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Breast Cancer Treatments: Mastectomy

Posted by Xanit Internacional Xanit Internacional | Posted in women's health | Posted on 17-10-2018

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This week is World Breast Cancer Day, and we wanted to talk to Dr Fran Fernandez, Head of the Breast Unit at Vithas Xanit International Hospital, about one of the most common treatments for breast cancer – mastectomy. 

Mastectomy 

We treat cancer in several ways, but one of the most common methods is surgery. There are two types of operation depending on the stage of the disease. If the cancer is detectedin the early stages, the usual way forward would be the conservative surgery, which consists of removing the section of the breast with a tumour in it. In the caseof more advanced stages, the method we use is a mastectomy, which is the surgical act of completely removing a breast.

According to the protocols of preventive diagnosis of breast cancer, the percentage of mastectomy procedures is decreasing thanks to early detection through breast self-examination and radiological tests, depending on patient’s age, past medical and family history. Also, mastectomy can be avoided in those cases when we indicate chemotherapy treatments before the surgery. Experts recommend exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet to reduce risk factors, for a healthy body is more difficult to get sick.

Treatment 

The duration of breast cancer treatment can vary depending on the diagnosisand can range from simple surgery without further treatment, or those cases when the procedure can be prolongedfor up to 5 years. A good family environment is also necessary for a patient’s recovery. It is vital that the patient isadequately informedof the circumstances of their case and the options available. Some patients require the help of a psychologist and support groups, which can also play a vital role throughout the treatment. Besides, the patient can and should perform a physical exerciseto return to normal.

Risks 

Body imageis a critical psychosocial issue for post-mastectomy patients as they often undergosignificant changesto appearance and functioning. Changes in body image not rarely affect patient’s both intimate and social relationships. Other alterations that may occur are of sexual nature, chronic pain, lymphoedema or psychological sequelae,among others. We are fully aware of the impact post-mastectomy alterations may have on a patient, and we always advise our patients to be psychologically predisposed to overcome obstacles.

Fortunately, major, lethal complications are becoming less frequent. The current survival rate for breast cancer is nearly 85%, but we must continue to insist on early detection and new clinical trials toreduce the remaining 15%.

Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in Spain

Posted by Xanit Internacional Xanit Internacional | Posted in cardiology with heart | Posted on 04-10-2018

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Did you know that cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in Spain? Today, Dr Gomez Doblas talks to us about these pathologies and their risk factors, offering us some advice on taking care of our heart.

Cardiovascular diseases represent 29.66% of the total number of deaths in our country, which places them above cancer (27.86%) and pathologies of the respiratory system (11.08%). Fortunately, they are also one of the illnesses that can be prevented the most, mainly by adopting healthy lifestyle habits.

Many risk factors can trigger cardiovascular related pathologies, such as obesity, arterial hypertension, cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, inadequate nutrition or sedentary lifestyle. Their prevention with multi-factorial strategies has shown that the development of cardiovascular illnesses we can avoid in 30% of cases. With that in mind, we would like to take the opportunity of the fact that World Heart Day has recently been celebrated to make particular emphasis on the importance of prevention since by following a few simple tips we can keep our heart healthy and prevent cardiovascular pathologies.

 

Some advice on taking care of our heart:

  • Doing sport regularly:Sport is one of the best methods to prevent health problems. Exercising reduces the risk of heart diseases and all types of cardiovascular illnesses. The practice of moderate exercise or sports activity along with the monitoring of other health habits has immediate consequences in the reduction of risk factors such as diabetes, arterial hypertension, arteriosclerosis, obesity and hypercholesterolemia. Sport lowers cholesterol levels in general and raises HDL (good cholesterol). It also benefits patients with type II diabetes by increasing the sensitivity of cells to insulin.

Besides, physical exercise improves the organic capacity of the heart, reducing our need for oxygen and lowering our blood pressure, so that we require the medication less and, at the same time, we improve the quality of our life.

Aerobic exercise is recommended between three and five times a week in sessions of no less than 30 minutes, controlling the heart rate to keep it within levels of moderate intensity. The most recommended physical activities are brisk walking or running at a gentle pace, bicycling, and swimming. We recommend that the intensity of these exercises should be moderate, involving and moving large muscle groups for the maximum benefits.

  • Following a healthy diet: A low consumption of dairy products is recommended (between 2-4 portions a day of skimmed or semi-skimmed products), using more olive oil as the primary source of fat, eating meat and meat products in small quantities, increasing, on the contrary, the consumption of fish and legumes as the main source of protein. It is also recommended to eat plenty of cereals (4-6 servings a day in the form of bread, rice, pasta – ), as well as fruits and vegetables. The consumption of salt and products rich in sugars must also be limited and, of course, we must not forget to drink at least 2 litres of water a day.

Performing sports will also help us in this task, allowing better control of caloric intake, which translates into a decrease in being overweight, producing a significant improvement in the quality of life.

Resolution on healthy lifestyle habits: Quitting negative habits such as smoking and reducing alcohol intake can also help us take care of our heart. Only by quitting smoking, for example, we can significantly reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

  • Monitoring our heart regularly with medical check-ups:There is no specific “optimal” age to start caring for our heart. Even if we do not present any symptoms of cardiovascular diseases, we are still recommended to have a medical check-up of the heart from the age of 45-50. Furthermore, it is advisable to repeat the test every five years. Also, if we practice sports on a regular basis, we should perform the check-up a few years earlier, at the age of 40-45, and repeat it with the same frequency: a check-up every five years even if there are no symptoms. Professional athletes and people who regularly engage in high-intensity exercise should have a sports cardiovascular check-up.