The Emperor Of All Maladies

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So ladies have anyone ever come across above mentioned title? Being honest I came to know about it when I was researching for this blog. Well, it is a book written by Siddhartha Mukherjee which won him the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. The author weaves together his experiences as oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital as well as the history of cancer treatment and research.

In the dramedy that constitutes a woman’s life, the heart and brain play the starring roles- but breasts surely have a major part. They start turning heads as soon as they make their debut; they nurture babies with milk uniquely suited to an infant’s needs. They bolster body image and inspire pride and satisfaction. No women would like to sacrifice her breasts. It is devastating and creates an increased fear- both of cancer as well losing an organ which is valuable asset to woman kind.

Here are few signs you cannot afford to ignore:-

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You have: Lumpiness or thickened and tendered areas

It may be: Fibrocystic breast changes which affects large number of women. This is mainly due to hormonal imbalance. The rubbery feeling comes from fibrous tissues. The lumps are due to fluid filled cysts. There may be itching in breast accompanied with pain and greenish discharge. The fibrocystic breast changes do not increase breast cancer risk.

Try this: reduce your caffeine consumption because it increases soreness in women. Non- steroidal anti- inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen etc., might help. Vitamin E and evening primrose supplements can also come handy.

You have: A single, distinct lump

It may be: It can be cyst. It can develop when an over growth of glands and connective tissue block mil ducts causing them to dilate and filled with fluid. It can also be due to production of excessive oestrogen. Their size may increase or decrease before periods, and can disappear and recur with the next cycle. But if uncomfortable breast cyst recurs month after month and contains blood- tinged fluid it can be worrisome. Try this: FNAC (Fine Needle aspiration Cytology) is to be done. If fluid shows a suspicion for malignancy surgical removal of lump is required.

You have: thick green or black discharge

It may be: it can be signs of intraductal papilloma, duct ectasia, mastitis, fibrocystic changes etc. The unusual nipple discharge is one of the top breast related concerns women bring up with their doctor. It might usually indicate early stage disease associated with in situ ductal carcinoma. Usually at this stage cancer can be diagnosed. Try this: clinical examination by good doctors, microscopic analysis of discharge, mammography is first line diagnostic approaches in such cases.

Suspects that cause breast cancer

Moth ball:

Chemical compounds in mothballs can cause cancer by blocking the normal process of "cell suicide" in human body. They block enzymes that initiate programmed cell death or apoptosis. Also study conducted in USA came to the conclusion that girls exposed to dichloro-benzene were likely to have their first period early as compared to girls who are barely exposed to this chemical.

Toilet Deodorisers:

Dicholoro- benzene is used in manufacturing of many toilet deodorising products. As mentioned earlier this chemical can cause early puberty in young girls hence is potent cancer culprit. So it is best to avoid it. Safer solution is to use white vinegar to clean toilets.

Air fresheners:

A study conducted discovered that phthalates that is used in fragranced products help fuel cancer growth in some of the most hard to treat types of breast cancer. These phthalates also accelerate cancer growth in oestrogen receptor- negative breast cancer cells. The experiment on phthalates showed that it fuelled cancer cells to multiply by three times faster.

Air pollution:

Women living in urban areas with higher level of air pollution and other carcinogenic products suspended in air are at more risk of getting breast cancer than women living in clean and green environment. The carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide are chief culprits.


They are human carcinogens and stimulate breast cancer cell growth. They can also cause mammary tumours in animals. Eat organic food and wash fruits and veggies to let chemical toxins run out.

Cheap plastic:

Bisphenol A, BPA used to make plastic, water bottles etc. is known hormone disruptor. In a study conducted on monkeys it was found that monkeys exposed to BPA gave birth to baby’s with dense breasts major known risk factor for breast cancer in later life. Opt for BPA free products. Never ever use cheap plastic to heat food or store hot food or liquid as it tends to leech out these chemicals and makes food toxic.