NEWS AND EVENTS

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08/Oct/2019

7 WAYS TO REDUCE YOUR RISK OF BREAST CANCER

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer is an abnormal growth of malignant cells (cancer cells) in the breast. It can occur in both men and women, but it’s far more common in women impacting over 2.1 million women each year.

In order to improve breast cancer outcomes and survival, early detection is critical. There are two early detection strategies for breast cancer: early diagnosis and screening.

 

How is it diagnosed?

Early diagnosis strategies focus on providing timely access to cancer treatment by reducing barriers to care and/or improving access to effective diagnosis services.

Screening consists of testing women to identify cancers before any symptoms appear. Breast cancer screening tools include:

  1. Mammography-is the process of using low-energy x-rays to examine the human breast for
    A mammogram image of a breast with cancer

    diagnosis and screening. Helps in early detection of breast cancer.

2. Clinical breast exam-it’s done by the healthcare provider. The provider visually checks your breasts while you are sitting up and physically examine your breast while you are lying down.

3. Breast self –exam-it involves checking your breasts for lumps or changes.

What are early warning signs of breast cancer?

Symptoms of breast tumors vary from person to person. Some common, early warning signs of breast cancer include:

  • Skin changes, such as swelling, redness, or other visible differences in one or both breasts
  • An increase in size or change in shape of the breast(s)
  • Breast Pain image

    Changes in the appearance of one or both nipples

  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk
  • General pain in/on any part of the breast
  • Lumps or nodes felt on or inside of the breast.

 

 

How does breast cancer develop?

Breast cancer occurs when some breast cells begin to grow abnormally. These cells divide more rapidly than healthy cells do and continue to accumulate, forming a lump or mass. Cells may spread (metastasize) through your breast to your lymph nodes or blood to other parts of your body.

 

What factors are associated with increased risk of breast cancer?

  • Family history of breast cancer-if you have a 1st degree relative who has had breast cancer you could be at a higher risk of getting breast cancer.
  • Personal history of breast cancer-if you have already been diagnosed with your risk of developing it again on the same or the other breast is higher.
  • Gender-women are more at risk of developing breast cancer than men.
  • Age-chances of getting breast cancer increases with age.
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding-women who have not had or had a full-term pregnancy after the age 30 have an increased risk of breast cancer. Women who have children breastfeeding may slightly lower their breast cancer risk
  • Obesity-being overweight is associated with increased risk of breast cancer because the extra fat cells makes estrogen which can cause extra breast cell growth. This extra cell growth increases the risk of breast cancer.
  • hormone replacement therapy drugs
  • Postmenopausal hormone therapy-women who take hormonal therapy combined with estrogen and progesterone to treat signs and symptoms of menopause have an increased risk of breast cancer.
  • Alcohol consumption-alcohol can limit your livers ability to control blood levels of hormone estrogen which in turn increases risk of breast cancer.
  • Menstrual history – women who started menstruating (having periods) younger than 12 years have a higher risk of breast cancer. Same is true for women who through menopause when they are older than 55 years.
  • Smoking cigarettes -it’s linked to a higher risk of breast cancer in younger and premenopausal women.

 

 How can we reduce your risk of breast cancer?

  1. Exercise –inactivity can raise breast cancer risk. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week.
  2. Limit postmenopausal hormone therapy– To reduce the risk of breast cancer, use the lowest dose of hormone therapy possible for the shortest amount of time. Talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of hormone therapy.
  3. Maintain a healthy weight-if you need to lose weight, ask your doctors about healthy strategies to accomplish this. Healthy weight helps to reduce the risk of breast cancer.
  4. Limit alcohol intake –drink alcohol in moderation; limit the amount of alcohol intake to no more than 3 to 4 drinks per week, if you choose to drink.
  5. Choose a healthy diet– it’s best to eat a highly plant dominated diet such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. Choose healthy fats such as olive oil, over butter and fish instead of red meat. Avoid processed food.
  6. Pregnancy and Breastfeeding-Studies have shown that breastfeeding, especially for more than 18 months can reduce breast cancer risk.
  7. Breast self-exam making changes in your daily life help reduce your risk of breast cancer. Ask your doctor about breast cancer screening and when to begin. If there is a new change, lump or other unusual signs in your breast, talk to your doctor promptly

 

Breast awareness can’t prevent breast cancer, but it may help you to better understand the normal changes that your breasts undergo and identify any unusual signs and symptoms.

References

  1. Medical-surgical nursing textbook by Brunner and Suddarth 12th edition.
  2. WHO. Https://www.who.int>preventionbreastcancer-who.
  3. Mayo clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org

 

Author:

Veronica Wanja – Nursing Officer


16/Jul/2019

WHAT IS HEPATITIS A?

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Although rare, hepatitis A can cause death in some people.

HOW IS IT TRANSMITTED?

Hepatitis  A can be got from contaminated food or water or from close contact with a person or object that’s infected including sexual encounters. It does not spread through sneezing or coughing.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

  • Fatigue
  • Sudden nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort, especially on the upper right side beneath your lower ribs (by your liver)
  • Clay-colored bowel movements
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low-grade fever
  • Dark urine
  • Joint pain
  • Yellowing of the skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
  • Intense itching

WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS?

You’re at increased risk of hepatitis A if you:

  • Travel or work in areas of the world where hepatitis A is common
  • Attend childcare or work in a childcare center
  • Live with another person who has hepatitis A
  • Have any type of sexual contact with someone who has hepatitis A
  • Are HIV positive
  • Have a clotting-factor disorder, such as hemophilia
  • Use any type of illegal drugs (not just those that are injected)

HOW IS HEPATITIS A DIAGNOSED?

  • Through a blood screening test
  • The test cost the average rage of Kes.  1,500-4,500
  • The tests are available at trusted labs and hospital. You can follow this link for an offer at Imara Mediplus Hospital for a discounted test.  https://www.imaramed.org/

If I have had hepatitis A in the past, can I get it again?

  • Once you recover from hepatitis A, you develop antibodies that protect you from the virus for life. (An antibody is a substance found in the blood that the body produces in response to a virus. They protect the body from disease by attaching to the virus and destroying it.)

How soon after exposure to hepatitis A will symptoms appear?

  • If symptoms occur, they usually start appearing 4 weeks after exposure, but can occur as early as 2 and as late as 7 weeks after exposure. Symptoms usually develop over a period of several days.

 

How long do hepatitis A symptoms last?

  • Symptoms usually last less than 2 months, although some people (10%–15%) with hepatitis A can have symptoms for as long as 6 months.

 

Can a person spread hepatitis A without having symptoms?

  • Many people, especially children, have no symptoms. In addition, a person can transmit the virus to others up to 2 weeks before symptoms appear.

 

How is hepatitis A treated?

  • Un-vaccinated people who have been exposed recently (within 2 weeks) to the hepatitis A virus should get the hepatitis A vaccine or a shot of immune globulin to prevent severe illness. To treat the symptoms of hepatitis A, doctors usually recommend rest, adequate nutrition, and fluids. Some people will need medical care in a hospital. It can take a few months before people with hepatitis A begin to feel better.

HOW CAN IT BE PREVENTED

  • Vaccinations
  • Practice hygiene eg. Proper hand hygiene after using the bathroom, using clean uncontaminated water for drinking or cooking

 

Reference:

  1. Division of Viral Hepatitis, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
  2. Lai M. Hepatitis A virus infection in adults: An overview. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Aug. 8, 2017.

17/Jan/2019

human milk does not suddenly turn to water after a certain length of time! Mothers can nurse their babies for as long as both they and their children wish to continue. Children will wean all by themselves when they are developmentally ready to do so.

Your milk continues to provide both food and health benefits even after your baby has begun to eat other foods. In fact, it continues to be the most important part of your baby’s diet until he is about a year old. Doctors recommends that babies continue to nurse until they are at least a year old and that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends continuing to nurse for at least two years.

Weaning is a process, not an event!

As he gets older, your baby will gradually eat more table foods. You will notice that he needs to nurse less frequently or for shorter periods of time. However, babies nurse for many reasons besides the need for food. Even when he becomes a toddler, your baby may still need to nurse when it’s time to go to sleep.

There will also be days when he needs to nurse more than usual: perhaps when he is teething or coming down with a cold. Nursing can help him cope with these upsets as he progresses in natural weaning, your little one will be too busy exploring the world to nurse as often.

Remember, you can always get a second opinion!

Start by substituting a bottle for one nursing a day for about a week. Keep your baby’s favorite nursing sessions for the last. Follow your baby’s lead as much as possible. For example, if he is sick, you may want to nurse a little more often until he is feeling better again. Unless there is an urgent reason for immediate weaning, it is easier on both of you to go slowly.

Remember, you know your baby best, and you know what is best for your family. Trust your instincts, and you won’t go far wrong

References:

1. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
2. The World Health Organization (WHO)

 


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