when breast cancer first develops, there may be no symptoms at all. But as the cancer grows, it can cause changes that women should watch for:

* A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area.
* A change in the size or shape of the breast.
* A discharge from the nipple.
* A change in the color or feel of the skin of the breast, areola, or nipple (dimpled, puckered, or scaly).

A woman should see her doctor if she notices any of these changes. Most often, they are not cancer, but only a doctor can tell for sure.


An abnormal area on a mammogram, a lump, or other changes in the breast can be caused by cancer or by other, less serious problems. To find out the cause of any of these signs or symptoms, a woman's doctor does a careful physical exam and asks about her personal and family medical history. In addition to checking general signs of health, the doctor may do one or more of the breast exams described below.

* Palpation. The doctor can tell a lot about a lump—its size, its texture, and whether it moves easily—by palpation, carefully feeling the lump and the tissue around it. Benign lumps often feel different from cancerous ones.

* Mammography. X-rays of the breast can give the doctor important information about a breast lump. If an area on the mammogram looks suspicious or is not clear, additional x-rays may be needed.

* Ultrasonography. Using high-frequency sound waves, ultrasonography can often show whether a lump is solid or filled with fluid. This exam may be used along with mammography.

Based on these exams, the doctor may decide that no further tests are needed and no treatment is necessary. In such cases, the doctor may need to check the woman regularly to watch for any changes. Often, however, the doctor must remove fluid or tissue from the breast to make a diagnosis.

Aspiration or needle biopsy. The doctor uses a needle to remove fluid or a small amount of tissue from a breast lump. This procedure may show whether a lump is a fluid-filled cyst (not cancer) or a solid mass (which may or may not be cancer). Using special techniques, tissue can be removed with a needle from an area that is suspicious on a mammogram but cannot be felt.

If tissue is removed in a needle biopsy, it goes to a lab to be checked for cancer cells. Clear fluid removed from a cyst may not need to be checked by a lab.

Surgical biopsy. The surgeon cuts out part or all of a lump or suspicious area. A pathologist examines the tissue under a microscope to check for cancer cells.

When a woman needs a biopsy, these are some questions she may want to ask her doctor:

* What type of biopsy will I have? Why?
* How long will the biopsy or aspiration take? Will I be awake? Will it hurt?
* How soon will I know the results?
* If I do have cancer, who will talk with me about treatment? When?

When Cancer Is Found

When cancer is present, the pathologist can tell what kind of cancer it is (whether it began in a duct or a lobule) and whether it is invasive (has invaded nearby tissues in the breast).

Special laboratory tests of the tissue help the doctor learn more about the cancer. For example, hormone receptor tests (estrogen and progesterone receptor tests) can help predict whether the cancer is sensitive to hormones. Positive test results mean hormones help the cancer grow and the cancer is likely to respond to hormonal therapy. Other lab tests are sometimes done to help the doctor predict whether the cancer is likely to grow slowly or quickly.

If the diagnosis is cancer, the patient may want to ask these questions:

* What kind of breast cancer do I have? It is invasive?
* What did the hormone receptor test show? What other lab tests were done on the tumor tissue, and what did they show?
* How will this information help the doctor decide what type of treatment or further tests to recommend?

The patient's doctor may refer her to doctors who specialize in treating cancer, or she may ask for a referral. Treatment generally begins within a few weeks after the diagnosis. There will be time for the woman to talk with the doctor about her treatment choices, to get a second opinion, and to prepare herself and her loved ones.

How Breast Cancer Happens
read more "Signs, Symptoms & Diagnosis of Breast cancer"

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Home remedies and natural treatments for acne

Acne Remedies

Here are some home remedies and natural treatments for acne.
Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is a popular home remedy for acne. It is an essential oil that is diluted and applied topically to acne lesions.

How is tea tree oil believed to work? Tea tree oil contains a constituent called terpinen-4-ol that's thought to be responsible for most of tea tree oil's anti-bacterial activity. Because tea tree oil can kill bacteria, applying topical tea tree oil to acne lesions is believed to kill Propionibacterium acnes, the skin-dwelling bacteria involved in causing acne. Read more about tea tree oil and acne: Tea Tree Oil for Acne? and learn more about Tea Tree Oil

Zinc is another popular home remedy for acne. A couple of research studies have found that zinc is somewhat effective. While it was more effective than a placebo, antibiotic medication was still more effective. In light of this, it may not be the best option when scarring is a possibility.

Side effects of zinc include digestive upset and a metallic taste in the mouth. At high doses, zinc may lead to copper deficiency, weakened immune function, anemia, and heart problems. There is some concern that higher doses may reduce levels of HDL ("good") chholesterol.

Zinc may also interfere with the absorption of magnesium and iron from food and supplements. It can interfere with the absorption of tetracycline and fluoroquinolone antibiotics and penicillamine. There is also some concern that a particular diuretic, amiloride, can reduce zinc excretion and lead to a toxic build-up in the body.
read more "Home remedies and natural treatments for acne"

Thursday, September 6, 2007



Acne treatments work by reducing oil production, speeding up skin cell turnover, fighting bacterial infection or doing all three. With most prescription acne treatments, you may not see results for four to eight weeks, and your skin may get worse before it gets better. Oral prescription medications for acne should not be used during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester.
Your doctor or dermatologist may recommend one or more of the following treatments for acne:
  • Topical treatments. Acne lotions may dry up the oil, kill bacteria and promote sloughing of dead skin cells. Over-the-counter lotions are generally mild and contain benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, resorcinol, salicylic acid or lactic acid as their active ingredient. These products can be helpful for very mild acne. If your acne doesn't respond to these treatments, you may want to see a doctor or dermatologist to get a stronger prescription lotion. Tretinoin (Avita, Retin-A, Renova) and adapalene (Differin) are examples of topical prescription products derived from vitamin A. They work by promoting cell turnover and preventing plugging of the hair follicle. A number of topical antibiotics also are available. They work by killing excess skin bacteria. Often, a combination of such products is required to achieve optimal results.
  • Antibiotics. For moderate to severe acne, prescription oral antibiotics may be needed to reduce bacteria and fight inflammation. You may need to take these antibiotics for months, and you may need to use them in combination with topical products.
  • Isotretinoin. For deep cysts, antibiotics may not be enough. Isotretinoin (Accutane) is a powerful medication available for scarring cystic acne or acne that doesn't respond to other treatments. This medicine is reserved for the most severe forms of acne. It's very effective, but people who take it need close monitoring by a dermatologist because of the possibility of severe side effects. Isotretinoin is associated with severe birth defects, so it can't be taken by pregnant women or women who may become pregnant during the course of treatment or within several weeks of concluding treatment. In fact, the drug carries such serious potential side effects that women of reproductive age must participate in an FDA-approved monitoring program to receive a prescription for the drug. In addition, isotretinoin may increase the levels of triglycerides and cholesterol in the blood and may increase liver enzyme levels. For most people, however, these levels return to normal when the medication is stopped.
  • Oral contraceptives. Oral contraceptives, including a combination of norgestimate and ethinyl estradiol (Ortho-Cyclen, Ortho Tri-Cyclen), have been shown to improve acne in women. However, oral contraceptives may cause other side effects that you'll want to discuss with your doctor.
  • Cosmetic surgery. Doctors may be able to use cosmetic surgery to diminish scars left by acne. Procedures include peeling away damaged skin with chemicals or by freezing it, dermabrasion, intense light therapy and laser resurfacing. Peeling procedures eliminate superficial scars. Dermabrasion, which is usually reserved for more severe scarring, involves removing the top layers of skin with a rapidly rotating wire brush. Laser resurfacing involves using short pulses of intense light to remove the outer layer of your skin. If your skin tends to form scar tissue, these procedures can make your complexion worse.
read more "Acne-Treatment"

Acne-Risk factors

Hormonal changes in your body can provoke or aggravate acne. Such changes are common in:
  • Teenagers, both boys and girls

  • Women and girls, two to seven days before their periods

  • Pregnant women

  • People using certain medications, including cortisone

Other risk factors include:
  • Exposing your skin directly to greasy or oily substances, or to certain cosmetics.

  • Having a family history of acne. If your parents had acne, you may be likely to develop it too.

  • Friction or pressure on your skin caused by items such as telephones or cell phones, helmets, tight collars and backpacks.
read more "Acne-Risk factors"

ACNE-Myth Breaker

  • Myth:Washing your face more often will help clear up acne

  • Reality:Facial blemishes are not caused by dirt. Contrary to what you may have seen in commercials, pores do not get blocked from the top down due to "impurities". Rather, the walls of a pore stick together within the skin, starting acne formation. Far from preventing acne, frequent washing may actually irritate pores and cause them to become clogged. A washcloth can add even more irritation. The best bet is to wash very gently with bare hands, and only wash twice a day.

  • Myth:Stress causes acne

  • Reality:Stress may have an effect on hormones and theoretically can promote acne. However, an effective acne treatment regimen is more powerful than a bout of stress any day. Some psychiatric medications may have acne as a side effect, but stress itself is no big deal. Your time is better spent determining the right course of acne treatment rather than feeling guilt about stress.

  • Myth:Masturbation or sex causes acne

  • Reality:This antiquated notion, originating as early as the 17th century to dissuade young people from having premarital sex, is just plain wrong. Don't believe the hype.

  • Myth:The sun will help get rid of acne

  • Reality:The sun may work in the short-term to hasten the clearing of existing acne while reddening your skin, thus blending your skin tone with red acne marks. However, a sun burn is actually skin damage. Sun exposure causes irritation which can make acne worse. People will often notice their skin breaking out as it heals from sun damage. The sun is a short-term band-aid which will often bite back with more acne in the weeks following exposure. Having said that, I don't want to give the impression that the sun is evil. It is not. We get our vitamin D from the sun for instance. Limiting sun exposure on acne prone areas of your body is most likely prudent, but some exposure from time to time is not only unavoidable, but is perfectly okay.

  • Myth:Diet and acne are related

  • Reality:The bottom line is we need more research. We do know that people in some indigenous societies do not experience acne whatsoever across the entire population. This is in stark contrast to the widespread presence of acne throughout all modern society. It leaves us to ponder the question of whether the indigenous people's diet contributes to their acne-free skin. Discovering a dietary way of preventing acne may be a future reality, however, we may live so differently from our hunter/gatherer ancestors that it has become close to impossible to replicate our ancestral diet. But, let's see if we can work together to come to some concensus from our own experiences.
read more "ACNE-Myth Breaker"

Non-inflammatory acne

Microcomedones become non-inflamed skin blemishes called comedones--either a whitehead or a blackhead:

WhiteheadWhen the trapped sebum and bacteria stay below the skin surface, a whitehead is formed. Whiteheads may show up as tiny white spots, or they may be so small that they are invisible to the naked eye.

BlackheadA blackhead occurs when the trapped sebum and bacteria partially open to the surface and turn black due to melanin, the skin's pigment. It is not dirt and can not be washed away. Blackheads can last for a long time because the contents very slowly drain to the surface

A blackhead or whitehead can release its contents to the surface and heal. Or, the follicle wall can rupture and inflammatory acne can ensue (see below). This rupture can be caused by random occurence or by picking or touching the skin. This is why it is important to leave acne prone skin relatively untouched.
read more "Non-inflammatory acne"

Acne-a normal follicle

A normal follicle looks like this:
normal follicle
For reasons no one completely understands, follicles, often called pores, sometimes get blocked. Sebum (oil) which normally drains to the surface gets blocked and bacteria begins to grow. Both whiteheads and blackheads start out as a microcomedone. The picture below is a microcomedone:
micro comedo
read more "Acne-a normal follicle"

Primary Pulmonary Hypertension-Treatment

What therapy is available for patients with primary pulmonary hypertension?
Doctors can choose from a variety of drugs that help lower blood pressure in the lungs and improve heart performance in many patients.

Physicians now know that patients with PPH respond differently to the different medications that dilate or relax blood vessels and that no one drug is consistently effective in all patients.

Because individual reactions vary, different drugs have to be tried before chronic or long-term treatment begins.

During the course of the disease, the amount and type of medicine also may have to be changed.

To find out which medicine works best for a particular patient, doctors evaluate the drugs during cardiac catheterization.
  • At present, about one-quarter of patients can be treated with calcium channel-blocking drugs given orally.
  • Intravenous prostacyclin is a vasodilator. It helps patients who don't respond to treatment with calcium channel blockers given by mouth. It's continuously delivered by a portable, battery-operated infusion pump. Despite this complexity, prostacyclin improves pulmonary hypertension and permits increased physical activity. This improves the quality of life for patients of all ages. Prostacyclin is sometimes used as a bridge to help patients waiting for a transplant. In other cases it's used for long-term treatment.

Besides oral calcium channel blockers and chronic intravenous prostacyclin, clinical trials are under way to evaluate new drugs to improve the treatment of PPH.
Some patients also do well by taking medicines that make the right ventricle's work easier.
  • Anticoagulants, for example, can decrease the tendency of the blood to clot, thus permitting the blood to flow more freely.
  • Diuretics reduce the amount of fluid in the body, further reducing the amount of work the heart has to do.
  • Some patients also require supplemental oxygen delivered through nasal prongs or a mask if breathing becomes difficult. Some need oxygen around the clock.

Transplantation (heart-lung or lung) is reserved for patients who don't respond to medical therapy. The decision whether a patient requires heart-lung transplantation or lung transplantation is made after a thorough evaluation at a lung transplantation center.

What are the long-term prospects for patients with primary pulmonary hypertension?
Despite the complexity of some of the various medical therapies, accurate, early diagnosis and initiation of treatment have saved the lives of many patients with PPH.

With optimal medical and/or surgical therapy, patients can often return to a virtually normal lifestyle, including running a household, returning to school and participating in many physical activities.
Most doctors and patients agree that it's very important for both patients and families to be as informed as possible.

This lets everyone understand the illness and apply the information to what is happening. In addition to family and close friends, support groups can help PPH patients.
read more "Primary Pulmonary Hypertension-Treatment"

Primary Pulmonary Hypertension-causes & symptoms

What causes primary pulmonary hypertension?
We don't know the cause; there may be one or more causes.

The low incidence makes learning more about the disease extremely difficult.

Studies of PPH also have been difficult because a good animal model of the disease hasn't been available.

We think that in most people who develop primary pulmonary hypertension, the blood vessels are very sensitive to certain factors that trigger this disease to develop.
  • For example, people with Raynaud's syndrome seem more likely than others to develop PPH.
  • In addition, appetite suppressants, cocaine and HIV are some factors believed to trigger the constriction, or narrowing, of the pulmonary artery.

What are the symptoms of primary pulmonary hypertension?
  • The first symptom is often fatigue or tiredness. Many patients think that they're simply "out of shape."
  • Difficulty in breathing, dizziness and even fainting spells can occur.
  • Swelling in the ankles or legs, bluish discoloration of the lips and skin, and chest pain more often occur later in the disease.
One of the great difficulties in treating PPH is that the diagnosis is often delayed due to the slowly progressive and insidious onset of the symptoms.

How is a patient with primary pulmonary hypertension evaluated?
Significant advances in PPH therapy over the past decade have markedly affected the survival and quality of life for people with this disease.
The optimal medical and/or surgical treatment for patients with PPH depends upon a thorough evaluation at a medical center with expertise in pulmonary hypertension.
The evaluation includes a right heart cardiac catheterization.

In this procedure the doctor places a thin, flexible tube (a catheter) through an artery or vein in the patient's arm, leg or neck, then threads it into the right ventricle and pulmonary artery.

This is the only way to measure the pressure in the pulmonary artery and find out what medical therapy is appropriate for a given patient.
read more "Primary Pulmonary Hypertension-causes & symptoms"

Primary or Unexplained Pulmonary Hypertension

AHA Recommendation
There is extremely wide variability in the severity of pulmonary hypertension among various patients.

Evaluating, accurately diagnosing and treating the condition is also very complex.

For these reasons, patients with symptoms that suggest pulmonary hypertension require thorough evaluation at a medical center with expertise and experience in pulmonary hypertension.

What is primary pulmonary hypertension (or unexplained pulmonary hypertension)?
Primary or unexplained pulmonary hypertension (PPH) is a rare lung disorder in which the blood pressure in the pulmonary artery rises far above normal levels for no apparent reason.

The pulmonary artery is a blood vessel carrying oxygen-poor blood from the right ventricle (one of the heart's pumping chambers) to the lungs.

In the lungs, the blood picks up oxygen, then flows to the heart's left side, where the left ventricle pumps it to the rest of the body through the aorta.
Hypertension is a medical term for abnormally high blood pressure. Normal average (also called "mean") pulmonary artery pressure is about 14 mm Hg at rest.
In patients with PPH, the average blood pressure in the pulmonary artery is greater than 25 mm Hg at rest and greater than 30 mm Hg during exercise.

This abnormally high pressure (pulmonary hypertension) is linked with changes in the small blood vessels in the lungs.

These changes increase resistance to blood flowing through the vessels.

This increased resistance puts a strain on the right ventricle, which now must work harder than usual to move enough blood through the lungs.
  • In the United States, an estimated 500 to 1,000 new cases of primary pulmonary hypertension are diagnosed each year.

  • The greatest number is reported in women between ages 20 and 40. However, men and women in all age ranges — as well as very young children — can develop PPH.
read more "Primary or Unexplained Pulmonary Hypertension"

Friday, August 31, 2007

Hair Removal Information & Techniques

For decades now, women have been removing unwanted body hair, using different techniques. Not only does it add to the woman's beauty but it is better for her personal hygiene as well. Today getting rid of unwanted hair has become easier than ever. There are a number of easy techniques that you can use at home or you can visit a beauty parlor for professional treatment. Given below in some information about the different techniques that are available today.

  • Shaving: Shaving is a popular technique as it can be done at short notice and gives you instant results without much effort. Most women still continue to shave inspite of alternate techniques being available. This method is quick and cheap, though the hair grows back rapidly and when the hair grows back it is very coarse. You should soften the hair by washing the area with warm soapy water. Use light gentle strokes in the direction of the hair growth, to remove the hair. After you finish moisturize the skin. There are different kinds of razors, electrical, disposable, with twin blades and moisturizing strips. Choose one that suits you the best.
  • Hair Removal Creams: These creams are manufactured in such a way that they dissolve the hair. These creams have an ingredient called keratolytic that will damage the skin if it is left on for a long time. Use a patch test the first time you are using a cream. But there is no doubt that they make the skin hair free, smooth and soft.
  • Waxing: Though this method is a little painful, it is good to remove hair from the arms, legs and bikini line. Hair re-growth after waxing is slow and may take as much as two months. It is best to do a patch test for waxing as well. For best results one should continue waxing on a regular basis. Hair is removed from its root and when it re-grows it is finer. The problem with waxing is that the hair has to grow a little for waxing to be efficient. It helps to dust a little talcum powder on the area before waxing.
  • Sugaring: This technique is similar to waxing. Here the removal solution is warmed and then applied on the area required with the help of a palette knife. The solution is applied in the direction of the hair growth. Then a cotton strip is used to cover the solution and torn away in the opposite direction and thus the hair is removed. Hair re-growth takes about six to eight weeks and it is fine.
  • Electrolysis: This is a salon treatment and is expensive, but last longer and could be permanent as well. This requires a series of sittings if the results are to be good. A fine needle passes a very low electrical current into the hair follicle. After a session there will be slight swelling, redness and scarring which will take a few days to disappear.
  • Laser treatment: This is another salon-based treatment that is expensive too. You need a few sessions for good results. Black activating lotion is applied over the area, to enable the hair follicle to absorb the laser energy. In this technique the best results are got from people with thick body hair.
read more "Hair Removal Information & Techniques"

Pleural Mesothelioma

Malignant pleural mesotheliomaPleural Mesothelioma as compared to a healthy lung. is the most common type of mesothelioma, making up over two-thirds of all cases. Pleural mesothelioma affects the lining of the lung and chest cavity known as the pleura.

The pleura is made up of the parietal and visceral pleura. The parietal pleura lines the chest wall and diaphragm while the visceral pleura lines the lungs.

Asbestos fibers work their way into the smallest passageways of the lungs and then into the pleura. Once there, an unknown chemical reaction causes cancerous cell development. As the cells begin to divide abnormally, the pleural lining thickens and excess fluid may accumulate. Pleural thickening gradually contracts the breathing space, causing shortness of breath—often the first symptom for pleural mesothelioma. The fluid, once carefully measured to allow smooth movement between the lungs and other organs, now causes increased pressure, further hindering breathing. This excess fluid is often seen on X-rays, and is referred to as a pleural effusion.

Pleural mesothelioma, like all kinds of mesothelioma, can be difficult to diagnose or easily misdiagnosed. If you are aware of prior asbestos exposure, it is important to inform your physician so that mesothelioma symptoms can be correctly identified.

While a diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma is certainly serious, it is not without options. A variety of new and novel mesothelioma treatments are available, as are a variety of clinical trials.

How does asbestos cause asbestosis?

Asbestos fibers inhaled into the lungs become imbedded in the delicate lining of the lungs. The fibers are so small and thin that they are able to beat the body's natural defenses. They accumulate in the lower portion of the lungs, becoming lodged into narrow airways. This causes scarring and inflammation, leading to a chronic cough and chest pain, the first symptoms of Asbestosis.

Asbestos, cancer, and smoking

While smoking increases your risk for a variety of other cancers, it does not by itself create a predisposition for pleural mesothelioma. In conjunction with asbestos exposure, however, smoking does increase the risk of developing pleural mesothelioma. The combination of smoking and asbestos exposure also increases the risk of developing lung cancer, as does prolonged exposure to asbestos.
read more "Pleural Mesothelioma"

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Information

Peritoneal Mesothelioma -Cancer of the Stomach Lining

Peritoneum mesothelioma or Peritoneal mesothelioma is mesothelioma cancer in the lining that surrounds the abdomen (stomach).

Diffuse malignant peritoneal mesothelioma is mesothelioma cancer in the lining that surrounds the abdomen (stomach).
Diffuse means that is the cancer is spread out.

Peritoneal or Peritoneum is a smooth membrane, which lines the cavity of the abdomen (stomach).
It helps to protect the contents of the abdomen. It also produces a lubricating fluid.
This helps the organs to move smoothly inside the abdomen as we move around.

Peritoneal mesothelioma accounts for approximately 10% of mesothelioma cases.

Symptoms of Peritoneal Mesothelioma

When the symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma appear, they typically include abdominal pains,abdominal weakness, weight loss, loss of appetite, nausea, and abdominal swelling.

Fluid often accumulates in the peritoneal space, a condition known as ascites. Over time the wasting symptoms can become more and more severe.

The growing peritoneal mesothelioma tumor can exert increasing pressure on the organs in the abdomen, leading to bowel obstruction and distention.

If the peritoneal mesothelioma tumor presses upward, it can impair breathing capacity.

If the peritoneal mesothelioma tumor pushes against areas with many nerve fibers, and the bowel distends, the amount of pain can increase.
read more "Peritoneal Mesothelioma Information"

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Truth About LASIK Risks

While LASIK outcomes are overwhelmingly favorable, remember that there is still that fraction of less than 1% of people who do experience sometimes serious and ongoing vision problems following LASIK.

These are likely the people who operate anti-LASIK web sites filled with chilling warnings regarding dangers of the procedure, with nothing positive ever said.

You should rationally consider what unhappy LASIK patients have to say in light of your own needs and the fact that it is absolutely true that no surgical procedure is ever risk-free.

A very small number of LASIK patients with excellent vision based on eye chart testing still can have bothersome side effects.

For example, it is rare but possible that a patient may see 20/20 or better with uncorrected vision while at the same time having symptoms such as double vision (diplopia), unresolved dry eye, or difficulty seeing at night because of glare or halos around lights.

When you sign the LASIK consent form provided by your eye surgeon, you should do so with a full understanding that, even in the best of circumstances, there is a slight chance that something unintended could occur.

Even so, most problems eventually can be resolved
read more "The Truth About LASIK Risks"

LASIK Complication Rates Are Decreasing

Complications generally were more common in the early years of LASIK, when studies in the late 1990s indicated that up to 5% of people undergoing the procedure experienced some type of problem.

Experienced LASIK surgeons now report in trade journals that serious complication rates can be held well below 1%, but only if surgical candidates are selected very carefully.

You may be eliminated as a LASIK candidate, for example, if you have certain conditions such as pregnancy or diabetes that affect how well your eye heals.

Any health condition you have that might hamper your ability to heal should be mentioned and discussed in detail with your eye surgeon.

Large pupil sizes also might be risk factors for LASIK complications, because pupils in dark conditions could expand beyond the area of the eye that was treated.

Again, make sure you discuss any concerns about these or other matters with your eye surgeon.
[See a list of conditions that might contribute to adverse LASIK outcomes, or try taking our LASIK screening quiz.]
read more "LASIK Complication Rates Are Decreasing"

How Common Are LASIK Complications?

Public confidence in the LASIK procedure has grown in recent years because of a solid success rate involving millions of successful procedures in the United States.

With increasingly sophisticated technology used for the procedure, most LASIK outcomes these days are very favorable.

The U.S. military also has adopted widespread use of refractive surgery including LASIK to decrease reliance of troops on artificial lenses or eyewear as evidenced by the more than 16,000 U.S. Army personnel who underwent refractive surgery from 2000 through 2003.

Studies of these outcomes showed that 86% achieved 20/20 or better uncorrected vision and 98% achieved 20/40 or better, which legally is considered good enough for driving without eyewear or contact lenses.

"Reports of night vision difficulties, LASIK flap dislocation, and dry eye are infrequent, and do not seem to have a significant negative impact on military operations or individual readiness," researchers who studied these outcomes concluded in the February 2005 issue of Ophthalmology journal.
read more "How Common Are LASIK Complications?"

Lasik risks

If you are considering LASIK and worried that something could go wrong, you might take comfort in knowing that it's extremely rare for complications from this procedure to cause permanent, significant vision loss.

Also, many complications can be resolved through re-treatment or enhancements of the eye.

Selecting the right eye surgeon probably is the single most important step you can take to decrease any risks associated with LASIK.

An experienced, reputable surgeon will make sure you are properly screened to let you know up front if you aren't a good candidate for LASIK eye surgery.

Even if you are not qualified for LASIK, you might still be able to undergo vision correction through other means such as PRK, LASEK, or implantable lenses (phakic IOLs).

If you do decide to undergo LASIK, a responsible eye surgeon will work closely with you to resolve problems if they do develop
read more "Lasik risks"

Friday, August 17, 2007


This is an outpatient procedure that usually takes 5-10 minutes per eye.
The actual laser treatment usually takes a few seconds.
First you will lie on the motorized bed. The eyes are anesthetized with eye drops only. The head is positioned under the laser. A soft clip keeps the eyelids gently and comfortably open during the treatment.
You will be asked to look at a soothing green blinking light during the entire procedure.

During the treatment, an instrument called the microkeratome creates a corneal flap to make it a painless procedure.
The computerized Excimer laser uses a beam of light to gently reshape the cornea so as to alter its curvature to the desired extent.
The flap when replaced on the new corneal curvature allows images to be sharply focused on the retina. The goal is to eliminate or greatly reduce the dependence on glasses or contact lenses.

Once the procedure is completed, a soft contact lens or shield is sometimes placed on the eye. A post - procedure eye examination is performed and eye drops are prescribed. There may be mild discomfort for a few hours after the procedure.

Principles Of LASIK

Light falling on the cornea [the front surface of the eye] has a smooth curvature- referred to as a "wavefront".

As this smooth wavefront shape courses through the various optics of the eye, ocular aberrations [imperfections] are induced.

It results in an irregular wavefront curvature reaching the retinal surface, which degrades the retinal image quality.

An aberration-free eye would result in a smooth wavefront image on the retinal surface. Wavefront-guided customized LASIK, also referred to as "customized ablation" or custom LASIK performs corrections based on individual wavefront measurements.

Current refractive procedures such as traditional or standard LASIK correct lower order aberrations such as spherical and cylindrical numbers alone.

However, higher order aberrations affect the quality of vision and may not significantly affect the vision as read on the chart.

It is these subtle deviations from the ideal optical system, which can be corrected by wavefront procedures, and thereby improve image quality.
read more "Principles Of LASIK"


Some of the common reasons why people undergo LASIK or get rid of their spectacles and contact lenses are : lens intolerance
2.cosmetic reasons
3. social (marriage)
4.tired of wearing glasses
5. lifestyle activities that are inhibited due to glasses or lens wear such as outdoor sports like golf, football, water sports or hiking.
In some careers such as Merchant Navy and Airways it is a requirement to have 20/20 or 6/6 vision.
LASIK helps tremendously here.

Spectacles are cosmetically unappealing for some. There is a degree of distortion when looking through the periphery of the glasses, the field of vision is reduced and on leaving a cold room moisture can fog the glasses and blur vision for a few minutes. Hence glasses are unacceptable for certain careers. Contact lenses require motivation with great attention to hygiene during insertion and removal, failing which sight - threatening infections may result.
LASIK overcomes all these disadvantages.

Spectacles are cosmetically unappealing for some. There is a degree of distortion when looking through the periphery of the glasses, the field of vision is reduced and on leaving a cold room moisture can fog the glasses and blur vision for a few minutes. Hence glasses are unacceptable for certain careers. Contact lenses require motivation with great attention to hygiene during insertion and removal, failing which sight - threatening infections may result.
LASIK overcomes all these disadvantages.

What is LASIK?

By learning more about Lasik eye surgery and Custom LASIK surgey, you are taking the first important step towards achieving improved, normal, natural vision.
Most people who wear glasses and contact lenses wish that they did not have to.
Now, thanks to advanced laser eye surgery, there is an alternative to reduce your dependence on glasses or contact lenses, or possibly eliminate them completely.
LASIK surgery and Custom LASIK transformed peoples' lives. The ability to see better without the hassles of contact lenses or glasses has inspired patients to explore new opportunities in their personal lives, in their workplace and recreational activities.
LASIK patients have freed themselves from the many restrictions glasses or contact lenses can create and thus can enjoy this new found freedom with improved vision.
LASIK eye surgery and Custom Lasik are not for everyone.
You should make a well informed decision when choosing this treatment.
A LASIK surgeon can help you decide if LASIK or Custom Lasik is right for you.
If you decide that LASK Eye Surgery or Custom Lasik is right for you, you will join more than 4 million people in the United states who are already enjoying the benefits of LASIK Laser Eye Surgery, and we are confident that you will realize that LASIK Eye Surgery is truly a gift of sight.
read more "What is LASIK?"

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Surgical treatment of hernia.

What is laparoscopic hernia repair?

A number of factors have led to the recent development of a new method of repair called laparoscopic hernia repair. This technique is really an extension of a traditional mesh repair method (preperitoneal repair) that was usually used in patients who had already experienced several hernia recurrences at the same site. Previously, this mesh repair approach had required a separate incision somewhat removed from the target area. However, with the progressive development of the instruments and techniques for laparoscopic surgery, the same procedure can now be done with several relatively small incisions. This allows the surgeon to enter the space behind the hernia defect and place the mesh with minimal injury to the surface of the abdomen. The apparent advantages of this method include coverage of all the potential sites of groin hernia, which reduces the risks of recurrence while also decreasing the amount of post-surgical pain.
The potential disadvantages of the technique are: (1) a general anesthetic is required; (2) the risk of injury to blood vessels in the abdomen is increased; and (3) the long-term effects of placement of the mesh in this location remain unknown.
What about the use of a laser in hernia repair?

This is a relatively common question. It arises because, for a time, there were some surgeons marketing "Laser Hernia Repair." While a laser may have been used to make the incision and to separate the tissues, the laser really has no application in the repair of a hernia. It is impossible to perform the necessary structural repair with a laser, which is essentially a cutting tool. Hopes that somehow an incision made with a laser would significantly reduce pain have not been confirmed. This is probably because no matter how the incision is made, the majority of the post surgical pain arises from the deeper structures that require suturing.
read more "Surgical treatment of hernia."

Monday, August 13, 2007

Investigations & Treatment

If you have an obvious hernia, the doctor will not require any other tests (if you are healthy otherwise). If you have symptoms of a hernia (dull ache in groin or other body area with lifting or straining but without an obvious lump), the doctor may feel the area while increasing abdominal pressure (having you stand or cough). This action may make the hernia able to be felt. If you may have an indirect inguinal hernia, the doctor will feel for the potential pathway and look for a hernia by inverting the skin of the scrotum with his or her finger.

*Hernia Treatment-

Self care at home-
In general, all hernias should be repaired unless severe pre-existing medical conditions make surgery unsafe. The possible exception to this is a hernia with a large opening and a relatively small sac. Trusses and surgical belts or bindings may be helpful in holding back the protrusion of selected hernias when surgery is not possible or delayed. However, they should never be used in the case of femoral hernias.
Avoid activities that increase intra-abdominal pressure (lifting, coughing, or straining) that may cause the hernia to increase in size.

Medical Treatment

Treatment of a hernia depends on whether it is reducible or irreducible and possibly strangulated.
  • Reducible
    • In general, all hernias should be repaired to avoid the possibility of future intestinal strangulation.
    • If you have pre-existing medical conditions that would make surgery unsafe, your doctor may not repair your hernia but will watch it closely.
    • Rarely, your doctor may advise against surgery because of the special condition of your hernia.
      • Some hernias have or develop very large openings in the abdominal wall, and closing the opening is not possible because of its large size.
      • These kinds of hernias may be treated without surgery, perhaps using abdominal binders.
      • Some doctors feel that the hernias with large openings have a very low risk of strangulation and that surgery is not needed if you are relatively symptom free.

    • The treatment of every hernia is individualized, and a discussion of the risks and benefits of surgical versus nonsurgical management needs to take place.
  • Irreducible
    • All acutely irreducible hernias need emergency treatment because of the risk of strangulation.
    • An attempt to reduce (push back) the hernia will generally be made, often with medicine for pain and muscle relaxation.
    • If unsuccessful, emergency surgery is needed.
    • If successful, however, treatment depends on the length of the time that the hernia was irreducible.
      • If the intestinal contents of the hernia had the blood supply cut off, dead (gangrenous) bowel is possible in as little as 6 hours.
      • In cases where the hernia has been strangulated for an extended time, surgery is performed to check whether the intestine has died and repair the hernia.
      • In cases where the length of time that the hernia was irreducible was short and gangrenous bowel is not suspected, you may be discharged.

    • Because a hernia that becomes irreducible has a dramatically increased risk of doing so again, if you have had an irreducible hernia, you should have surgery sooner rather than later.
    • Occasionally, the long-term irreducible hernia is not a surgical emergency. These hernias, having passed the test of time without signs of strangulation, may be repaired electively.
read more "Investigations & Treatment"

Hernia Causes & Symptoms


Although one type of abdominal hernia can be present at birth (umbilical hernia), the others happen later in life. Some involve pathways formed during fetal development, existing openings in the abdominal cavity, or areas of abdominal wall weakness.
  • Any condition that increases the pressure of the abdominal cavity may contribute to the formation or worsening of a hernia.
    • Obesity
    • Heavy lifting
    • Coughing
    • Straining during a bowel movement or urination
    • Chronic lung disease
    • Fluid in the abdominal cavity
  • A family history of hernias can make you more likely to develop a hernia.
The signs and symptoms of a hernia can range from noticing a painless lump to the painful, tender, swollen protrusion of tissue that you are unable to push back into the abdomen—possibly a strangulated hernia.
  • Asymptomatic reducible hernia
    • New lump in the groin or other abdominal wall area
    • May ache but is not tender when touched
    • Sometimes pain precedes the discovery of the lump
    • Lump increases in size when standing or when abdominal pressure is increased (such as coughing)
    • May be reduced (pushed back into the abdomen) unless very large
  • Irreducible hernia
    • Usually painful enlargement of a previous hernia that cannot be returned into the abdominal cavity on its own or when you push it
    • Some may be long term without pain
    • Also known as incarcerated hernia
    • Can lead to strangulation
    • Signs and symptoms of bowel obstruction may occur, such as nausea and vomiting
  • Strangulated hernia
    • Irreducible hernia where the entrapped intestine has its blood supply cut off
    • Pain always present followed quickly by tenderness and sometimes symptoms of bowel obstruction (nausea and vomiting)
    • You may appear ill with or without fever
    • Surgical emergency
    • All strangulated hernias are irreducible (but all irreducible hernias are not strangulated)
read more "Hernia Causes & Symptoms"

Hernia Overview

A hernia occurs when the contents of a body cavity bulge out of the area where they are normally contained. These contents, usually portions of intestine or abdominal fatty tissue, are often enclosed in the thin membrane that naturally lines the inside of the cavity. Although the term hernia can be used for bulges in other areas, it most often is used to describe hernias of the lower torso (abdominal wall hernias).
Hernias by themselves usually are harmless, but nearly all have a potential risk of having their blood supply cut off (becoming strangulated). If the hernia sac contents have their blood supply cut off at the hernia opening in the abdominal wall, it becomes a medical and surgical emergency.
Different types of abdominal wall hernias include the following:
  • Inguinal hernia: Making up 75% of all abdominal wall hernias and occurring up to 25 times more often in men than women, these hernias are divided into 2 different types, direct and indirect. Both occur in the area of where the skin crease at the top of the thigh joins the torso (the inguinal crease), but they have slightly different origins. Both of these types of hernias can similarly appear as a bulge in the inguinal crease. Distinguishing between the direct and indirect hernia, however, is not that important because both are treated the same.
    • Indirect inguinal hernia: An indirect hernia follows the pathway that the testicles made during prebirth development. It descends from the abdomen into the scrotum. This pathway normally closes before birth but remains a possible place for a hernia. Sometimes the hernial sac may protrude into the scrotum. An indirect inguinal hernia may occur at any age but becomes more common as people age.
    • Direct inguinal hernia: The direct inguinal hernia occurs slightly to the inside of the site of the indirect hernia, in a place where the abdominal wall is naturally slightly thinner. It rarely will protrude into the scrotum. Unlike the indirect hernia, which can occur at any age, the direct hernia almost always occurs in the middle-aged and elderly because their abdominal walls weaken as they age.
  • Femoral hernia: The femoral canal is the way that the femoral artery, vein, and nerve leave the abdominal cavity to enter the thigh. Although normally a tight space, sometimes it becomes large enough to allow abdominal contents (usually intestine) into the canal. A femoral hernia causes a bulge below the inguinal crease in roughly the middle of the thigh. Rare and usually occurring in women, femoral hernias are particularly at risk of becoming irreducible and strangulated.
  • Umbilical hernia: These common hernias (10-30%) are often noted at birth as a protrusion at the bellybutton (the umbilicus). This is caused when an opening in the abdominal wall, which normally closes before birth, doesn’t close completely. If small (less than three quarters of an inch) this type of hernia usually closes gradually by age 2. Larger hernias and those that do not close by themselves usually require surgery at age 2-4 years. Even if the area is closed at birth, umbilical hernias can appear later in life because this spot remains a weaker place in the abdominal wall. Umbilical hernias most often appear later in elderly people and middle-aged women who have had children.
  • Incisional hernia: Abdominal surgery causes a flaw in the abdominal wall that must heal on its own. This flaw can create an area of weakness where a hernia may develop. This occurs after 2-10% of all abdominal surgeries, although some people are more at risk. After surgical repair, incisional hernias have a high rate of returning (20-45%).
  • Spigelian hernia: This rare hernia occurs along the edge of the rectus abdominus muscle, which is several inches to the side of the middle of the abdomen.
  • Obturator hernia: This extremely rare abdominal hernia happens mostly in women. This hernia protrudes from the pelvic cavity through an opening in your pelvic bone (obturator foramen). This will not show any bulge but can act like a bowel obstruction and cause nausea and vomiting.
  • Epigastric hernia: Occurring between the navel and the lower part of the rib cage in the midline of the abdomen, epigastric hernias are composed usually of fatty tissue and rarely contain intestine. Formed in an area of relative weakness of the abdominal wall, these hernias are often painless and unable to be pushed back into the abdomen when first discovered.
read more "Hernia Overview"

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Select a Mesothelioma Attorney

Questions to ask when selecting a mesothelioma attorney.

These pages provide consumer tips for how to deal with the financial aspects of selecting a mesothelioma attorney. They do not provide any information regarding the medical aspects of this serious disease.

Since so much is at stake, selecting the right mesothelioma lawyer is very important. According the Wall Street Journal, lawyers say a typical mesothelioma award in a mesothelioma settlement is $1 million, and attorneys get 40% of this amount. If the case actually goes to trial, the average award was $6 million in 2001, which was triple the amount awarded just two years earlier.

So, mesothelioma attorneys are very eager to find mesothelioma patients. And it's vital that patients select the mesothelioma attorneys that are best for them.

A Brief Background on Your Legal Rights Regarding Mesothelioma-
Companies that manufacture products that contain asbestos have known for over 60 years that asbestos can cause serious diseases.

Unfortunately, because many of these companies wanted to increase their profits, they kept this information quiet, thereby seriously endangering their workers.

There are now laws that help protect the workers who have been harmed by their exposure to these asbestos-related products.

However, since representing mesothelioma can be so profitable to attorneys, it is important that people who have mesothelioma be especially careful selecting attorneys who are really qualified to represent them.

Important Questions to Ask When Selecting a Mesothelioma Attorney

Question #1 to Ask When Selecting a Mesothelioma Attorney:

What is your personal experience in representing mesothelioma patients? Your goal is to find out how many cases the attorney has actually handled.

You also want to know: how many of these were settled, and how many of these went to trial? What were the results of each case?

You should ask the same questions about his or her law firm. You're goal is to find out about the firm -- is this an area the firm specializes in?

Question #2 to Ask When Selecting a Mesothelioma Attorney:

Next, you want to ask if the lawyer intends to actually handle your case him or herself. Many attorneys simply refer these cases to another law firm and receive part of the fee in exchange. This may not be in your best interest.
read more "Select a Mesothelioma Attorney"

Mesothelioma latest research

Mesothelioma Research 1

According to Science Daily, an online resource for latest research news, mesothelioma patients who got treated by a combination of 2 drugs had an improved chance of surviving. Their survival rate increased by a minimum of 3 months. The two drugs used for the treatment were PEMETREXED and CISPLATIN. The clinical trials were done on 448 mesotheliomic patients.

About 80% of the mesotheliomic patients were men with an average age of 61 years. Some patients received only cisplatin whereas some patients received a combination of pemetrexed, cisplatin, vitamin supplements, folic acid and B12. Not only did their life span increase by three months but also the patients felt less tired, had improved appetite, experienced less pain and had smaller coughing spells. The clinical trial and research was done at the Clatterbridge Center for Oncology in England.
Mesothelioma Research 2

A research published in The New England Journal of Medicine says that researchers in New York University School of Medicine and Wayne State University have discovered a molecular particle that shows the beginnings of pleural mesothelioma. The blood levels of a protein called OSTEOPONTIN rises significantly in patients with early stages of pleural mesothelioma.

This is a breakthrough discovery as it may lead to the development of a blood diagnostic test which can detect the disease pleural mesothelioma in its earliest stages. Currently the patient has to wait for mesothelioma to become a full blown case before it is properly diagnosed. Although it is incurable, the detection of pleural mesothelioma in its earliest stages, will lead to swifter treatment options with the patient having a longer survival rate and a reduced pain free life.
Mesothelioma Research 3

A study conducted by a team of researchers at University of Cincinnati have found that all those workers who used were employed at a Ohio manufacturing plant in Marysville and were exposed to vermiculite ore had abnormally high rates of chest wall lining disfigurement.

Vermiculite ore is known to contain asbestos fibers and exposure to it means that previous workers have a high chance of developing asbestosis, lung diseases and mesothelioma. Because of mesothelioma’s long latency period, researchers will not know about the development of mesothelioma in these people till the next 30-50 years.
read more "Mesothelioma latest research"

Mesothelioma survival rate

Because mesothelioma is so hard to detect, and can easily seem to be just an upset stomach or other minor issue, it is often the case that by the time you realize you have mesothelioma, it is too late to do anything about it. The only reason you realize that you have a cancer in your chest cavity is that something truly awful has gone wrong, and you are on the final stages.

The average person who finally finds a doctor to determine they have mesothelioma often has less than a year left to live at that point - even with the best treatment. The current 5 year survival rate is between 7%-20% depending on which study you read. Again, this is not necessarily because mesothelioma is "nastier" than other forms of cancer - it is more that it is so hard to detect. It festers away in the core of your chest for years and years, causing damage but not being noticed.

In fact, on a webpage for a drug being tested for mesothelioma patients, the drug makers claim with pride, "Some of the patients survived two years after the study which is very unusual for mesothelioma." It is a pretty harsh disease, when helping you make it to 2 years is a great victory.
Part of the problem with helping patients survive is that there are so few known people with mesothelioma - and they die so quickly after being discovered. There aren't a lot of people to do clinical trials on, to figure out what works and what doesn't work.

There are hundreds of thousands of people who HAVE mesothelioma right now, according to most doctors. But all of those sick people do not realize yet that they have it. They typically only really know they have mesothelioma right before they die. So by then it is often impossible to do any real tests to see what might have helped them, if it had been caught earlier.
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Alternative methods for mesothelioma

Alternative methods for mesothelioma cure include the following.

-- Acupuncture
-- Herbs
-- Massage
-- Homoeopathy
-- Visual / Guided Imagery
-- Yoga
-- Meditation
-- Breathing techniques
-- Specialized diet
-- Spiritual Healing

Acupuncture Treatment for Mesothelioma
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese remedy used for curing many ailments. Sterile acupuncture needles are placed on specific energy points on the skin to release positive energy to diseased parts of the body, helping restore a perfect balance in the body. It is a technique that is very helpful in relieving pain associated with mesothelioma.

Herbs Used for Treating Mesothelioma
As with acupuncture, treatment with herbs too has its origins in China. Traditional Chinese doctors have an assortment of herbs that will cure / reduce the intensity of various ailments. These herbs are used in addition to conventional mesothelioma treatment.

Massage for Mesothelioma
Massages are known to increase blood circulation and relieve body stress. Massages are not used for curing mesothelioma, but for stress and pain relief during / after conventional treatments used to cure mesothelioma.

Meditation for Mesothelioma
Meditation techniques are centuries old and practiced worldwide for various spiritual reasons. It is one of the best ways known to relax the mind and body. If done with proper guidance it can destress the mesothelioma patient and help control pain. Meditation is also claimed to strengthen the immune system. The advantages of meditation are many. Meditation can be performed by the patient in the comforting confines of home. At a time when alternative therapies cost a lot monetarily, meditation once learned will not cost anything. Unlike most medication, meditation does not have any negative side-effects.

Don't Stop Conventional Mesothelioma Treatment
Many of those practicing alternative mesothelioma treatments will make you believe that they can cure you of the dreaded cancer without the need for conventional treatment. Most of these claims are not true and could end in disaster, since time is of essence in any mesothelioma treatment.

Even though not proven scientifically (which will never happen), many alternative treatments (most of which are based on spirituality) have proved to be beneficial when combined with conventional treatment. Whenever you decide to opt for an alternative treatment, try to locate and speak to someone who has undergone the specific treatment. Also speak to the physician / surgeon treating you and let them know of your alternative treatment choice.

As of today, mesothelioma is not curable using conventional methods such as surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or combination therapy. Keeping this fact in mind, and also the fact that most alternative treatments for mesothelioma do not have any negative side-effects, it is a good option to combine conventional treatment with an alternative treatment to help fight mesothelioma.

Alternative treatments for mesothelioma could cost a lot. Before opting for a particular type of alternative treatment, find out if insurance will cover this treatment. If it does, good. If not, go in for alternative treatments such as meditation, yoga, or specialized breathing techniques that once learned will help you get better, at the same time not burden you financially.
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Asbestos and Mesothelioma

Asbestos and Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer caused by an exposure to asbestos. When asbestos fibers Danger%3A Asbestos are inhaled, they attack the wall lining the inside of the abdomen, heart or lungs, which leads to mesothelioma.

Symptoms can take decades to surface, so those affected often do not receive the proper mesothelioma diagnosis until the cancer is far advanced.

Mesothelioma lawyers have helped prove that many companies knowingly put their employees at risk for mesothelioma by allowing them to work in environments with a high risk of asbestos exposure.
Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos was most commonly used from the 1940s to the 1970s. During this time, more than 27 million Americans were exposed to the cancer-causing asbestos without even knowing of the link between asbestos and mesothelioma. Recent mesothelioma lawsuits have helped hold companies accountable for failing to warn employees of this link.

mesothelioma mortality

Those between the ages of 50 and 70 are most commonly diagnosed with mesothelioma. Some mesothelioma treatment do exist, but there is no cure for this type of cancer. When mesothelioma is diagnosed early, these treatment options are more successful.

Doctors often struggle to make the correct diagnosis, as the symptoms of mesothelioma are shared with a number of other illnesses. When a patient is diagnosed, the survival rate range is from one to five years.

Mesothelioma lawyers in the United States file roughly 3,000 cases every year, making asbestos lawsuits the most expensive mass tort in the nation’s history.
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How to prevent Mesothelioma?

In terms of asbestos, mesothelioma prevention is extremely important to reduce the risks of this serious cancer . Mesothelioma is a fatal cancer that affects the lining of the heart, lung, or abdominal cavity. Mesothelioma has been almost exclusively linked to asbestos exposure, a group of hazardous fibers that were manufactured in hundreds of industries around the world. There are many ways that people to protect themselves against workplace or non-occupational exposure to asbestos in an effort to prevent mesothelioma.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has enacted a number of workplace asbestos regulations to aid in mesothelioma prevention. Under workplace asbestos laws , the permissible level of exposure is 01. fibers per cubic centimeter for an eight-hour work day and one fiber per cubic centimeter in any thirty minute time frame. Furthermore, workplace regulations to prevent asbestos exposure require employers to frequently monitor and regulate the work environment in addition to providing their employees with protective clothing and respiratory equipment, sufficient hygiene facilities, routine medical exams, and training .

The Environmental Protection Agency recommends a number of steps and precautions people can take to help protect themselves against non-occupational asbestos exposure that may lead to mesothelioma. These mesothelioma prevention methods include, but are not limited to: Regular inspection and monitoring of asbestos-containing products or materials around the home since asbestos was commonly used in the production of roof shingles, insulation, flooring, and more. Don't attempt to remove any asbestos-containing materials. It is vital that you enlist the help of an asbestos removal who is properly trained to handle the material and can ensure safe removal.

Avoid vacuuming, sweeping, drilling, sanding, or scraping any surfaces that may contain asbestos fibers. Once these fibers are airborne, they may be inhaled or ingested greatly increasing the risk of mesothelioma. Quit smoking, especially if you work in an industry in which you are frequently exposed to high levels of asbestos. Studies have indicated that asbestos workers who smoke cigarettes have a 50 to 100 times greater risk of dying from mesothelioma or lung cancer. If you or a loved one is suffering from mesothelioma side effects, it is vital that you seek immediate medical attention at the first sign of symptoms such as chest pains, shortness of breath, coughs, severe weight loss, and more . Early diagnosis of mesothelioma is the best form of prevention and can produce the most favorable outcome of the disease.
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Saturday, July 14, 2007


Which Surgery for Mesothelioma?
The possible operations for pleural mesothelioma are

* Extrapleural pneumonectomy
* Pleurectomy

Surgery is not suitable for everyone and won't cure your mesothelioma. The aim of the operation is to try and keep the disease under control and enable you to stay well for as long as possible. If you are having major surgery for mesothelioma, it should be as part of an overall treatment plan that includes radiotherapy and chemotherapy as well. From what we know from research so far, this is the best way to try to control mesothelioma for as long as possible.

Mesothelioma is often diagnosed too late to make a big operation worthwhile. If pleural mesothelioma is diagnosed early enough, you may be able to have an extrapleural pneumonectomy. If the cancer has already spread, a pleurectomy can help to control symptoms. But it will not cure your mesothelioma and may not actually make any difference to how long you live.

An operation can help some people who have peritoneal mesothelioma. This operation can only be done if it is diagnosed early enough.

There is more about what happens before and after surgery in this section of CancerHelp UK.

Extrapulmonary pneumectomy(EPP)

This is major surgery. It means removing the lung on the affected side. The pleura, diaphragm and covering of the heart (pericardium) are also removed.

EPP is not suitable for everyone with pleural mesothelioma. You need to be fit enough to walk up and down two flights of stairs without becoming breathless. Your cancer must be at an early stage. This means that is must not have spread to lymph nodes, or be growing into any other major body parts outside the lung.

To do the operation, your surgeon will open your chest, either at the front or at the side. An opening at the side is called a thoracotomy. An opening at the front is called a sternotomy. You will have a wound about 9 inches long. You will have to stay in hospital for about 2 weeks afterwards. It will take you about 6 to 8 weeks to fully recover.

This major surgery cannot cure your mesothelioma. But it can help you to live longer. The people who have lived longest after a diagnosis of mesothelioma have had this operation, together with chemotherapy or radiotherapy. You and your family need to understand that this is a very big operation and has risks. About 6 or 7 out of every 100 people who have this particular operation die during or just after the surgery.


You may be offered pleurectomy to help control symptoms. It can help to control fluid build up in the chest and relieve some chest pain. This is a major operation, but can be done using keyhole surgery. If you have keyhole surgery you will have 3 wounds, each about an inch long (2cm).

The surgeon will take away as much of the tumour as possible. This means removing the outside covering of the lung - the pleura - on one side on one side of the chest. You will have to stay in hospital for about 7 days afterwards. It will take you about 3 to 4 weeks to fully recover.

Surgery for peritoneal mesothelioma

Surgery is not possible for everyone with peritoneal mesothelioma. If surgery is possible, the operation is called a peritonectomy. This means removing the peritoneum (the lining of the abdomen). In recent years some doctors have been developing a technique known as cytoreductive surgery for peritoneal mesothelioma. Cytoreductive surgery involves the surgeon carrying out up to 6 different peritonectomy procedures, to remove as much of the cancer as possible. Then chemotherapy may be given straight into the peritoneal cavity. Some studies have suggested that this can work better if it is heated to a few degrees above body temperature first. This is called hyperthermic intraoperative intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIIC). Doctors have achieved some promising results using these techniques; in one review, about half of the patients who had been treated in this way were still alive 5 years after. But this is still very experimental treatment and, if it is available, may only be so as part of a clinical trial.
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Mesothelioma Symptoms and Diagnosis

The primary risk factor for developing mesothelioma is asbestos exposure. In the past, asbestos was used as a very effective type of insulation. The use of this material, however, has been declining since the link between asbestos and mesothelioma has become known. It is thought that when the fibers of asbestos are inhaled, some of them reach the ends of the small airways and penetrate into the pleural lining. There the fibers may directly harm mesothelial cells and eventually cause mesothelioma. If the fibers are swallowed, they can reach the abdominal cavity, where they can contribute to the formation of peritoneal mesothelioma.

Exposure to certain types of radiation as well as to a chemical related to asbestos known as zeolite has also been related to incidences of mesothelioma.

The early symptoms of mesothelioma are often ignored, because they may be caused by a variety of ailments. These symptoms include:

* pain in the lower back or at the side of the chest
* shortness of breath
* difficulty swallowing
* cough
* fever
* fatigue
* abdominal pain,weight loss and nasuea & vomiting(symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma)
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About Mesothelioma


Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer. In mesothelioma, malignant cells are found in the sac lining of the chest (the pleura) or the abdomen (the peritoneum). The majority of people with mesothelioma have a history of jobs that exposed them to asbestos,as insulation material.


In the chest and abdominal cavities, as well as in the cavity around the heart (pericardial sac), there is a layer of specialized cells called mesothelial cells. These cells also surround the outer surface of most internal organs. These cells form tissue called mesothelium.
The mesothelium performs a protective function for the internal organs by producing a lubricating fluid that permits the organs to move around. For example, this fluid makes it easier for the lungs to move inside the chest while a person breathes. The mesothelium of the abdomen is known as the peritoneum, and the mesothelium of the chest is called the pleura. The pericardium refers to the mesothelium of the pericardial cavity.
There are three primary types of malignant mesotheliomas:
  • Epithelioid. About 50% to 70% of mesotheliomas are of this type and have the best outlook for survival.
  • Sarcomatoid. Approximately 7% to 20% of cases are of this type.
  • Mixed/biphasic. From 20% to 35% of mesothelioma cases fall into this category.
Approximately three fourths of all mesotheliomas begin in the chest cavity and are known as pleural mesotheliomas. Peritoneal mesotheliomas begin in the abdomen, and make up around 10% to 20% of all cases. Mesotheliomas arising in the cavity around the heart are quite rare.

Mesothelioma is a fairly rare form of cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, there are an estimated 2, 000 to 3, 000 new cases per year of the disease in the United States, but this figure seems to be rising. This rising figure is related to the widespread use of asbestos from the 1940s to the end of the 1970s. European researchers studying the disease expect deaths from mesothelioma to peak around the year 2020 and then drop off, because asbestos use has been cut back greatly since the early 1980s.
The average age of a person with mesothelioma is 50 to 70 years old. It affects men three to five times more often than women and is less common in African-Americans than in Caucasian American
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