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Prostate & Breast Cancer Screenings and Treatments. October 14, 2011

Posted by carlosgreat in Uncategorized.
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Breast and Prostate Cancer

With the shock of being diagnosed with some type of cancer come despair, guilt, financial instability, and the loss of hope.  This summer I found out that one of my aunts had her left breast and part of the right breast surgically removed.  I felt very sad about her experience and guilty for not being around when she was going through her ordeal.   Later, I found that it wasn’t just me, but my entire family felt the same guilt toward my aunt’s breast cancer ordeal.

Zohra on her blog post Breast Cancer in 3D Culture explains the effectiveness on doing breast cancer treatment research entirely in a 3D environment before it is synthesized or even tested on humans.  After our family experience and finding out how humbling it is for the patient and the family, I wanted to identify ways to make the screening and the education process more simple and understandable.

People usually believe that cancer is for another person to worry about, preferably older but not for him or her.  Surprisingly, young people are at most risk of dying when diagnosed with some type of cancer.  Young males have 75% more chances of dying when diagnosed with prostate cancer than older males.  All of this is attributed to the fact that because one is young, he/she thinks that the body is healthy enough to withstand any illness, ignoring education on illness and delaying treatment.

The other night, I was watching a CBS network show called Cutting Edge by reporter Julie Nelson that explored breast and prostate cancer.  She talked about the different treatments, reactions, support, help, and technology involved.  Of course what got my attention was the array of 3D technology mentioned on her show, prompting me to write this post.

3D view of Breast Cancer

About 12% or 1 in every 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the US.  Men are also being diagnosed with breast cancer with a rate of about 2000 cases per year.  Breast cancer starts as a small lesion on the breast and can grow and spread to other parts of the body.  Early detection is very crucial in preventing mortality, representing about 40,000 deaths per year in the US and about 1.5 million cases diagnosed worldwide.

Imaging technology which includes Breast MRI machines also known as 3D mammography or tomosynthesis are used for regular size breasts and molecular breast imaging, which uses Gama rays, is used for women with large breasts.   MRI tends to work best on women with less tissue density in their breasts.  These scans and 3D images allow doctors to do extensive review and analysis of a patient’s breast without the patient being present on every occasion.  Doctors can present and discuss theories and rebuttals regarding a patient’s case based entirely on the images taken.  If they find irregularities or lumps on a part of the breast, the images can be rotated, sliced, reduced, expanded and zoomed in order to have a complete review of the breast. This gives the doctor an opportunity to scrutinize the data before giving a diagnosis to a patient.  Being able to do a study on the breast from 3D images may reduce stress and possibly causing more injury to the patient.  Doctors can also present 3D images of the procedure showing the removal of part of the breast and its reconstruction.  With the initial shock of a cancer diagnosis; having some visual aids to understand their condition and prognosis can be extremely helpful to the patient. 

Prostate Cancer Treatment through the Urethra

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men with about 220,000 cases every year and about 30,000 deaths where the mortality rate is much higher on younger males.  Younger males don’t do regular prostate cancer screenings, therefore reducing chances of survival.  The prostate is a gland about the size of a walnut located under the bladder and is responsible for producing the fluids in semen.  The usual screenings involve blood work or physical examination, where the doctor touches the gland with his finger through the rectum.   The screenings are invasive but the treatment may not be.  For treatment, patients may choose from surgery, radiation, and hormone therapy.  In hormone therapy, patients take a veritable cocktail that includes women’s hormones to reduce the level of testosterone.  For surgery, there are new methods using robotic arms and cameras that produce live 3D images to guide with precision the tiny robotic arms to perform the surgery.  With radiation, patients lie on the table with their clothes on, while the radiation delivering machines is guided by a person in another room using 3D images and a live feed camera.  In the quest for making treatment less invasive, there is a newer method that involves going through the urethra to get to the prostate avoiding incisions and scar tissue.

We still don’t have a 100% effective treatment for most cancers yet and these treatments are extremely stressful, but doctors may agree on implementing some of my group’s blogs suggestions in the fight against cancer.  Daniel on his blog suggests doing proper exercise.  Lineah’s blog suggests getting plenty of rest and eating healthy.  From Khanh’s post, we learn the importance of emotional support.  Although their suggestions are not cancer treatment or prevention specific, they are a good morn to follow.  There are organizations that can help with the treatment and screening, such as the National Breast Cancer Foundation.  Patients, especially ones diagnosed with cancer are under such fright and despair, let’s help them by providing affordable technology that will make their ordeal less stressful and perhaps enhance their quality of life.

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