Relationships

Relationship Help

Building Satisfying Relationships that Last

Relationships SSP 2018

 

A healthy, secure romantic relationship can be an ongoing source of support and happiness in life. It can strengthen all aspects of your wellbeing, from your physical and mental health to your work and connections with others. However, a relationship that isn’t supportive can be a tremendous drain on you emotionally. Love and relationships take work, commitment, and a willingness to adapt and change with your partner. Whether you’re looking to keep a healthy relationship strong or repair a relationship on the rocks, these tips can help you build a caring and lasting union.

How to strengthen your relationship and make love last

For most people, falling in love usually seems to just happen. It’s preserving that “falling in love” experience that requires commitment and work. Given its rewards, though, it’s well worth the effort. By taking steps now to preserve or rekindle your falling in love experience, you can build a meaningful relationship that lasts—even for a lifetime.

What makes a healthy love relationship?

Everyone’s relationship is unique, and people come together for many different reasons. But there are some things that good relationships have in common. Knowing the basic principles of healthy relationships helps keep them meaningful, fulfilling and exciting in both happy times and sad.

Staying connected with each other. Some relationships get stuck in peaceful coexistence, but without truly relating to each other and working together. While it may seem stable on the surface, lack of involvement and communication increases distance. When you need to talk about something important, the connection and understanding may no longer be there.

Don’t be afraid of (respectful) disagreement. Some couples talk things out quietly, while others may raise their voices and passionately disagree. The key in a strong relationship, though, is not to be fearful of conflict. You need to be safe to express things that bother you without fear of retaliation, and be able to resolve conflict without humiliation, degradation or insisting on being right.

Keeping outside relationships and interests alive. Despite the claims of romantic fiction or movies, no one person can meet all of your needs. In fact, expecting too much from your partner can put unhealthy pressure on the relationship. To stimulate and enrich your romantic relationship, it’s important to preserve connections with family and friends and maintain hobbies and interests outside of the relationship as well.

Open and honest communication. Good communication is a key part of any relationship. When both people feel comfortable expressing their needs, fears, and desires, trust and bonds are strengthened. A big part of good communication is nonverbal cues. For a relationship to work well, each person has to understand their own and their partner’s nonverbal cues or “body language.”

Tip 1: Spend quality time together

You fall in love looking at and listening to each other. If you continue to look and listen in the same attentive ways, you can sustain the falling in love experience over the long term. You probably have fond memories of when you were first dating your loved one. Everything seemed new and exciting, and you likely spent hours just chatting together or coming up with new, exciting things to try. However, as time goes by, the demands of work, family, other obligations, and the need we all have for time to ourselves can make it harder to find time together.

Many couples find that the face-to-face contact of their early dating days is gradually replaced by hurried texts, emails, and instant messages. While digital communication is great for some purposes, it doesn’t positively impact your brain and nervous system in the same way as face-to-face communication. The emotional cues you both need to feel loved can only be conveyed in person, so no matter how busy life gets, it’s important to carve out time to spend together.

Do things together that benefit others

One the most powerful ways of staying close and connected is to jointly focus on something you and your partner value outside of the relationship. Volunteering for a cause, project, or community work that has meaning for both of you can keep a relationship fresh and interesting. It can also expose you both to new people and ideas, offer the chance to tackle new challenges together, and provide fresh ways of interacting with each other.

As well as helping to relieve stress, anxiety, and depression, doing things to benefit others delivers immense pleasure. Human beings are hard-wired to help others. The more you help, the happier you’ll feel-as individuals and as a couple.

Simple ways to connect as a couple and rekindle love

  • Commit to spending some quality time together every day on a regular basis. Even during the busiest times, just a few minutes of really sharing and connecting can help keep bonds strong.
  • Find something that you enjoy doing together, whether it is a shared hobby, dance class, daily walk, or sitting over a cup of coffee in the morning.
  • Try something new together. Doing new things together can be a fun way to connect and keep things interesting. It can be as simple as trying a new restaurant or going on a day trip to a place you’ve never been before.

Tip 2: Keep physical intimacy alive

Touch is a fundamental part of human existence. Studies on infants have shown the importance of regular, affectionate physical contact on brain development. And the benefits don’t end in childhood. Affectionate contact boosts the body’s levels of oxytocin, a hormone that influences bonding and attachment.

 

Tips to Improve Your Sex Life: Enjoy More Fulfilling Sex

While physical intercourse is often a cornerstone of a committed relationship, it shouldn’t be the only method of physical intimacy. Frequent, affectionate touch—holding hands, hugging, kissing—is equally important.

Be sensitive to what your partner likes. Unwanted touching or inappropriate overtures can make the other person tense up and retreat—exactly what you don’t want.

Tip 3: Stay connected through communication

Good communication is a fundamental part of a healthy relationship. When people stop communicating well, they stop relating well, and times of change or stress can really bring out disconnect. As long as you are communicating, you can work through whatever problem you’re facing.

Tell your partner what you need, don’t make them guess.

It’s not always easy to talk about what you need. Even when you’ve got a good idea of what’s important to you in a relationship, talking about it can make you feel vulnerable, embarrassed, or even ashamed. But look at it from your partner’s point of view. Providing comfort and understanding to someone you love is a pleasure, not a burden. So tell your partner what you need. And remember, everyone changes over time. What you needed from your partner five years ago may be different from what you need now.

Take note of your partner’s nonverbal cues

So much of our communication is transmitted by what we don’t say. Nonverbal cues-eye contact, tone of voice, posture, and gestures such as leaning forward, crossing your arms, or touching someone’s hand-communicate much more than words. For a relationship to work well, each person has to understand their own and their partner’s nonverbal cues or “body language.”

Think about what you are transmitting as well, and if what you say matches your body language. If you say “I’m fine,” but you clench your teeth and look away, then your body is clearly signaling you are anything but “fine.”

When you experience positive emotional cues from your partner, you feel safe and happy, and when you send positive emotional cues, your loved one feels the same. When you stop taking an interest in your own or your partner’s emotions, your ability to communicate will suffer, especially at stressful times.

Question your assumptions

 

Effective Communication: Improving Communication Skills

If you’ve known each other for a while, you may assume that your partner has a pretty good idea of what you are thinking and what you need. However, your partner is not a mind-reader. While your partner may have some idea, it is much healthier to express your needs directly to avoid any confusion. Your partner may sense something, but it might not be what you need. What’s more, people change, and what you needed and wanted five years ago, for example, may be very different now. Getting in the habit of expressing your needs helps you weather difficult times, which otherwise may lead to increasing resentment, misunderstanding and anger.

Tip 4: Learn to give and take in your relationship

If you expect to get what you want 100% of a time in a relationship, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Healthy relationships are built on compromise. However, it takes work on each person’s part to make sure that there is a reasonable exchange.

Recognize what’s important to your partner

Knowing what is truly important to your partner can go a long way towards building goodwill and an atmosphere of compromise. On the flip side, it’s also important for your partner to recognize your wants and for you to state them clearly. Constantly giving to others at the expense of your own needs builds resentment and anger.

Don’t make “winning” your goal

If you approach your partner with the attitude that things have to be your way or else, it will be difficult to reach a compromise. Sometimes this attitude comes from not having your needs met while younger, or it could be years of accumulated resentment in the relationship reaching a boiling point. It’s alright to have strong convictions about something, but your partner deserves to be heard as well. You are more likely to get your needs met if you respect what your partner needs, and compromise when you can.

Learn how to respectfully resolve conflict

Conflict is inevitable in any relationship, but to keep a relationship strong, both people need to feel they’ve been heard. The goal is not to win but to resolve the conflict with respect and love.

  • Make sure you are fighting fair.
  • Don’t attack someone directly but use “I” statements to communicate how you feel.
  • Don’t drag old arguments into the mix.
  • Keep the focus on the issue at hand and respect the other person.

 

Conflict Resolution Skills: Turn Conflicts into Opportunities

Tip 5: Be prepared for ups and downs

It’s important to recognize that there are ups and downs in every relationship. You won’t always be on the same page. Sometimes one partner may be struggling with an issue that stresses them, such as the death of a close family member. Other events, like job loss or severe health problems, can affect both partners and make it difficult to relate to each other. You might have different ideas of managing finances or raising children. Different people cope with stress differently, and misunderstanding can rapidly turn to frustration and anger.

Relationship advice for getting through life’s ups and downs

  • Don’t take out your problems on your partner. Life stresses can make us short tempered. If you are coping with a lot of stress, it might seem easier to vent with your partner, and even feel safer to snap at him or her. Fighting like this might initially feel like a release, but it slowly poisons your relationship. Find other ways to vent your anger and frustration.
  • Some problems are bigger than both of you. Trying to force a solution can cause even more problems. Every person works through problems and issues in his or her own way. Remember that you’re a team. Continuing to move forward together can get you through the rough spots.
  • Be open to change. Change is inevitable in life, and it will happen whether you go with it or fight it. Flexibility is essential to adapt to the change that is always taking place in any relationship, and it allows you to grow together through both the good times and the bad.

If you need outside help for relationship problems

Sometimes problems in a relationship may seem too complex or overwhelming for you to handle as a couple. In that case, it’s important to reach out together for help. Available options include:

Couples counseling. Both partners need to honestly communicate what they need, face the issues that arise in counseling, and then make the necessary changes. It’s also very important that both people feel comfortable with the counselor.

Individual therapy. Sometimes, one partner may need specialized help. For example, if you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, you may need counseling to help process the grief. If your loved one needs help, don’t feel like you’re a failure for not providing everything he or she needs. No one can fulfill everyone’s needs, and getting the right help can make a huge difference to your relationship.

Spiritual advice. Advice from a religious figure such as a pastor or rabbi works best if both partners have similar convictions of faith and a good relationship with the spiritual advisor.

Emotional Intelligence building. Helpguide’s free Emotional Intelligence Toolkit provides articles, videos, and audio meditations designed to help you put the skills of emotional intelligence and communication into practice.

 

Resources and references

What is a Healthy Relationship? – A succinct checklist of the characteristics of healthy relationships. (Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence)

Am I in a Healthy Relationship? – Article aimed at teens to determine if your relationship is as healthy as it should be. (Kids Health)

Love is Not All You Need – Learn about the importance of listening, teamwork, and flexibility in making a relationship work. (Psychology Today)

What Research Tells Us About the Most Successful Relationships – Review what research studies reveal about what makes a relationship successful. (Lifehacker)

 

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Valentines Day 2018

Valentines Day SSP 2018

 

Valentine’s Day Facts

1.)The day is celebrated as the commemorative day of Saint Valentine. The interesting fact is it is not certain whether this is one specific person, or the group of 14 martyred saints of ancient Rome, all of the same name.

2.) The Valentine’s Day chocolate boxes were introduced in 1868 by Richard Cadbury.

3.) Some popular symbols of love used to express the feelings are cupid, arrows, doves, love birds, roses, and hearts.

4.) Pope Gelasius I of Rome declared Saint Valentine’s burial day as the Valentine’s Day, in 496 AD.

5.)The girls during medieval times used to eat strange food items, as it was believed that by doing so they would dream of their future spouse or lover.

6.) The Saint to whom the day has been dedicated brought nothing romantic to be attached to the day. However, the earliest association of Valentine’s Day with romance goes to the credit of great writer Geoffrey Chaucer, who wrote in his Parlement of Foules, 1382,”For this was on seynt Volantynys day, Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make”, and hence beginning the tradition.

7.) During 19th century, physicians would prescribe chocolates to their patients, who would pine for a lost love.

8.) The cops of Saudi Arabia banned the sale of anything red or symbolizing love in 2002 and 2008, believing that this is a Christian festival, resulting in a black market of Valentine’s Day gifts in 2008, which witnessed an even bigger number of customers.

9.) Apart from lovers, spouses, and sweethearts, the other people who receive maximum number of flowers, cards and gifts on the day are, mothers and teachers.

10.) The University of Maryland, educates the masses and media about the Valentine’s day, through its academic experts.

11.)We all have heard the phrase “wearing your heart on your sleeve”, but the phrase has actually come from Middle Ages, when according to a popular tradition, young men and women would draw chits from a bowl, to know the names of their valentines and then, would wear that name on their sleeve for the entire week.

12.) The day is also a great day for the beloved pets of many families, as it has been surveyed that people, in huge numbers, bring gifts for their pets also on Valentine’s Day.

13.) The famous gifts and cards company Hallmark, launched its first valentine product in 1913

14.) The Medieval concept of Courtly Love, where male lover would court and praise the beloved through chivalrous deeds and poetry, descended from the ancient traditions associated with Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day Fun Facts

The age old occasion of celebrating the fervor of love dates back to the festival of Lupercalia. Since then, Valentine’s Day have been able to caught the attention of couples who want to celebrate this day n the best manner possible. Read to find out.

  1. Reports indicate that more than 36 million chocolates boxes which are heart shaped gets sold on the eve of Valentine’s Day.
  2. Although, women are generally excited about this romantic day, men too spend quite a lot to make their partners happy.
  3. Studies depicts that this Valentine’s Day shall witness a total of 8 billion candies shaped in the form of hearts.
  4. It was found out that more than 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are being exchanged each year to celebrate the fervor of love. Valentine’s Day is the second largest card sending occasions, the first one being Christmas when the card makers earn the maximum revenue from one and all.
  5. A total of 50 billion roses are brought to exchange them between the lovers.
  6. Women in Japan are expected to buy chocolates for men on Valentine’s Day. This weird tradition dates back to a marketing campaign by a famous Japanese chocolate company. As a gesture of good faith, all men who had received the chocolates from these women are expected to buy chocolates for them on March 14th.
  7. They say if you are a woman and you see a flying robin on Valentine’s Day, it is likely that you will marry a sailor. In case, you see a flying sparrow then you would marry a poor but a happy man. If it was goldfinch, then your luck is about to shine because there is a millionaire waiting for you. Now, don’t go around hunting birds on trees!
  8. Back in medieval days, there was a tradition which made young men and women write their names on a little piece of paper and drop them in a bowl on February 14. Later, men would pick names from the bowl kept for women and wear the chosen name on their sleeves; an indication for the woman to be their valentine. Now you know what it means, when someone says,” To wear your heart on your sleeve”. This famous tradition is still practiced by many in different corners of the world where Valentine’s Day is celebrated within young men and women to spot their valentines.
  9. This is perhaps the funniest of all. The story goes that, around 5% American women are in the habit of sending flowers to themselves on the eve of Valentine’s Day. It was told that a total of 198 million red roses were especially produced to meet the demand for red roses for Valentine’s Day. A rose is meant to define a woman’s likeliness and defines the feminine spirit too.

Other Related Valentine’s Day Facts

1.) Mother’s day and valentine’s day are the two biggest occasions on which flowers are given.

2.) Numerous early Christian martyrs were named Valentine.

3.) In Finland Valentine’s Day is called Ystävänpäivä which translates into “Friend’s day”.

4.) In Slovenia, a proverb says that “St Valentine brings the keys of roots”, so on February 14, plants and flowers start to grow.

5.) In some Latin American countries Valentine’s Day is known as “Día del Amor y la Amistad” (Day of Love and Friendship

6.) In Korea, the custom is if you do not receive any gift on Valentine’s Day, then you, along with all the singles, go to Korean restaurants and eat black noodles to mourn their single status.

Valentine Cards

1.) Every year around 1 billion Valentine cards are sent across. After Christmas it’s a single largest seasonal card-sending occasion.

2.) Teachers receive the most Valentine’s Day cards, followed by children, mothers, wives, and then, sweethearts. Children between ages 6 to 10 exchange more than 650 million Valentine’s cards with teachers, classmates, and fagmily members. Valentine

Flowers/Roses

1.) Received Valentine Flowers? Well I guess you are a woman. Of the 73% of people who buy Valentine’s Day flowers are men, while only 27 percent are women.

2.) A single perfect red rose framed with baby’s breath is named by some florists as a “signature rose,” and is the preferred choice for most for giving on Valentine’s Day, anniversaries and birthdays.

3.) The red rose was the favorite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love. The color red stands for strong romantic feelings making the red rose the flower of love.

Cupid

1.) Cupid is a symbol of Valentine’s Day. Cupid was associated with Valentine’s Day because he was the son of Venus, the Roman god of love and beauty. Cupid often appears on Valentine cards and gift tokens holding a bow and arrows as he is believed to use magical arrows to arouse feelings of love.

Love Letters and Poems

Refer:( Valentine Love Letters)

1.) Verona, the Italian city where Shakespeare’s play lovers Romeo and Juliet lived, receives about 1,000 letters every year sent to Juliet on Valentine’s Day.

2.) The oldest surviving love poem till date is written in a clay tablet from the times of the Sumerians, inventors of writing, around 3500 B.C.

Wear your Heart on your Sleeve

1.) In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew the names from a bowl to see who would be their Valentine. They would wear this name pinned on their sleeves for one week. This was done so that it became easy for other people to know their true feelings. This was known as “to wear your heart on your sleeve”

Valentine Gifts

1.) On February 14th, wooden love spoons were carved and given as gifts on Valentine’s Day in Wales. Hearts, keys and keyholes were favorite Valentine decorations on the wooden spoons. This Valentine decoration meant, “You unlock my heart!”

2.) The most beautiful and incredible gift of love is the monument Taj Mahal in India. Built by Mughal Emperor Shahjahan as a memorial to his wife; it stands as the emblem of the eternal love story. Work on the Taj Mahal began in 1634 and continued for almost 22 years and required the labor of 20,000 workers from all over India and Central Asia.

3.) In America, the pilgrims used to send confections, such as sugar wafers, marzipan, sweetmeats and sugar plums, to their affianced. Lot of value was placed on these gifts because they included what was then a rare product, sugar. After the late 1800’s, beet sugar became widely used and more available and sweet gifts continued to be cherished and enjoyed.

4.) Amongst the earliest Valentine’s Day gifts were candies. The most common were chocolates in heart shaped boxes.

The Valentine Heart

1.) The heart is associated to Valentine’s Day as it is considered the source of all human emotions. The custom of drawing a heart shape is supposed to have come from early attempts to draw an organ that no one had seen. The symbol came on to become as a sign of love.

2.) The heart has been the most common figure of romantic love over the decades. Ancient cultures believed the human soul lived in the heart. The heart may be linked with love because the ancient Greeks believed it was the goal of Eros, known as Cupid to the Romans. Anyone shot in the heart by one of Cupid’s arrows would fall hopelessly in love. Because the heart is also closely linked to love, its red color is considered as most romantic.

Birds

1.) Lovebirds are often associated with Valentine’s Day. These lovebirds found in Africa, are brightly colored and sit very close together with their mates, earning them their name.

2.) Doves are also part of the Valentine tradition. These birds are symbols of love and loyalty because they mate for life. A pair of doves will also share the care of all their babies.

3.) In olden times some people used to believe that if a woman saw a robin flying overhead on the Valentine’s Day; it meant she would marry a sailor. If she saw a sparrow, she would marry a poor man and be very happy. If she saw a goldfinch, she would marry a millionaire.

Love Knots

1.) A love knot is a symbol of undying love, as its twisting loops have no beginnings or ends. In olden times, they were made of ribbon or drawn on paper to prove one’s eternal love.

 

2.) So friends now that we know the Valentine day facts, start your shopping today and express your love to your sweetheart. Happy Valentine’s Day!

World Cancer Day 2018

World Cancer Day SSP 2018

What Is Cancer?

A Collection of Related Diseases

Cancer is the name given to a collection of related diseases. In all types of cancer, some of the body’s cells begin to divide without stopping and spread into surrounding tissues.

Cancer can start almost anywhere in the human body, which is made up of trillions of cells. Normally, human cells grow and divide to form new cells as the body needs them. When cells grow old or become damaged, they die, and new cells take their place.

When cancer develops, however, this orderly process breaks down. As cells become more and more abnormal, old or damaged cells survive when they should die, and new cells form when they are not needed. These extra cells can divide without stopping and may form growths called tumors.

Many cancers form solid tumors, which are masses of tissue. Cancers of the blood, such as leukemias, generally do not form solid tumors.

Cancerous tumors are malignant, which means they can spread into, or invade, nearby tissues. In addition, as these tumors grow, some cancer cells can break off and travel to distant places in the body through the blood or the lymph system and form new tumors far from the original tumor.

Unlike malignant tumors, benign tumors do not spread into, or invade, nearby tissues. Benign tumors can sometimes be quite large, however. When removed, they usually don’t grow back, whereas malignant tumors sometimes do. Unlike most benign tumors elsewhere in the body, benign brain tumors can be life threatening.

Differences between Cancer Cells and Normal Cells

Cancer cells differ from normal cells in many ways that allow them to grow out of control and become invasive. One important difference is that cancer cells are less specialized than normal cells. That is, whereas normal cells mature into very distinct cell types with specific functions, cancer cells do not. This is one reason that, unlike normal cells, cancer cells continue to divide without stopping.

In addition, cancer cells are able to ignore signals that normally tell cells to stop dividing or that begin a process known as programmed cell death, or apoptosis, which the body uses to get rid of unneeded cells.

Cancer cells may be able to influence the normal cells, molecules, and blood vessels that surround and feed a tumor—an area known as the microenvironment. For instance, cancer cells can induce nearby normal cells to form blood vessels that supply tumors with oxygen and nutrients, which they need to grow. These blood vessels also remove waste products from tumors.

Cancer cells are also often able to evade the immune system, a network of organs, tissues, and specialized cells that protects the body from infections and other conditions. Although the immune system normally removes damaged or abnormal cells from the body, some cancer cells are able to “hide” from the immune system.

Tumors can also use the immune system to stay alive and grow. For example, with the help of certain immune system cells that normally prevent a runaway immune response, cancer cells can actually keep the immune system from killing cancer cells.

How Cancer Arises

Cancer is a genetic disease—that is, it is caused by changes to genes that control the way our cells function, especially how they grow and divide.

Genetic changes that cause cancer can be inherited from our parents. They can also arise during a person’s lifetime as a result of errors that occur as cells divide or because of damage to DNA caused by certain environmental exposures. Cancer-causing environmental exposures include substances, such as the chemicals in tobacco smoke, and radiation, such as ultraviolet rays from the sun. (Our Cancer Causes and Prevention section has more information.)

Each person’s cancer has a unique combination of genetic changes. As the cancer continues to grow, additional changes will occur. Even within the same tumor, different cells may have different genetic changes.

In general, cancer cells have more genetic changes, such as mutations in DNA, than normal cells. Some of these changes may have nothing to do with the cancer; they may be the result of the cancer, rather than its cause.

“Drivers” of Cancer

The genetic changes that contribute to cancer tend to affect three main types of genes—proto-oncogenes, tumor suppressor genes, and DNA repair genes. These changes are sometimes called “drivers” of cancer.

Proto-oncogenes are involved in normal cell growth and division. However, when these genes are altered in certain ways or are more active than normal, they may become cancer-causing genes (or oncogenes), allowing cells to grow and survive when they should not.

Tumor suppressor genes are also involved in controlling cell growth and division. Cells with certain alterations in tumor suppressor genes may divide in an uncontrolled manner.

DNA repair genes are involved in fixing damaged DNA. Cells with mutations in these genes tend to develop additional mutations in other genes. Together, these mutations may cause the cells to become cancerous.

As scientists have learned more about the molecular changes that lead to cancer, they have found that certain mutations commonly occur in many types of cancer. Because of this, cancers are sometimes characterized by the types of genetic alterations that are believed to be driving them, not just by where they develop in the body and how the cancer cells look under the microscope.

When Cancer Spreads

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In metastasis, cancer cells break away from where they first formed (primary cancer), travel through the blood or lymph system, and form new tumors (metastatic tumors) in other parts of the body. The metastatic tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor.

A cancer that has spread from the place where it first started to another place in the body is called metastatic cancer. The process by which cancer cells spread to other parts of the body is called metastasis.

Metastatic cancer has the same name and the same type of cancer cells as the original, or primary, cancer. For example, breast cancer that spreads to and forms a metastatic tumor in the lung is metastatic breast cancer, not lung cancer.

Under a microscope, metastatic cancer cells generally look the same as cells of the original cancer. Moreover, metastatic cancer cells and cells of the original cancer usually have some molecular features in common, such as the presence of specific chromosome changes.

Treatment may help prolong the lives of some people with metastatic cancer. In general, though, the primary goal of treatments for metastatic cancer is to control the growth of the cancer or to relieve symptoms caused by it. Metastatic tumors can cause severe damage to how the body functions, and most people who die of cancer die of metastatic disease.

Tissue Changes that Are Not Cancer

Not every change in the body’s tissues is cancer. Some tissue changes may develop into cancer if they are not treated, however. Here are some examples of tissue changes that are not cancer but, in some cases, are monitored:

Hyperplasia occurs when cells within a tissue divide faster than normal and extra cells build up, or proliferate. However, the cells and the way the tissue is organized look normal under a microscope. Hyperplasia can be caused by several factors or conditions, including chronic irritation.

Dysplasia is a more serious condition than hyperplasia. In dysplasia, there is also a buildup of extra cells. But the cells look abnormal and there are changes in how the tissue is organized. In general, the more abnormal the cells and tissue look, the greater the chance that cancer will form.

Some types of dysplasia may need to be monitored or treated. An example of dysplasia is an abnormal mole (called a dysplastic nevus) that forms on the skin. A dysplastic nevus can turn into melanoma, although most do not.

An even more serious condition is carcinoma in situ. Although it is sometimes called cancer, carcinoma in situ is not cancer because the abnormal cells do not spread beyond the original tissue. That is, they do not invade nearby tissue the way that cancer cells do. But, because some carcinomas in situ may become cancer, they are usually treated.

Normal cells may become cancer cells. Before cancer cells form in tissues of the body, the cells go through abnormal changes called hyperplasia and dysplasia. In hyperplasia, there is an increase in the number of cells in an organ or tissue that appear normal under a microscope. In dysplasia, the cells look abnormal under a microscope but are not cancer. Hyperplasia and dysplasia may or may not become cancer.

Credit: Terese Winslow

Types of Cancer

There are more than 100 types of cancer. Types of cancer are usually named for the organs or tissues where the cancers form. For example, lung cancer starts in cells of the lung, and brain cancer starts in cells of the brain. Cancers also may be described by the type of cell that formed them, such as an epithelial cell or a squamous cell.

You can search NCI’s website for information on specific types of cancer based on the cancer’s location in the body or by using our A to Z List of Cancers. We also have collections of information on childhood cancers and cancers in adolescents and young adults.

Here are some categories of cancers that begin in specific types of cells:

Carcinoma

Carcinomas are the most common type of cancer. They are formed by epithelial cells, which are the cells that cover the inside and outside surfaces of the body. There are many types of epithelial cells, which often have a column-like shape when viewed under a microscope.

Carcinomas that begin in different epithelial cell types have specific names:

Adenocarcinoma is a cancer that forms in epithelial cells that produce fluids or mucus. Tissues with this type of epithelial cell are sometimes called glandular tissues. Most cancers of the breast, colon, and prostate are adenocarcinomas.

Basal cell carcinoma is a cancer that begins in the lower or basal (base) layer of the epidermis, which is a person’s outer layer of skin.

Squamous cell carcinoma is a cancer that forms in squamous cells, which are epithelial cells that lie just beneath the outer surface of the skin. Squamous cells also line many other organs, including the stomach, intestines, lungs, bladder, and kidneys. Squamous cells look flat, like fish scales, when viewed under a microscope. Squamous cell carcinomas are sometimes called epidermoid carcinomas.

Transitional cell carcinoma is a cancer that forms in a type of epithelial tissue called transitional epithelium, or urothelium. This tissue, which is made up of many layers of epithelial cells that can get bigger and smaller, is found in the linings of the bladder, ureters, and part of the kidneys (renal pelvis), and a few other organs. Some cancers of the bladder, ureters, and kidneys are transitional cell carcinomas.

Sarcoma

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Soft tissue sarcoma forms in soft tissues of the body, including muscle, tendons, fat, blood vessels, lymph vessels, nerves, and tissue around joints.

Sarcomas are cancers that form in bone and soft tissues, including muscle, fat, blood vessels, lymph vessels, and fibrous tissue (such as tendons and ligaments).

Osteosarcoma is the most common cancer of bone. The most common types of soft tissue sarcoma are leiomyosarcoma, Kaposi sarcoma, malignant fibrous histiocytoma, liposarcoma, and dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans.

Our page on soft tissue sarcoma has more information.

Leukemia

Cancers that begin in the blood-forming tissue of the bone marrow are called leukemias. These cancers do not form solid tumors. Instead, large numbers of abnormal white blood cells (leukemia cells and leukemic blast cells) build up in the blood and bone marrow, crowding out normal blood cells. The low level of normal blood cells can make it harder for the body to get oxygen to its tissues, control bleeding, or fight infections.

There are four common types of leukemia, which are grouped based on how quickly the disease gets worse (acute or chronic) and on the type of blood cell the cancer starts in (lymphoblastic or myeloid).

Our page on leukemia has more information.

Lymphoma

Lymphoma is cancer that begins in lymphocytes (T cells or B cells). These are disease-fighting white blood cells that are part of the immune system. In lymphoma, abnormal lymphocytes build up in lymph nodes and lymph vessels, as well as in other organs of the body.

There are two main types of lymphoma:

Hodgkin lymphoma – People with this disease have abnormal lymphocytes that are called Reed-Sternberg cells. These cells usually form from B cells.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma – This is a large group of cancers that start in lymphocytes. The cancers can grow quickly or slowly and can form from B cells or T cells.

Our page on lymphoma has more information.

Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma is cancer that begins in plasma cells, another type of immune cell. The abnormal plasma cells, called myeloma cells, build up in the bone marrow and form tumors in bones all through the body. Multiple myeloma is also called plasma cell myeloma and Kahler disease.

Our page on multiple myeloma and other plasma cell neoplasms has more information.

Melanoma

Melanoma is cancer that begins in cells that become melanocytes, which are specialized cells that make melanin (the pigment that gives skin its color). Most melanomas form on the skin, but melanomas can also form in other pigmented tissues, such as the eye.

Our pages on skin cancer and intraocular melanoma have more information.

Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors

There are different types of brain and spinal cord tumors. These tumors are named based on the type of cell in which they formed and where the tumor first formed in the central nervous system. For example, an astrocytic tumor begins in star-shaped brain cells called astrocytes, which help keep nerve cells healthy. Brain tumors can be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer).

Our page on brain and spinal cord tumors in adults has more information, as does our overview of brain and spinal cord tumors in children.

Other Types of Tumors

Germ Cell Tumors

Germ cell tumors are a type of tumor that begins in the cells that give rise to sperm or eggs. These tumors can occur almost anywhere in the body and can be either benign or malignant.

Our page of cancers by body location/system includes a list of germ cell tumors with links to more information.

Neuroendocrine Tumors

Neuroendocrine tumors form from cells that release hormones into the blood in response to a signal from the nervous system. These tumors, which may make higher-than-normal amounts of hormones, can cause many different symptoms. Neuroendocrine tumors may be benign or malignant.

Our definition of neuroendocrine tumors has more information.

Carcinoid Tumors

Carcinoid tumors are a type of neuroendocrine tumor. They are slow-growing tumors that are usually found in the gastrointestinal system (most often in the rectum and small intestine). Carcinoid tumors may spread to the liver or other sites in the body, and they may secrete substances such as serotonin or prostaglandins, causing carcinoid syndrome.

Our page on gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors has more information.

 

Risk Factors for Cancer

It is usually not possible to know exactly why one person develops cancer and another doesn’t. But research has shown that certain risk factors may increase a person’s chances of developing cancer. (There are also factors that are linked to a lower risk of cancer. These are sometimes called protective risk factors, or just protective factors.)

Cancer risk factors include exposure to chemicals or other substances, as well as certain behaviors. They also include things people cannot control, like age and family history. A family history of certain cancers can be a sign of a possible inherited cancer syndrome. (See the Hereditary Cancer Syndromes section for more information about inherited genetic mutations that can cause cancer.)

Most cancer risk (and protective) factors are initially identified in epidemiology studies. In these studies, scientists look at large groups of people and compare those who develop cancer with those who don’t. These studies may show that the people who develop cancer are more or less likely to behave in certain ways or to be exposed to certain substances than those who do not develop cancer.

Such studies, on their own, cannot prove that a behavior or substance causes cancer. For example, the finding could be a result of chance, or the true risk factor could be something other than the suspected risk factor. But findings of this type sometimes get attention in the media, and this can lead to wrong ideas about how cancer starts and spreads. (See the Common Cancer Myths and Misconceptions page for more information.)

When many studies all point to a similar association between a potential risk factor and an increased risk of cancer, and when a possible mechanism exists that could explain how the risk factor could actually cause cancer, scientists can be more confident about the relationship between the two.

The list below includes the most-studied known or suspected risk factors for cancer. Although some of these risk factors can be avoided, others—such as growing older—cannot. Limiting your exposure to avoidable risk factors may lower your risk of developing certain cancers.

 

Symptoms

Cancer can cause many different symptoms. Only a doctor can tell if your symptoms are caused by cancer or some other problem.

Diagnosis

If you have a symptom that does not go away or a screening test result that suggests cancer, the doctor must find out whether it is due to cancer or some other cause. Learn about tests and procedures that help figure out the reason for your problems.

Staging

Staging is the process of determining details about your cancer, such as tumor size and if it has spread. The stage guides decisions about treatment.

Prognosis

Prognosis describes how serious your cancer is and your chances of survival. Learn about survival statistics and how they are used to estimate prognosis.

Questions to Ask about Your Cancer Diagnosis

These questions may help you learn more about your cancer what you can expect next.

Research

Find research articles on cancer diagnosis and staging, which may include news stories, clinical trials, blog posts, and descriptions of active studies.

http://www.worldcancerday.org/

Five Rules to Improve Your Financial Wellness

Financial Wellness SSP 2018

The term “personal finance” refers to how you manage your money and how you plan for your future. All of your financial decisions and activities have an effect on your financial health now and in the future. We are often guided by specific rules of thumb – such as “don’t buy a house that costs more than 2.5 years’ worth of income” or “you should always save at least 10% of your income towards retirement.” While many of these adages are time tested and truly helpful, it’s important to consider what we should be doing – in general – to help improve our financial habits and health. Here, we discuss five broad personal finance rules that can help get you on track to achieving specific financial goals. 

  1. Do the Math – Net Worth and Personal Budgets

Money comes in, money goes out. For many people, this is about as deep as their understanding gets when it comes to personal finances. Rather than ignoring your finances and leaving them to chance, a bit of number crunching can help you evaluate your current financial health and determine how to reach your short- and long-term financial goals.

As a starting point, it is important to calculate your net worth – the difference between what you own and what you owe. To calculate your net worth, start by making a list of your assets (what you own) and your liabilities (what you owe). Then subtract the liabilities from the assets to arrive at your net-worth figure. Your net worth represents where you are financially at that moment, and it is normal for the figure to fluctuate over time. Calculating your net worth one time can be helpful, but the real value comes from making this calculation on a regular basis (at least yearly). Tracking your net worth over time allows you to evaluate your progress, highlight your successes and identify areas requiring improvement.

Equally important is developing a personal budget or spending plan. Created on a monthly or annual basis, a personal budget is an important financial tool because it can help you:

  • Plan for expenses.
  • Reduce or eliminate expenses.
  • Save for future goals.
  • Spend wisely.
  • Plan for emergencies.
  • Prioritize spending and saving.

There are numerous approaches to creating a personal budget, but all involve making projections for income and expenses. The income and expense categories you include in your budget will depend on your situation and can change over time. Common income categories include:

  • alimony
  • bonuses
  • child support
  • disability benefits
  • interest and dividends
  • rents and royalties
  • retirement income
  • salaries/wages
  • Social Security
  • tips

General expense categories include:

  • childcare/eldercare
  • debt payments – car loan, student loan, credit card
  • education – tuition, day care, books, supplies
  • entertainment and recreation – sports, hobbies, movies, DVDs, concerts, Netflix
  • food – groceries, dining out
  • giving – birthdays, holidays, charitable contributions
  • housing – mortgage or rent, maintenance
  • insurance – health, home/renters, auto, life
  • medical/healthcare – doctors, dentist, prescription medications, other known expenses
  • personal – clothing, hair care, gym, professional dues
  • savings – retirement, education, emergency fund, specific goals (i.e. vacation)
  • special occasions – weddings, anniversaries, graduation, transportation – gas, taxis, subway, tolls, parking
  • utilities – phone, electric, water, gas, cell, cable, Internet

Once you’ve made the appropriate projections, subtract your expenses from your income. If you have money left over, you have a surplus and you can decide how to spend, save or invest the money. If your expenses exceed your income, however, you will have to adjust your budget by increasing your income (adding more hours at work or picking up a second job) or by reducing your expenses.

To really understand where you are financially, and to figure out how to get where you want to be, do the math: Calculate both your net worth and a personal budget on a regular basis. This may seem abundantly obvious to some, but people’s failure to lay out and stick to a detailed budget is the root cause of excessive spending and overwhelming debt. 

  1. Recognize and Manage Lifestyle Inflation

Most individuals will spend more money if they have more money to spend. As people advance in their careers and earn higher salaries, there tends to be a corresponding increase in spending, a phenomenon known as lifestyle inflation. Even though you might be able to pay your bills, lifestyle inflation can be damaging in the long run because it limits your ability to build wealth: Every extra dollar you spend now means less money later and during retirement (see How to Manage Lifestyle Inflation).

One of the main reasons people allow lifestyle inflation to sabotage their finances is their desire to keep up with the Joneses. It’s not uncommon for people to feel the need to match their friends’ and co-worker’s spending habits. If your peers drive BMWs, vacation at exclusive resorts and dine at expensive restaurants, you might feel pressured to do the same. What is easy to overlook is that in many cases the Joneses are actually servicing a lot of debt – over a period of decades – to maintain their wealthy appearance. Despite their wealthy “glow” – the boat, the fancy cars, the expensive vacations, the private schools for the kids – the Joneses might be living pay check to pay check and not saving a dime for retirement.

As your professional and personal situation evolves over time, some increases in spending are natural. You might need to upgrade your wardrobe to dress appropriately for a new position, or, as your family grows, you might need a house with more bedrooms. And with more responsibilities at work, you might find that it makes sense to hire someone to mow the lawn or clean the house, freeing up time to spend with family and friends and improving your quality of life. 

  1. Recognize Needs vs. Wants – and Spend Mindfully

Unless you have an unlimited amount of money, it’s in your best interest to be mindful of the difference between needs and wants so you can make better spending choices. “Needs” are things you have to have in order to survive: food, shelter, healthcare, transportation, a reasonable amount of clothing (many people include savings as a need, whether that’s a set 10% of their income or whatever they can afford to set aside each month). Conversely, “wants” are things you would like to have, but that you don’t need for survival.

It can be challenging to accurately label expenses as either needs or wants, and for many, the line gets blurred between the two. When this happens, it can be easy to rationalize away an unnecessary or extravagant purchase by calling it a need. A car is a good example. You need a car to get to work and take the kids to school. You want the luxury edition SUV that costs twice as much as a more practical car (and costs you more in gas). You could try and call the SUV a “need” because you do, in fact, need a car, but it’s still a want. Any difference in price between a more economical vehicle and the luxury SUV is money that you didn’t have to spend.

Your needs should get top priority in your personal budget. Only after your needs have been met should you allocate any discretionary income toward wants. And again, if you do have money left over each week or each month after paying for the things you really need, you don’t have to spend it all.

  1. Start Saving Early

It’s often said that it’s never too late to start saving for retirement. That may be true (technically), but the sooner you start, the better off you’ll likely be during your retirement years. This is because of the power of compounding – what Albert Einstein called the “eighth wonder of the world.”

Compounding involves the reinvestment of earnings, and it is most successful over time: The longer earnings are reinvested, the greater the value of the investment, and the larger the earnings will (hypothetically) be.

To illustrate the importance of starting early, assume you want to save R1,000,000 by the time you turn 60. If you start saving when you are 20 years old, you would have to contribute R655.30 a month – a total of R314,544 over 40 years – to be a millionaire by the time you hit 60. If you waited until you were 40, your monthly contribution would bump up to R2,432.89 – a total of R583,894 over 20 years. Wait until 50 and you’d have to come up with R6,439.88 each month – equal to R772,786 over the 10 years. (These figures are based on an investment rate of 5% and no initial investment. Please keep in mind, they are for illustrative purposes only and do not take into consideration actual returns, taxes or other factors). The sooner you start, the easier it is to reach your long-term financial goals. You will need to save less each month, and contribute less overall, to reach the same goal in the future.

  1. Build and Maintain an Emergency Fund

An emergency fund is just what the name implies: money that has been set aside for emergency purposes. The fund is intended to help you pay for things that wouldn’t normally be included in your personal budget: unexpected expenses such as car repairs or an emergency trip to the dentist. It can also help you pay your regular expenses if your income is interrupted; for example, if an illness or injury prevents you from working or if you lose your job.

Although the traditional guideline is to save three to six months’ worth of living expenses in an emergency fund, the unfortunate reality is that this amount would fall short of what many people would need to cover a big expense or weather a loss in income. In today’s uncertain economic environment, most people should aim for saving at least six months’ worth of living expenses – more if possible. Putting this as a regular expense item in your personal budget is the best way to ensure that you are saving for emergencies and not spending that money frivolously.

Keep in mind that establishing an emergency backup is an ongoing mission (see Building an Emergency Fund): Odds are, as soon as it is funded you will need it for something. Instead of being dejected about this, be glad that you were financially prepared and start the process of building the fund again. 

 

The Bottom Line

Personal finance rules-of-thumb can be excellent tools for achieving financial success. But It’s important to consider the big picture and build habits that help you make better financial choices, leading to better financial health. Without good overall habits, it will be difficult to obey detailed adages like “never withdraw more than 4% a year to make sure your retirement lasts” or “save 20 times your gross income for a comfortable retirement.”

Read more: Five Rules to Improve Your Financial Health | Investopedia https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/111813/five-rules-improve-your-financial-health.asp#ixzz53mCl5MEj

HIV Day 2017

 

HIV Poster SSP 2017.jpg

What is the prevalence of HIV in South Africa?

Sub-Saharan Africa is the region worst-affected by HIV and AIDS.  HIV/AIDS in South Africa is a prominent health concern; South Africa has the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS compared to any other country in the world with 5,6 million people living with HIV, and 270,000 HIV related deaths recorded in 2011.  (UNAIDS)

The HIV prevalence for South Africa is the percentage of people that are HIV positive in the population out of the total population at a given point in time. One of the main HIV statistics for South Africa is that by the middle of 2017, 12.6% of the population, that is 7.06 million people are HIV positive.1Statistics South Africa  Mid-year population estimates 2017 www.statssa.gov.za

There are 1.86 million more People Living with HIV (PLHIV) than in 2008, when the percentage was 10.6, that is 5.2 million people. The increased prevalence of HIV in 2017 is largely due to the combined effect of new infections, and a successfully expanded ARV treatment programme, which has increased survival among people living with HIV.

Looking at the total population, the prevalence in women aged 15-49 is 21.17%, the prevalence in adults aged 15-49 is 17.98% and the prevalence among youth aged 15-24 is 4.64%.2Statistics South Africa  Mid-year population estimates 2017 www.statssa.gov.za

Overall women had a significant higher HIV prevalence than men. The prevalence of HIV was highest among women aged 30-34 and among men aged 35-39. In the teenage population the estimated HIV prevalence among women was eight times that of their male equivalents. This suggests that female teenagers aged 15-19 are more likely than their male equivalents to have sex, not with people in the same age group, but with older sex partners. In the age group 30-35 over one third of all women were estimated to be HIV positive.

 

Why is the South African HIV/AIDS prevalence so high?

Many factors contribute to the spread of HIV. These include: poverty; inequality and social instability; high levels of sexually transmitted infections; the low status of women; sexual violence; high mobility (particularly migrant labour); limited and uneven access to quality medical care; and a history of poor leadership in the response to the epidemic.

Research shows high levels of knowledge about the means of transmission of HIV and understanding of methods of prevention. However, this does not translate into HIV-preventive behaviour. Behaviour change and social change are long-term processes, and the factors that predispose people to infection – such as poverty and inequality, patriarchy and illiteracy – cannot be addressed in the short term. Vulnerability to, and the impact of, the epidemic is proving to be most catastrophic at community and household level.

How has this affected the everyday lives of South Africans?

The hardship for those infected and their families begins long before people die. Stigma and denial related to suspected infection cause many people to delay or refuse testing; fear and despair often follow diagnosis, due to poor-quality counselling and lack of support; poverty prevents many infected people from maintaining adequate nutrition to help prevent the onset of illness; limited access to clinics, waiting lists for ARV treatment programmes and eligibility criteria for access to ARVs mean that many people become seriously ill before accessing treatment; loss of income and support when a breadwinner or caregiver becomes ill, and the diversion of household resources to provide care exacerbate poverty; the burden upon family members, particularly children and older people caring for terminally ill adults, and the trauma of bereavement and orphan hood compromise the physical and mental well-being of entire households. This all happens in a society where the majority of children live in poverty and more than 25% of the economically active population is unemployed.

Women face a greater risk of HIV infection. On average in South Africa there are three women infected with HIV for every two men who are infected. The difference is greatest in the 15-24 age group, where three young women for every one young man are infected.

However, South Africa has made positive strides in managing the HIV and AIDS epidemic since the end of 2008. The numbers of people on antiretroviral treatment has increased dramatically to   1 900 000 and there were 100 000 fewer Aids-related deaths in 2011 than in 2005.

What are the proposed solutions?

For many years, the burden of care and support has fallen heavily on the shoulders of impoverished rural communities, where sick family members return when they can no longer work or care for themselves. Community-based care has been promoted as the best option since it would be impossible to care properly for hundreds of thousands of people dying from AIDS in public hospitals. The resilience and capacity to care for dying people and provide for those they leave behind in impoverished communities is extremely overstretched. There remains an acute need for social protection and interventions to support the most vulnerable communities and households affected by this epidemic. The challenge we still face is that people are not testing timeously therefore only once they are very ill at quite a late stage of disease progression do they only realise that they are HIV positive. The central focus remains that we continue to mobilise an increased uptake in HIV testing and counseling, behaviour change communication and combination prevention and treatment.

For more contextual information about HIV/AIDS in South Africa click here: Useful Links

Source: https://www.aids.org.za/hivaids-in-south-africa

16 Days of Activism Against the Domestic Violence and Abuse of Women and Children

Domestic Violence SSP Poster 2017

South Africa has one of the highest incidences of domestic violence in the world. And, sadly, domestic violence is the most common and widespread human rights abuse in South Africa. Every day, women are murdered, physically and sexually assaulted, threatened and humiliated by their partners, within their own homes.

Organisations estimate that one out of every six woman in South Africa is regularly assaulted by her partner. In at least 46 per cent of cases, the men involved also abuse the children living with the woman. Although the exact percentages are disputed, there is a large body of cross-cultural evidence that women are subjected to domestic violence significantly more than men.

In addition, there is broad consensus that women are more often subjected to severe forms of abuse and are more likely to be injured by an abusive partner. Determining how many instances of domestic violence actually involve male victims is difficult. Some studies have shown that women who assault their male partners are more likely to avoid arrest even when the male victim contacts the police.

Another study concluded that female perpetrators are viewed by law enforcement as the victims rather than the actual offenders of violence against men. Other studies have also demonstrated a high degree of community acceptance of aggression against men by women. Domestic violence also occurs in same-sex relationships. Gay and lesbian relationships have been identified as risk factors for abuse in certain populations. Historically, domestic violence has been seen as a family issue and little interest has been directed at violence in same-sex relationships.

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviour that transgresses the right of citizens to be free from violence. When one partner in a relationship harms the other to obtain or maintain power and control over them, regardless of whether they are married or unmarried, living together or apart, that is domestic violence. The ‘harm’ can take a variety of forms, whether it be from verbal abuse like shouting, emotional abuse like manipulation, control and/or humiliation, physical abuse like hitting and/or punching, and/or sexual abuse like rape and/or inappropriate touching of either the woman or her children. Domestic Violence Act 116 of 1998 Domestic violence is regulated by the Domestic Violence Act 116 of 1998.

The Act was introduced in 1998 with the purpose of affording women protection from domestic violence by creating obligations on law enforcement bodies, such as the South African Police Service (SAPS), to protect victims as far as possible. The Act attempts to provide victims of domestic violence with an accessible legal instrument with which to prevent further abuses taking place within their domestic relationships.

The Act recognises that domestic violence is a serious crime against our society, and extends the definition of domestic violence to include not only married women and their children, but also unmarried women who are involved in relationships or living with their partners, people in same-sex relationships, mothers and their sons, and other people who share a living space.

Types of domestic violence Domestic violence can take a variety of forms and generally includes the following acts: Physical abuse Any act or threat of physical violence intended to cause physical pain, injury, suffering or bodily harm. Physical abuse can include hitting, slapping, punching, choking, pushing and any other type of contact that results in physical injury to the victim. Physical abuse can also include behaviours such as denying the victim medical care when needed, depriving the victim of sleep or other functions necessary to live, or forcing the victim to engage in drug/alcohol use against his/her will. It can also include inflicting physical injury onto other targets, such as children or pets, in order to cause psychological harm to the victim. Sexual abuse Any conduct that abuses, humiliates, degrades or otherwise violates the sexual integrity of the victim. Sexual abuse is any situation in which force or threat is used to obtain participation in unwanted sexual activity.

Coercing a person to engage in sexual activity against their will, even if that person is a spouse or intimate partner with whom consensual sex has occurred previously, is an act of aggression and violence. Sexual violence is defined by the World Health Organization as: any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or acts to traffic, or otherwise directed, against a person’s sexuality using coercion, by any person regardless of their relationship to the victim, in any setting, including but not limited to home and work. Marital rape, also known as spousal rape, is non-consensual sex in which the perpetrator is the victim’s spouse. As such, it is a form of partner rape, and amounts to domestic violence and sexual abuse. Marital rape has been described as one of the most serious violations of a women’s bodily integrity and yet it is a term that many people still have a problem comprehending, with some still describing it as a ‘contradiction in terms’.

Emotional, verbal and psychological abuse Usually a pattern of degrading or humiliating conduct towards the victim privately or publicly, including repeated insults, ridicule, name calling and/or repeated threats to cause emotional pain; or the repeated exhibition of obsessive possessiveness or jealousy, which is such as to constitute a serious invasion of the victim’s privacy, liberty, integrity and/or security. Other acts that fall under emotional abuse include controlling what the victim can and cannot do, withholding information from the victim, deliberately doing something to make the victim feel diminished or embarrassed, isolating the victim from friends and family, implicitly blackmailing the victim by harming others when the victim expresses independence or happiness, and denying the victim access to money or other basic resources and necessities.

Emotional abuse includes conflicting actions or statements that are designed to confuse and create insecurity in the victim. These behaviours lead victims to question themselves, causing them to believe that they are making up the abuse or that the abuse is their fault. Emotional abuse also includes forceful efforts to isolate the victim, to keep them from contacting friends or family. This is intended to eliminate those who might try to help the victim leave the relationship and to create a lack of resources for the victim to rely on if they were to leave.

Isolation eventually damages the victim’s sense of internal strength, leaving them feeling helpless and unable to escape from the situation. Women and men undergoing emotional abuse often suffer from depression, which puts them at increased risk for suicide, eating disorders, and drug and alcohol abuse. Economic abuse Includes the unreasonable deprivation of economic or financial resources to which the victim is entitled under law or requires out of necessity, including household necessities, mortgage bond repayments, rent money in the case of a shared residence, and/or the unreasonable disposal of household effects or other property in which the victim has an interest. Economic abuse may involve preventing a victim from resource acquisition, limiting the amount of resources available to him/her, or exploiting the victim’s economic resources.

The motive behind preventing a victim from acquiring resources is to diminish his/her capacity to support him/herself, thus forcing the victim to depend on the perpetrator financially. In this way, the perpetrator can prevent the victim from obtaining education, finding employment, maintaining or advancing a career and acquiring assets. The abuser may also put the victim on an allowance and closely monitor how he/she spends money. Sometimes the abuser will spend the victim’s money without his/her consent and create debt, or even completely spend the victim’s savings to limit available resources. Intimidation Uttering or conveying a threat, or causing a victim to receive a threat, which induces fear.

The abuser may use a variety of intimidation tactics designed to scare the victim into submission. Such tactics may include smashing things in front of the victim, destroying property, hurting the victim’s pets or showing off a weapon. The clear message is that if the victim doesn’t obey, there might be violent consequences. Harassment Engaging in a pattern of conduct that induces a fear of harm in the victim, including repeatedly watching the victim; loitering outside of or near the building/place where the victim resides, works, carries out business, studies or happens to be; repeatedly making telephone calls or inducing another person to make telephone calls to the victim, whether or not conversation ensues; repeatedly sending, delivering or causing the delivery of letters, emails, texts, packages or other objects to the victim.

Stalking There is no real legal definition of stalking. Neither is there any specific legislation to address this behaviour. The term is used to define a particular kind of harassment. Generally, it refers to a long-term pattern of persistent and repetitive contact with, or attempts to contact, a particular victim. Examples of the types of conduct often associated with stalking include: direct communication; physical following; indirect contact through friends, work colleagues, family or technology (email or SMS); and other intrusions into the victim’s privacy. The abuse may also take place on social networks like Facebook, on-line forums, Twitter, instant messaging, SMS, BBM or via chat software. The stalker may use websites to post offensive material, create fake profiles or even make a dedicated website about the victim. Damage to property

  • Wilful damaging or destruction of property belonging to the victim or in which the victim has a vested interest.
  • Entry into property
  • Entry into the victim’s residence without consent, where the parties do not share the same residence.
  • Any other controlling or abusive behaviour

Any conduct that harms, or may cause imminent harm to, the safety, health or well being of the victim. ‘Imminent harm’ includes situations where:

  • the perpetrator is in the possession of a firearm and has threatened to use the firearm against the victim, or her dependants or other family members;
  • the perpetrator has used a weapon against the victim in previous incidences of domestic violence (not restricted to dangerous weapons, such as firearms or knives);
  • the victim was critically injured by the perpetrator on a previous occasion, or on the occasion in question;
  • the victim and her children have been ‘kicked out’ of the shared residence by the perpetrator or anyone affiliated with him;
  • the victim has sufficient evidence (i.e. witness statements) that the perpetrator has threatened to harm her; and
  • the victim fears for the safety of her children.

The protection order A protection order, also called a restraining order or domestic violence interdict, is a court order that tells an abuser to stop the abuse and sets certain conditions preventing the abuser from harassing or abusing the victim again. It may also help ensure that the abuser continues to pay rent or a bond or interim maintenance. The protection order may also prevent the abuser from getting help from any other person to commit abusive acts. Helpful organisations: FAMSA has offices nationwide and gives counselling to the abused and their families. To find your nearest FAMSA branch, call 011 975 7101, email national@famsa.org.za or visit their website http://www.famsa.org.za. Lifeline provides 24-hour counselling services. Call the SA National Counselling Line on 0861 322 322. People Opposing Women Abuse or POWA provides telephonic, counselling and legal support to women experiencing abuse. POWA also accompanies women to court and assists them in filling out documents. Call the POWA helpline on 083 765 1235 or visit http://www.powa.co.za. Legal Aid South Africa offers legal assistance. To locate your nearest Justice Centre, call 0861 053 425 or visit http://www.legal-aid.co.za. Rape Crisis offers free confidential counselling to people who have been raped or sexually assaulted. Call 011 642 4345. SAPS 10111 University campus law clinics also offer legal assistance.

Steps to obtain a protection order: Apply for a protection order at a Magistrates Court nearest to where you live and work, at any time, during and outside court hours as well as on public holidays or weekends. First, apply for the Interim Protection Order by completing Form 6: Interim Protection Order at your nearest Magistrate’s Court or High Court.  Once you have applied for the Interim Protection Order, complete Form 2: Application for Protection Order at your nearest Magistrate’s Court or High Court. The application must be made by way of an affidavit which states the:

  • facts on which the application is based
  • nature of the order
  • name of the police station where the complainant is likely to report any breach of the protection order.

Where the application is brought on behalf of a complainant by another person, the affidavit must state the:

  • grounds on which the other person has a material interest in the well-being of the complainant
  • occupation of the other person and capacity in which such a person brings the application
  • written consent of the complainant, except in cases where the complainant is a minor, mentally retarded, unconscious or a person whom the court is satisfied that he or she is unable to provide the required consent.

On receipt of the form, the clerk will send your application to the magistrate who will then set a date for you to return to court, so that your application can be considered. The magistrate will also prepare a notice to inform the abuser about the protection order and when he or she should come to court.  After the court appearance, the magistrate may grant the protection order.
Forms:

 

Source: http://www.justice.gov.za/

World Children’s Day 2017

Children's Day Poster 2017

 

United Nations Universal Children’s Day was established in 1954 and is celebrated on November 20th each year to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children’s welfare.

November 20th is an important date as it is the date in 1959 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. It is also the date in 1989 when the UN General assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Since 1990, Universal Children’s Day also marks the anniversary of the date that the UN General Assembly adopted both the declaration and the convention on children’s rights.

Mothers and fathers, teachers, nurses and doctors, government leaders and civil society activists, religious and community elders, corporate moguls and media professionals as well as young people and children themselves can play an important part in making Universal Children’s Day relevant for their societies, communities and nations.

Universal Children’s Day offers each of us an inspirational entry-point to advocate, promote and celebrate children’s rights, translating into dialogues and actions that will build a better world for Children.

2017: It’s a #KidsTakeOver

To celebrate this year’s Universal Children’s Day, UNICEF has invited children from around the world taking over key roles in media, politics, business, sport and entertainment to voice their support for millions of their peers who are unschooled, unprotected and uprooted on 20th November.

Read more about Children’s Day 2017 here: http://www.un.org/en/events/childrenday/

Burnout Prevention and Treatment

Techniques for Dealing with Overwhelming Stress

If constant stress has you feeling helpless, disillusioned, and completely exhausted, you may be on the road to burnout. When you’re burned out, problems seem insurmountable, everything looks bleak, and it’s difficult to muster up the energy to care—let alone do something to help yourself. The unhappiness and detachment that burnout causes can threaten your job, your relationships, and your health. But by recognizing the earliest warning signs, you can take steps to prevent burnout. Or if you’ve already hit breaking point, there are plenty of things you can do to regain your balance and start to feel positive and hopeful again.

What is burnout?

Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, you begin to lose the interest and motivation that led you to take on a certain role in the first place.

Burnout reduces productivity and saps your energy, leaving you feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful. Eventually, you may feel like you have nothing more to give.

The effects of burnout

The negative effects of burnout spill over into every area of life—including your home, work, and social life. Burnout can also cause long-term changes to your body that make you vulnerable to illnesses like colds and flu. Because of its many consequences, it’s important to deal with burnout right away.

Are you on the road to burnout?

You may be on the road to burnout if:

  • Everyday is a bad day.
  • Caring about your work or home life seems like a total waste of energy.
  • You’re exhausted all the time.
  • The majority of your day is spent on tasks you find either mind-numbingly dull or overwhelming.
  • You feel like nothing you do makes a difference or is appreciated.

Signs and symptoms of burnout

Most of us have days when we feel helpless, overloaded, or unappreciated—when dragging ourselves out of bed requires the determination of Hercules. If you feel like this most of the time, however, you may have burnout.

Burnout is a gradual process. The signs and symptoms are subtle at first, but they get worse as time goes on. Think of the early symptoms as red flags that something is wrong that needs to be addressed. If you pay attention and act to reduce your stress, you can prevent a major breakdown. If you ignore them, you’ll eventually burn out.

Physical signs and symptoms of burnout

  • Feeling tired and drained most of the time
  • Lowered immunity, getting sick a lot
  • Frequent headaches or muscle pain
  • Change in appetite or sleep habits

Emotional signs and symptoms of burnout

  • Sense of failure and self-doubt
  • Feeling helpless, trapped, and defeated
  • Detachment, feeling alone in the world
  • Loss of motivation
  • Increasingly cynical and negative outlook
  • Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment

Behavioral signs and symptoms of burnout

  • Withdrawing from responsibilities
  • Isolating yourself from others
  • Procrastinating, taking longer to get things done
  • Using food, drugs, or alcohol to cope
  • Taking out your frustrations on others
  • Skipping work or coming in late and leaving early

The difference between stress and burnout

Burnout may be the result of unrelenting stress, but it isn’t the same as too much stress. Stress, by and large, involves too much: too many pressures that demand too much of you physically and psychologically. Stressed people can still imagine, though, that if they can just get everything under control, they’ll feel better.

Burnout, on the other hand, is about not enough. Being burned out means feeling empty, devoid of motivation, and beyond caring. People experiencing burnout often don’t see any hope of positive change in their situations. If excessive stress is like drowning in responsibilities, burnout is being all dried up. And while you’re usually aware of being under a lot of stress, you don’t always notice burnout when it happens.

Stress vs. Burnout
Stress Burnout
Characterized by over engagement Characterized by disengagement
Emotions are overreactive Emotions are blunted
Produces urgency and hyperactivity Produces helplessness and hopelessness
Loss of energy Loss of motivation, ideals, and hope
Leads to anxiety disorders Leads to detachment and depression
Primary damage is physical Primary damage is emotional
May kill you prematurely May make life seem not worth living
Source: Stress and Burnout in Ministry

Causes of burnout

Burnout often stems from your job. But anyone who feels overworked and undervalued is at risk for burnout—from the hardworking office worker who hasn’t had a vacation in years, to the frazzled stay-at-home mom struggling to care for kids, housework, and an aging parent.

Your lifestyle and personality traits can also contribute to burnout. What you do in your downtime and how you look at the world can play just as big of a role in causing burnout as work or home demands.

Work-related causes of burnout

  • Feeling like you have little or no control over your work
  • Lack of recognition or reward for good work
  • Unclear or overly demanding job expectations
  • Doing work that’s monotonous or unchallenging
  • Working in a chaotic or high-pressure environment

Lifestyle causes of burnout

  • Working too much, without enough time for socializing or relaxing
  • Lack of close, supportive relationships
  • Taking on too many responsibilities, without enough help from others
  • Not getting enough sleep

Personality traits can contribute to burnout

  • Perfectionistic tendencies; nothing is ever good enough
  • Pessimistic view of yourself and the world
  • The need to be in control; reluctance to delegate to others
  • High-achieving, Type A personality

Sound familiar?

Whether you recognize the warning signs of impending burnout or you’re already past the breaking point, trying to push through the exhaustion and continuing as you have been will only cause further emotional and physical damage. Now is the time to pause and change direction by learning how you can help yourself overcome burnout and feel healthy and positive again.

To deal with burnout, turn to other people

When you’re on the road to burnout, you can feel helpless. But you have a lot more control over stress than you may think. There are positive steps you can take to deal with burnout and get your life back into balance. One of the most effective is to reach out to others.

Social contact is nature’s antidote to stress

Talking face to face with a good listener is one of the fastest ways to calm your nervous system and relieve stress. The person you talk to doesn’t have to be able to “fix” your stressors; they just have to be a good listener, someone who’ll listen attentively without being distracted or judging you.

Opening up won’t make you a burden to others. In fact, most friends and loved ones will be flattered that you trust them enough to confide in them, and it will only strengthen your friendship.

Tips for combating burnout with positive relationships

Invest in your closest relationships, such as those with your partner, children or friends. Try to put aside what’s burning you out and make the time you spend with loved ones positive and enjoyable.

Try to be more sociable with your co-workers. Developing friendships with people you work with can help buffer you from job burnout. When you take a break, for example, instead of directing your attention to your smart phone, try engaging your colleagues. Or schedule social events together after work.

Limit your contact with negative people. Hanging out with negative-minded people who do nothing but complain will only drag down your mood and outlook. If you have to work with a negative person, try to limit the amount of time you have to spend together.

Connect with a cause or a community group that is personally meaningful to you. Joining a religious, social, or support group can give you a place to talk to like-minded people about how to deal with daily stress — and to make new friends. If your line of work has a professional association, you can attend meetings and interact with others coping with the same workplace demands.

If you don’t feel that you have anyone to turn to, it’s never too late to build new friendships and expand your social network.

The power of giving

Being helpful to others delivers immense pleasure and can help to significantly reduce stress as well as broaden your social circle.

While it’s important not to take on too much when you’re facing burnout, helping others doesn’t have to involve a lot of time or effort. Even small things like a kind word or friendly smile can make you feel good and help lower stress—for you and the other person.

Reframe the way you look at work

Whether you have a job that leaves you rushed off your feet or one that is monotonous and unfulfilling, the most effective way to combat job burnout is to quit and find a job you love instead. Of course, for many of us changing job or career is far from being a practical solution—we’re grateful just to have work to pay the bills. Whatever your situation, though, there are still things you can do to improve your state of mind.

Try to find some value in what you do. Even in some mundane jobs, you can often focus on how what you do helps others, for example, or provides a much-needed product or service. Focus on aspects of the job that you do enjoy—even if it’s just chatting with your coworkers at lunch. Changing your attitude towards your job can help you regain a sense of purpose and control.

Find balance in your life. If you hate your job, look for meaning and satisfaction elsewhere in your life: in your family, friends, hobbies, or voluntary work. Focus on the parts of your life that bring you joy.

Make friends at work. Having strong ties in the workplace can help reduce monotony and counter the effects of burnout. Having friends to chat and joke with during the day can help relieve stress from an unfulfilling or demanding job, improve your job performance, or simply get you through a rough day.

Take time off. If burnout seems inevitable, try to take a complete break from work. Go on vacation, use up your sick days, ask for a temporary leave-of-absence—anything to remove yourself from the situation. Use the time away to recharge your batteries and pursue other burnout recovery steps.

Re-evaluate priorities

Burnout is an undeniable sign that something important in your life is not working. Take time to think about your hopes, goals, and dreams. Are you neglecting something that is truly important to you? Burnout can be an opportunity to rediscover what really makes you happy and to slow down and give yourself time to rest, reflect, and heal.

Set boundaries. Don’t overextend yourself. Learn how to say “no” to requests on your time. If you find this difficult, remind yourself that saying “no” allows you to say “yes” to the things that you truly want to do.

Take a daily break from technology. Set a time each day when you completely disconnect. Put away your laptop, turn off your phone, and stop checking email.

Nourish your creative side. Creativity is a powerful antidote to burnout. Try something new, start a fun project, or resume a favorite hobby. Choose activities that have nothing to do with work.

Set aside relaxation time. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing activate the body’s relaxation response, a state of restfulness that is the opposite of the stress response.

Get plenty of sleep. Feeling tired can exacerbate burnout by causing you to think irrationally. Keep your cool in stressful situations by getting a good night’s sleep.

Boost your ability to stay on task

If you’re having trouble following through with these self-help tips to prevent or overcome burnout, HelpGuide’s free emotional intelligence toolkit can help.

  • Learn how to reduce stress in the moment.
  • Manage troublesome thoughts and feelings.
  • Motivate yourself to take the steps that can relieve stress and burnout.
  • Improve your relationships at work and home.
  • Rediscover joy and meaning that make work—and life—worthwhile.
  • Increase your overall health and happiness.

Make exercise a priority

Even though it may be the last thing you feel like doing when you’re burned out, exercise is a powerful antidote to stress and burnout. It’s also something you can do right now to boost your mood.

  • Aim to exercise for 30 minutes or more per day—or break that up into short, 10-minute bursts of activity. A 10-minute walk can improve your mood for two hours.
  • Rhythmic exercise—where you move both your arms and legs—is a hugely effective way to lift your mood, increase energy, sharpen focus, and relax both the mind and body. Try walking, running, weight training, swimming, martial arts, or even dancing.
  • To maximize stress relief, instead of continuing to focus on your thoughts, focus on your body and how it feels as you move—the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, for example, or the wind on your skin.

Support your mood and energy levels by eating a healthy diet

What you put in your body can have a huge impact on your mood and energy levels throughout the day.

Minimize sugar and refined carbs. You may crave sugary snacks or comfort foods such as pasta or French fries, but these high-carbohydrate foods quickly lead to a crash in mood and energy.

Reduce your high intake of foods that can adversely affect your mood, such as caffeine, trans fats, and foods with chemical preservatives or hormones.

Eat more Omega-3 fatty acids to give your mood a boost. The best sources are fatty fish (salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines), seaweed, flaxseed, and walnuts.

Avoid nicotine. Smoking when you’re feeling stressed may seem calming, but nicotine is a powerful stimulant, leading to higher, not lower, levels of anxiety.

Drink alcohol in moderation. Alcohol temporarily reduces worry, but too much can cause anxiety as it wears off.

 

 

 

Breast Cancer Month 2017

An Overview of Breast Cancer

By Jean Campbell, MS | Reviewed by a board-certified physician

Breast Cancer Month SSP 2017

Breast cancer occurs as normal cells in tissue start to grow and divide in an out of control manner. As they grow, the cells often, but not always, form a tumor in the breast that can be detected in a mammogram before it can be felt as a lump or thickening.

It is important to note that not all lumps in the breast are breast cancer, and not all breast cancers present with a lump. However, all lumps or thickenings in the breast need medical attention to determine whether they are one of many benign lumps that can occur in the breast or are truly a cancer.

Breast cancer is not a single disease; research evidence continues to indicate that there are a number of subtypes of breast cancer. They happen at varying rates in different groups and respond differently to treatments. Some are more aggressive than others and have very different long-term survival rates.

Common Breast Cancers

Breast cancer most often originates in the breast ducts that carry milk to the nipple.

These types, called ductal cancers, account for about 80 percent of all breast cancers. Lobular cancer begins in the glands (lobules) that produce breast milk and accounts for about 8 percent of all breast cancers.

When a cancer is confined within a breast duct or the cells of the lobules it is called in situ, meaning ‘in site.’ Cancers that break through the wall of a duct or the cells of the lobules and spread into the surrounding breast tissue are described as invasive or infiltrating breast cancers.

Other Breast Cancers

Inflammatory breast cancer is considered a rare but aggressive cancer that presents without a lump and results in the affected breast(s) having a swollen, red, or inflamed appearance.

Paget’s disease of the breast, which is also rare, involves the skin of the nipple and, usually, the darker circle of skin around the nipple.

Metastatic breast cancer, which is also known as stage IV breast cancer, is a cancer that begins in the breast and spreads to distant organs such as the brain, bones, lungs, and liver. About 6 percent to 8 percent of women and men are metastatic when first diagnosed. Metastatic cancer, when it occurs, is usually diagnosed months to years after being treated for an early stage cancer.

Who Gets Breast Cancer?

If you have breast tissue, you can develop a breast cancer. While primarily occurring in women, with 1 in 8 women in the United States developing an invasive breast cancer during her lifetime, men do get breast cancer too.

After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women living in the United States; unfortunately, breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, with the exception of lung cancer.

 

Article

The Voices of Male Breast Cancer

 

Article

The Nipple, Areola, and Montgomery Glands Make up the Outer Breast

 

According to the National Cancer Institute, the incidence of breast cancer is highest in white women for most age groups, followed by African-American/black, Hispanic/Latina, Asian/Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native women.

African-American women have higher breast cancer incidence rates before 40 years of age, and higher rates of dying from breast cancer than women of any other racial/ethnic group in the United States at every age. Hispanic/Latina women tend to get breast cancer at a younger age than non-Hispanic white women.

Factors That Increase the Risk of Developing Breast Cancer

Aging: A woman’s chances of getting breast cancer increase as she ages.

Family History: A woman who has a mother, sister, or daughter diagnosed with breast cancer has double the risk of developing breast cancer than a woman who does not have a first-degree relative that was diagnosed with the disease. Note: About 85 percent of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer.

Genetics: Five percent to 10 percent of all breast cancers can be linked to women and men with gene mutations that were inherited from their mother or father. The BRCA 1 and 2 genes are the most common. Having either of these mutations substantially increases the lifetime risk of breast cancer. These mutations also carry an increased risk of ovarian cancer in women.

Dense Breasts: Women who have a high percentage of breast tissue that appears dense on a mammogram have a higher risk of breast cancer than women of similar age who have little or no dense breast tissue. Abnormalities in dense breasts, such as tumors, can be more difficult to detect on a mammogram.

Race: In the United States, breast cancer is diagnosed more often in white women and least often in Alaska Native women.

Behaviors That Increase the Risk for Developing Breast Cancer

Weight: Studies have found that the chance of getting breast cancer is higher in postmenopausal women who have not used menopausal hormone therapy and who are significantly overweight compared to peers who are of a healthy weight.

 

Article

Does a False Positive Mammogram Indicate Future Breast Cancer?

 

 

Article

What to Know About Breast Cancer Symptoms

 

Smoking: Researchers at the American Cancer Society found an increased risk for breast cancer among women who smoke, especially those who started to smoke before having their first child.

Alcohol: The National Cancer Institute reports that over 100 studies document an increased risk of breast cancer associated with alcohol consumption.

Inactive Lifestyle: Women who are physically inactive throughout life may have an increased risk of breast cancer.

What Should You Know to Lower Your Risk of Breast Cancer?

Breast Cancer Symptoms

Remember that noticing these symptoms may not mean that breast cancer is to blame. That said, if you are experiencing any, it’s important to bring them to your doctor’s attention.

  • A breast lump
  • Breast pain: That said, breast cancer is usually painless during its early stages. Pain in the breast can be caused by a number of different non-cancerous breast conditions.
  • A noticeable change in the size or shape of a breast
  • Dimpling of skin on part of the breast (like an orange peel)
  • Redness or a rash-like appearance to the skin on the breast: It may resemble mastitis, an infection in the breast, which usually affects women who are breastfeeding.
  • Flaky or crusty looking skin around the nipple
  • Inward turning nipple
  • Nipple discharge (perhaps with blood)

How Breast Cancer Is Diagnosed

A routine mammogram or the results of a physical exam may indicate something suspicious for breast cancer. The only way to confirm a diagnosis of breast cancer is to do a biopsy and take a sample of the tissue from the area in question. The sample needs to be examined under a microscope by a pathologist who is a medical doctor to check for cancer cells. If cancer cells are found, the pathologist will assess the characteristics of the cancer and write a report on the findings.

The type of biopsy you get depends on several factors, including the tumor’s size and location, and how concerned your doctor is about it. Options include:

  • Fine Needle Aspiration: The procedure is performed by a breast surgeon or radiologist using a thin needle with a hollow center to extract a sample of cells from the area in question.
  • Core Needle Biopsy: This type of biopsy uses a larger hollow needle than one used in a fine needle aspiration to remove tissue samples.
  • Surgical Biopsy: During this biopsy, the surgeon uses a scalpel to cut through the skin to remove a piece of the tissue in question to be examined by the pathologist.

Explore our Breast Cancer Diagnosis section for more in-depth information on tests and screenings.

How Breast Cancer Is Treated

While there are several options for the treatment of breast cancer, the kind and amount used for a particular case is determined by the type of cancer and extent to which it has spread. Usually, a woman or man diagnosed with breast cancer will receive more than one treatment.

  • Surgery: Most breast cancer patients have surgery to remove their cancer. Those with an early breast cancer often have the option of having breast conserving surgery to remove the lump and a margin of tissue surrounding the lump. This surgery is usually followed by radiation therapy.
  • Chemotherapy: When treatment requires a systemic approach to kill cancer cells that may have traveled beyond the breast or to shrink tumors prior to surgery, patients are treated with chemotherapy, which are special drugs that are taken in pill form or administered into a vein.
  • Hormonal Therapy: An oral medication that blocks cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow. It is frequently given to women and men following active treatment to prevent a recurrence.
  • Biological Therapy: Treatment that helps a patient’s immune system fight cancer cells.
  • Radiation Therapy: This treatment uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. The treatment is usually administered Monday through Friday for several weeks. Treatments are brief and painless.

Our Breast Cancer Treatment section delves into each of these in greater detail, and it’s a great place to start if you’re exploring options.

Early Detection and Intervention

Finding and treating breast cancer while it is still an early stage cancer, before it spreads beyond the breast and through the lymphatic system, offers the best possible prognosis.

Women and men with an early stage cancer are often candidates for breast conserving surgery, such as a lumpectomy, and may not need to have chemotherapy treatments.

Early detection requires:

  • Knowing what your breasts normally look and feel like, and reporting any changes or symptoms to your physician
  • Seeing your physician annually for a comprehensive breast exam
  • If you are under 40 years of age and have a family history of breast cancer, speaking with your physician as to when you need to begin annual mammograms and discuss the need for genetic counseling
  • If you are over 40 with no family history of breast cancer, getting regular mammograms. Note: Mammograms can detect a breast cancer years before it can be felt, while it is easier to treat.

­

There are more than 3 million of us in the United States today that once heard the words, “You have breast cancer.” We are living proof that breast cancer can be successfully treated. When breast cancer is caught at an early stage, it can be treated more conservatively and result in a shorter recovery time.

Sources:

American Cancer Society. What is Breast Cancer? Medical Review: 09/25/2014. Revised: May 4, 2016.

Centers for Disease Control. Risk Factors for Young Women. Reviewed: March 13, 2014 Updated: March 13, 2014.

National Cancer Institute. A Snapshot of Breast Cancer. Posted: November 5, 2014

 

 

http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/about-breast-cancer

http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/what-is-breast-cancer

https://www.verywell.com/breast-cancer-4014752