About Dr. Smitha Rame Gowda

Dr. Smitha Rame Gowda (M.Sc, PhD) is the head of Quality and Processes at Infolink Health Services Pvt. Ltd. A specialist in Human Genetics, she's also proficient in Molecular Biology and Diagnostics. Dr. Gowda has a professional experience of six years.

Understanding The Causes Of Tetanus – Why It Occurs

The bacteria named Clostridium tetani are the primary causes of tetanus. They are usually present in soil that is contaminated with animal feces and manure. These bacteria are found on rusted nails and also on the skin of individuals who work in agricultural fields. They do not cause infections in such environments, as these bacteria can grow only in places where there is no oxygen around them. Continue reading

All About The Tetanus Vaccine – It’s Success Rate And Side Effects

Tetanus is a globally widespread medical condition that can now be prevented through vaccination. The tetanus vaccine consists of the inactivated form of the toxin produced by the bacteria Clostridium tetani. It is capable of producing immunity by generating antibodies against the tetanus bacteria, without actually causing the disease. By taking multiple doses of the vaccine in the form of injections and taking a booster dose every 10 years, the tetanus disease can be prevented successfully. Continue reading

Tetanus Treatment Measures – Options For Effective Cure

Tetanus, also called lockjaw, is a medical condition usually caused by through a wound that has been infected by the Clostridium tetani bacteria. It attacks the nerves and the muscles of the body. As there are no specific tetanus treatment measures, it is best to employ preventive ones like getting the tetanus vaccine administered and undergoing proper treatment for cuts and wounds that could be prone to tetanus infection. Continue reading

Understanding Male Breast Cancer – Some Basics On The Disease

The  abnormal development of cells in the breast causes breast cancer. Male breast cancer is rare as compared to female breast cancer and accounts for less than 1% of all breast cancers worldwide. Breast cancer is found to develop in men when they are in their sixties and seventies.

male breast cancer

A lump in the breast is the most common sign of male breast cancer.

Types Of Male Breast Cancer

There are 5 different types of breast cancer in men. They are:

  1. Ductal Carcinoma In Situ – It is a form of cancer that develops in the lining of a duct.
  2. Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma – This form of cancer develops in the cells lining the ducts and it spreads to other parts of the breast. It is the most common type of breast cancer in men.
  3. Inflammatory Breast Cancer – In this type of cancer, the skin of the breast becomes red. The breast swells up and also becomes warmer than the normal.
  4. Paget’s Disease Of The Nipple – The tumor that develops in the ducts grows onto the nipple surface causing a condition called Paget’s disease of the nipple.
  5. Lobular Carcinoma In Situ – This is a rare form of breast cancer in men, where the cancer develops in the lobes or in the tissue of the breast.

Male Breast Cancer – The Risk Factors Involved

Here are some of the risk factors that cause male breast cancer.

  • About 5 to 10% of male breast cancer is genetically inherited. If any of the women in the family develops breast cancer and has an abnormal BRCA2 gene, then there is risk of a male from the succeeding generation inheriting breast cancer.
  • Men suffering from liver disease or genetic disorders like Klinefelter syndrome have high levels of estrogen, which is found to be one of the risk factors of breast cancer.
  • Radiation exposure also poses a risk of causing breast cancer in men.

Male Breast Cancer – The Signs And Symptoms

Male breast cancer is seen to develop more often in the left breast than in the right. In less than 1% of the cases, the cancer develops in both the breasts. The common signs and male breast cancer symptoms are:

  • A lump in the breast
  • Soreness and painfulness in the nipple
  • A small ring around the nipple and a gradual inversion of the nipple
  • Swollen lymph nodes, which can be felt externally
  • Weight loss, followed by severe weakness

Male Breast Cancer – The Diagnostic Procedures

Here are some of the tests that are commonly used to detect breast cancer in men.

  • Self-Exam

    By physically examining the breast one can identify the presence of a possible lump in the breast. If a lump is found, a doctor must be consulted so that he can evaluate it clinically and advise tests to confirm the presence of breast cancer.

  • Ultrasound Examination

    High energy sound waves are used to photograph different parts of the breast. By observing these photos, the doctor can confirm the presence or absence of breast cancer.

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

    Like ultrasound, MRI is also used to create detailed images of different sections of the breast using radio waves. These images are then used to detect cancer in the breast.

  • Biopsy

    A sample is taken from breast lumps or a lymph node by performing biopsy and the cells in it are microscopically examined to detect the presence of cancer in them.

  • Blood Tests

    Several blood tests are done to evaluate breast cancer in men. Some of the parameters that tend to be abnormal in breast cancer cases are blood electrolytes (calcium and potassium), complete blood count, total bilirubin count, and enzymes (ALT and AST).

  • Molecular Tests

    The HER2 gene, estrogen receptors, and the progesterone receptors are assessed in the cancer cells to evaluate the best treatment option for the cancer.

male breast cancer

Male breast cancer treatment options include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery.

Male Breast Cancer – Treatment Measures

The treatment options for male breast cancer are similar to the options available for female breast cancer. Here are some of them:

  • Surgery

    The cancer-affected area in the breast, and sometimes the entire breast, is surgically removed.

  • Chemotherapy

    In chemotherapy, a high dose of chemicals is used to kill the cancer cells and prevent them from spreading to other organs.

  • Radiation Therapy

    Radiation therapy uses high intensity X-rays to destroy the cancer cells.

  • Hormone Therapy

    Certain drugs are used to inhibit the production of estrogen and progesterone, the hormones that facilitate the growth of cancer cells.

Various other treatment options are tested in clinical trials. Stem cell transplant is one of these other options. While male breast cancer is rare, the seriousness of the disease cannot be ignored. Ensure that you keep an eye out for abnormal growth in the breast regions. If you notice one or more lumps in the breast, or any of the other breast cancer symptoms mentioned above, consult a doctor immediately for timely diagnosis and treatment.

The Causes Of Breast Cancer – How The Cancer Develops

Breast cancer develops when the breast cells have lost control over cell division. This causes the abnormal (cancerous) cells to accumulate and form a lump-like structure called tumor, which eventually spreads to other parts of the breast, the lymph nodes, and to the rest of the body. While the definite causes of breast cancer are not known, it has been found that the interaction between the genetic makeup of an individual and the environment causes cancer.

causes of breast cancer

Advanced age and late menopause are two common causes of breast cancer.

Causes Of Breast Cancer – Factors That Put Certain Women At Risk

Generally women are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer than men. Several risk factors that can increase the chances of a woman acquiring this disease have been identified. Here are some of them.

  • Genetics

    About 5 to 10% of all breast cancers have been found to be linked to BRCA1, BRCA2, and TP53 genes. Abnormalities in these genes have been associated with breast cancer. The risk of the woman getting breast cancer increases if she has a family history of of the disease.

  • Advanced Age

    This is one of the most common causes of breast cancer, as it has been found that about 80% of breast cancer cases are found in women who are above 50 years of age. As age advances, the risk of developing breast cancer increases.

  • A History Of Breast Cancer

    Women who are breast cancer survivors are at a higher risk of developing cancer than  women who have no history of cancer. In the case of the former, the cancerous growth is likely to recur later in life.

  • Non-Cancerous Breast Lumps

    If the non-cancerous lumps found in a woman’s breast are not treated in time, they carry the risk of turning cancerous.

  • Thick Breast Tissue

    Women whose breast tissues are thicker than normal are more likely to have breast cancer.

  • Estrogen Exposure

    The estrogen hormone is produced in a woman’s body from the time she gets her first period to the time she experiences menopause. Estrogen stimulates the division of breast cells. Women who start their period early in life and experience menopause late in life are at an increased risk of facing breast cancer. This is because of a longer duration of exposure to estrogen. If a breast cell has the abnormal gene, with the help of estrogen, the cells multiply and result in a cancerous lump.

  • Radiation Exposure

    Exposure to high doses of X-rays and radiation from CT scans makes the woman more susceptible to breast cancer. Studies have found that women who have been subjected to X-rays run the risk of developing cancer later in life.

  • Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

    Women who have undergone HRT after menopause also face the risk of ending up with breast cancer.

  • Obesity

    Studies have found that the estrogen level is high in obese women who are going through menopause. A high dose of estrogen exposure leaves these women vulnerable to the cancer of the breast.

  • Height

    Certain studies have also found that tall women are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer than their shorter counterparts. However, there is no concrete evidence to support this theory.

  • Alcohol Consumption

    Women who are alcoholic are also key candidates for breast cancer.

  • Environmental Factors

    According to research, women who work in industries that use carcinogens, such as the automobile industries, metal works, plastic industries, agriculture, and laboratories, are at a high risk of being hit with breast cancer.

A history of breast cancer is also a key cause of breast cancer.

A key cause of breast cancer is the patient’s history of cancerous growth.

As the causes of breast cancer are not definitively known, the best you can do is stay away from known carcinogens and reduce the factors that can put you in the high risk bracket of developing breast cancer. Ensure that you go in for regular checkups, so that if you have any cancerous growth in your breast, it can be diagnosed and treated at the earliest. Also, don’t ignore lumps in the breast or other breast cancer symptoms and consult a doctor immediately.

Sickle Cell Anemia Diagnosis – Confirming The Condition

Sickle cell anemia can be diagnosed at any point of time during a person’s life. However, an early diagnosis is important to manage the condition effectively through proper sickle cell anemia treatment and care. A specific blood test is carried out as part of sickle cell anemia diagnosis, to detect if an individual has the disease or is a carrier of the sickle cell trait.

sickle cell anemia diagnosis

Blood tests like Hb evaluation and DNA analysis are carried out as part of sickle cell anemia diagnosis.

Tests For Sickle Cell Anemia Diagnosis

There are different kinds of blood tests used to detect hemoglobin S, an abnormal form of hemoglobin that is characteristically found in people with sickle cell anemia symptoms. Here are some of the tests that are commonly conducted as part of sickle cell anemia diagnosis.

  1. Hemoglobin S Solubility And Sodium Metabisulfite Test

    This test is used to screen for hemoglobin S in adults. A particular chemical is added to a blood sample taken from the subject, to reduce the amount of oxygen in the blood sample. If the subject has a sickle cell defective gene, sickle-shaped cells are formed in the blood due to the reduction of oxygen.

    It is not advisable to conduct this test on newborns, because until they are almost a year old, there will only be a production of hemoglobin F in the blood, and not hemoglobin S. If this test is performed in infants, there is a possibility of false negative results.

  2. Hb Evaluation

    This test is performed in order to check and measure the total number of abnormal hemoglobin cells in the blood. The most common methods used to carry out this test are Hb electrophoresis, Hemoglobin fractionation by HPLC method, and isoelectric focusing.

  3. Screening In Newborn Children

    In countries like the United States of America, it is mandatory to screen all newborn children for autoimmune disorders. By using the Hb isoelectric method, the abnormal hemoglobin S is screened. If there is a presence of abnormal sickle cells, then a second test is advised to confirm the results of the screening test. This helps determine if the child is a carrier of the sickle cell anemia trait or has a sickle cell disease.

  4. DNA Analysis

    This test is commonly used to detect the defective gene that is responsible for producing hemoglobin S. It is also used to determine if an individual has only one defective gene (sickle cell anemia trait) or two. If both the genes are defective, it indicates a case of sickle cell anemia.

    DNA Analysis is usually carried out for unborn children, if one or both the parents have been diagnosed with sickle cell anemia or are carriers of the sickle cell anemia trait. A sample of the amniotic fluid (which contains the genetic material) that surrounds the unborn child is taken for DNA testing. In some cases, a chorionic villus sample (sample from the placenta) is taken for testing. This test is usually carried out at 14 to 16 weeks of pregnancy.

If you or your spouse is a carrier of the sickle cell trait, your child could acquire the defective gene from either of you, as this is what causes sickle cell anemia. Consult a doctor for sickle cell anemia diagnosis if you’re planning a family. In any case, an early diagnosis is recommended for this condition to ensure timely treatment.

Male Breast Cancer Symptoms – Five Signs That Men Face

Breast cancer is more common in women, however, male breast cancer is also a condition to note and occurs in some cases. The disease accounts for 1% of all breast cancer cases, and although breast cancer can occur at any age, in men it is usually found to occur when they are in their sixties and seventies. The problem can be easily identified by watching out for the main male breast cancer symptoms and signs.

male breast cancer symptoms

Male breast cancer symptoms can be spotted due to sudden physical changes in the region.

The Five Main Male Breast Cancer Symptoms

There are five important male breast cancer symptoms that you should watch out for. These have been explained below.

  1. The Presence Of A Lump: Breast cancer in men presents as a painless and firm lump below the nipple, usually present in the sub-areolar region and less often present in the upper outer quadrant. The cancer is found to develop more commonly in the left breast when compared to the right breast. In less than 1% of the cases, both the breasts are affected.
  2. Inversion Of The Nipple: Breast cancer brings about a change in skin color in the affected region. As a side effect of this condition, ulcers develop on the breast, dimpling occurs, the skin on the nipple starts to scale, and the nipple becomes inverted, signifying the presence of cancer.
  3. Fluid Discharge From The Nipple: A small ring develops around the center of the nipple, and this is one the prominent male breast cancer symptoms. The nipples also become sore and painful with time. In some cases, a clear or bloody discharge from the nipple can be noted too.
  4. Enlarged Lymph Nodes: The lymph nodes present under the arm are enlarged due to the presence of cancerous cells. This can be felt externally when the cancer has reached an advanced stage, and is one of the easily noticeable male breast cancer symptoms.

These are the primary male breast cancer symptoms that you should watch out for. If you notice a lump in your breast or any signs of discoloration, it would be ideal to immediately contact your physician and get the symptoms checked out. When the cancer starts spreading to the bones, it causes pain in the affected region, so this is a sign of advanced breast cancer. In its advanced stages, the disease can cause severe weakness and weight loss too.