Friday, August 8, 2008

Conversations: Breast Cancer and Celiac Disease

Since Christina Applegate got diagnosed with breast cancer, increased buzz has been circulating about the said disease. But what do you know about breast cancer? In school, we have been taught about the general signs of cancer.
Roughly, cancer symptoms can be divided into three groups:
  • Local symptoms: unusual lumps or swelling (tumor), hemorrhage (bleeding), pain and/or ulceration. Compression of surrounding tissues may cause symptoms such as jaundice (yellowing the eyes and skin).
  • Symptoms of metastasis (spreading): enlarged lymph nodes, cough and hemoptysis, hepatomegaly (enlarged liver), bone pain, fracture of affected bones and neurological symptoms. Although advanced cancer may cause pain, it is often not the first symptom.
  • Systemic symptoms: weight loss, poor appetite, fatigue and cachexia (wasting), excessive sweating (night sweats), anemia and specific paraneoplastic phenomena, i.e. specific conditions that are due to an active cancer, such as thrombosis or hormonal changes. (
Is anyone experiencing these signs and symptoms (I hope not!)? Better check with your physician ASAP. Just so you know (if you don't already know), guys can have breast cancer.

And? What about Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease, is an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine that occurs in genetically predisposed people of all ages from middle infancy. Symptoms include chronic diarrhea, failure to thrive (in children), and fatigue, but these may be absent and symptoms in all other organ systems have been described.

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