2 Jul 2022
9 mins
What Are The Latest Advances In The Treatment Of Breast Cancer For Women Who Have A Mutation In BRCA 1/2 Genes Are you at risk of hereditary breast cancer? And have you tested with BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 positive? If yes, do take a glance at this content to understand the BRCA mutation, its adverse effects, and the recent advancements in breast cancer treatment for breast cancer cases with BRCA mutation.   Breast cancer is ranked no:1 cancer among Indian women as one in every 28 women in India is affected with breast cancer.    Did You Know?    If you have inherited a BRCA 1 or 2 gene mutation, then you are at higher risk of developing breast cancer and the average risk of developing ovarian cancer. Keep reading to understand the mutated genes and the disease outlook and BRCA breast cancer treatment.   THE BRCA GENE AND ITS FUNCTIONS   BRCA gene is the acronym for BReast CAncer gene that regulates cell growth and prevents rapid cell division. BRCA gene [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/cancer-care/early-symptoms-of-breast-cancer] 1 and 2 plays a crucial role in regulating cell growth and protecting us against breast cancer. But due to some defect or mutation in this BRCA gene, the working of these genes gets collapsed and finally, it leads to the development of breast cancer.    Did You Know?    Every one of us is born with two copies of the BRCA 1 and BRCA2 gene, each copy of the BRCA gene is inherited from both of our parents. Research studies have reported that BRCA1 or two gene mutations are known to cause a 70 % high risk of breast cancer in your lifetime.   So once you get to know about the family history of breast cancer, check for BRCA gene mutation by undergoing a gene testing without any further delay.    WHAT IS THE LINK BETWEEN THE BRCA GENE AND BREAST CANCER?   Triple-negative breast cancer is aggressive cancer associated with BRCA 1 gene mutation. In the case of triple-negative cancer, the cancerous cells are not stimulated by estrogen, progesterone, and human epidermal growth factor and hence derived the name triple negative cancer.   BRCA 2 mutated gene is related to case HER2 negative( human epidermal growth factor receptor) and estrogen receptor-positive cancer, where the cancerous tumor cells are triggered by estrogen.   HOW DOES HEREDITARY BREAST CANCER OCCUR?   This occurs due to the inheritance of the mutated BRCA gene from parents to children and later, it can run through their families.   Patients with BRCA gene mutation will be initially treated with standard cancer therapy. Patients diagnosed with breast cancer are conventionally treated with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and targeted therapy. THE CONVENTIONAL BREAST CANCER THERAPY FOR BRCA 1 OR 2 MUTATED BREAST CANCER:   The latest studies show that women who tested positive for BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 genes and have been diagnosed with cancer in one breast, should definitely consider having a bilateral mastectomy (removal of both the breasts) to have a good survival rate.    Chemotherapy: Platinum compound drugs such as cisplatin or carboplatin are widely used in treating BRCA 1 and 2 gene mutated breast cancer. Since these genes are involved in DNA repair, they are sensitive to platinum compound agents that act by attacking the DNA strands   THE LATEST TREATMENT & ADVANCES IN BREAST CANCER WITH BRCA 1 & 2 GENE MUTATION?   Let's discuss the BRCA Breast cancer treatment options: With few recent advancements in cancer research, certain novel drugs are considered as promising therapy that helps in increasing the life expectancy of breast cancer patients.   Role of PARP enzymes in Breast cancer: PARP enzymes are responsible for the repair of DNA. In 2018, the FDA announced the approval of Olaparib, a drug for the treatment of BRCA mutated breast cancer. The other drugs approved under PARP inhibitors [https://www.mrmed.in/condition/anti-cancer] include  Niraparib, Talazoparib and Rucaparib which produce their action by damaging the DNA repairment process. Therefore, cells become unstable and the proliferation of cancerous cells gets inhibited.  The latest clinical trial results with the drug Olaparib suggest that for women diagnosed with HER2 Negative early-stage breast cancer with BRCA mutation, Olaparib can be consumed for almost a year after completing the primary standard breast cancer therapy. Besides this, the trial report also shows that it can reduce the risk of breast cancer relapse and improve the survival rate.   In addition to this, the latest advances include immunotherapy as well. Atezolizumab has been one of the potent medications under immunotherapy that has been proved to be beneficial in BRCA gene mutation breast cancer. Atezolizumab is approved for its use in triple negative breast cancer along with chemotherapy drug paclitaxel. Atezolizumab has anti tumor activity and works by boosting the immune system to fight against cancer cells. “EARLY DETECTION IS THE KEY TO SURVIVAL”   It is advised to have a gene testing If you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer because earlier detection can help reduce the high risk of breast cancer. Discuss with your oncologist about the prophylaxis treatment that involves hormonal therapy or endocrine therapy to prevent the occurrence of breast cancer. However, latest trial reports have showcased the potential effects of targeted drug therapy that involves Olaparib, talazoparib, niraparib and rucaparib as approved by FDA. Thus, these drugs are considered as a gleam of hope in aggressive triple negative breast cancer patients by improving the survival rates and reducing the risk of recurrent disease.  
1 Jul 2022
13 mins
Top 10 Anticancer Drugs In India For Prevalent Cancers Do you know?    Globally, cancer is the leading cause of death [https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cancer], and in India 2 people die from cancer every minute [https://www.roche.com/about/sustainability/access-to-healthcare/cancer-care-india]. Cancer is a group of disorders that can start anywhere in the body when the cells grow abnormally in an uncontrolled manner. The type of cancer treatment for an individual is unique and depends on various factors such as age, overall health, stage and location of cancer.   Recent statistics show that the number of persons with cancer in India for 2020 is 1,392,179. And the leading cancers of the Indian population [https://gco.iarc.fr/today/data/factsheets/populations/356-india-fact-sheets.pdf] are breast cancer, cancer of the lip, oral cavity, cervix uteri cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, blood cancer, ovarian cancer, and liver cancer. This content will highlight the top 10 anticancer drugs in India [https://www.mrmed.in/condition/anti-cancer] for the most common cancers. With the advancement in cancer medicine, the latest study shows that the overall survival rate of cancer [https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.l408/rr-4#:~:text=In%20India%2C%20according%20to%20research,and%2018.7%25%20for%20stage%204.] has increased to 70% in India when compared to previous years.  EFFECTIVE CANCER TREATMENTS   Successful cancer treatment depends on two major parameters that include the stage of cancer and the effective cancer medicine. In India, oncologists follow multi-disciplinary treatment options to treat cancers such as chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, immunotherapy and targeted therapy. Among these varied therapies, immunotherapy and targeted therapy have proven benefits in cancer patients as they are more specific in their actions and produce better treatment responses.   Keep reading this article to learn more about the top 10 anti-cancer drugs that are making great strides in curing cancer. 1. PEMBROLIZUMAB - IMMUNOTHERAPY  Pembrolizumab [https://www.mrmed.in/medicines/keytruda-100mg-injection] belongs to the immunotherapy class of drugs in cancer treatment. This medication is used in treating the cancers of the lung, colorectal cancer, breast, ovarian, skin, stomach, and esophagus. Besides this, it is also used in treating blood cancers and cancers of the head & neck.  The pembrolizumab produces its action by boosting the immune system to act against the cancer cells, thereby preventing the progression of cancer. The mechanism involved here is that this medicine binds to the receptors present in the immune cells and inhibits the proteins that serve as signals for the growth of cancerous cells. Pembrolizumab can be administered as injectables such as an intravenous infusion. The latest report highlights that the survival rate of cancers treated with pembrolizumab has witnessed a tremendous surge and it is labeled as the blockbuster drug [https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/immunotherapy-boosts-survival-outlook-for-lung-cancer-patients/article27406730.ece] for cancer for its high success in treating advanced-stage lung cancer. 2. TRASTUZUMAB - TARGETED THERAPY In India, breast cancer is ranked number one cancer, where there is one woman who gets diagnosed with breast cancer every minute. Since most breast cancers in India are diagnosed at stages 3 and 4, the treatment strategy involves the use of targeted therapy that helps in increasing the survival rate. Among the different types of breast cancer, HER2-positive breast cancer is becoming a relatively common diagnosis and it is also classified as the most aggressive cancer. The drug that is predominantly used in the treatment of advanced breast cancer is trastuzumab which is a monoclonal antibody that acts by attacking the HER 2 proteins that play a key role in the rapid growth of cancer cells. This drug, trastuzumab selectively binds to the HER2 receptors and inhibits the abnormal multiplication of breast cancer cells. Trastuzumab [https://www.mrmed.in/medicines/herclon-440mg-injection] has shown some promising results [https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-05209-8] in treating breast cancer as women presented with better outcomes, it is administered via the intravenous route. It can either be used as a standalone therapy or combined with chemotherapy or surgery. In addition to breast cancer, trastuzumab is also used in the treatment of stomach and esophageal cancer. 3. BEVACIZUMAB -TARGETED THERAPY   Ovarian cancer is the second most commonly occurring cancer in Indian women. Bevacizumab [https://www.mrmed.in/medicines/avastin-100mg-injection] works by inhibiting the vascular growth factor, a protein that is involved in the development of blood vessels within the tumor and enhances the progression of cancers. A current study [https://nmji.in/frontline-use-of-bevacizumab-in-ovarian-cancer-experience-from-india/] has reported that the treatment of ovarian cancer with bevacizumab as a first-line agent produced effective results and also it has produced favorable outcomes in treating the relapse of ovarian cancer.   This medicine is a monoclonal antibody that selectively targets the factor that is responsible for tumor growth. Above all this medicine is beneficial in treating several types of cancers such as lung cancer, advanced brain cancer, and cancers of the colon, breast, and cervical that have widely spread across the body.   4. NIVOLUMAB - IMMUNOTHERAPY   Nivolumab [https://www.mrmed.in/medicines/opdyta-100mg-injection] has produced dramatic outcomes [https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31607699/] in the treatment of advanced lung cancers in India. It has emerged as a resort for those who expressed failure towards platinum chemotherapy. A recent study also states that nivolumab has been very effective in Indian patients in tackling recurrent lung cancer.    The working mechanism of nivolumab is that this drug acts as an immunoglobulin 4 antibody and produces its action by binding to the immune cells. It enhances the immune system to fight competitively against cancer cells.   Besides treating lung cancer, nivolumab is also indicated for its use on several other cancers such as colorectal cancer, head & neck cancer, gastric cancer, blood cancer, and cancers of the kidney, liver, skin, and the bladder. In the latest report [https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/low-cost-head-neck-cancer-therapy-that-can-prolong-life/articleshow/92092844.cms], it was highlighted that low dose nivolumab has improved the survival rate of patients with head and neck cancer.   5. IPILIMUMAB - IMMUNOTHERAPY   Ipilimumab [https://www.mrmed.in/medicines/yervoi-50mg-injection] has given some positive reviews on its use for treating metastatic colorectal cancer, in India colorectal cancer is among the top 5 leading cancers. Ipilimumab belongs to the class of immunotherapy and works by making use of the immune system to destroy the cancer cells. However, this medicine was initially approved for its use in treating deadly skin cancer [https://www.indianpharmanetwork.in/buy-yervoy-ipilimumab-50mg/] and gained huge popularity. Now, Ipilimumab is being used as a combination [https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04513522] with nivolumab in treating the cancers of the liver, lung, and advanced kidney cancer.   6. RAMUCIRUMAB - TARGETED THERAPY   India is witnessing a steady rise in cases of stomach cancer and it is reported that the incidence is quite higher among Indian men. Ramucirumab [https://www.mrmed.in/medicines/cyramza-100mg-injection] works as a targeted agent by blocking the growth of blood vessels in the tumor cells and stopping the further development of gastric cancer. Ramucirumab has been indicated for its use in advanced gastric cancer. The recent trials [https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31234645/] demonstrated that ramucirumab and chemotherapy agents together produced positive results in terms of efficacy and the prognosis of advanced gastric cancer was also improved.   7. ATEZOLIZUMAB - IMMUNOTHERAPY   Lung cancer is the second leading cancer in India. The reports state that atezolizumab has produced favourable outcomes in terms of improving the survival rate in lung cancer patients. It is estimated that about 1 in 5 lung cancer patients [https://www.targetedonc.com/view/longterm-atezolizumab-findings-confirm-longterm-survival-exists-in-lung-cancer-expert-says] who received atezolizumab [https://www.mrmed.in/medicines/tecentriq-840mg-injection]have expressed 2 years of survival rate. It is formulated as monoclonal antibodies that produce its action against the cancer cells by enhancing the immune system and functions of immune cells.  It can be administered for non-small lung cancer after the surgery or as a combination with chemotherapy for the treatment of extensive small cell lung cancer.   8. RIBOCICLIB - TARGETED THERAPY   For treating advanced metastatic breast cancer in younger women,  this drug called ribociclib [https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-leap-in-breast-cancer-therapy-5763338/] has given excellent results and oncologists also stated that women with advanced breast cancer treated with ribociclib [https://www.mrmed.in/medicines/kryxana-200mg-tablet]are able to extend their life expectancy when compared to the mainstream chemotherapy. 9. SUNITINIB - TARGETED THERAPY   Renal cell carcinoma, the most common type of kidney cancer that accounts for almost 85% of kidney cancer and the incidence is greater in Indian men compared to women. Studies [https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27146758/#:~:text=Sunitinib%20produced%20a%2060%25%20disease,confirming%20the%20efficacy%20of%20sunitinib.] show that the drug called sunitinib that belongs to targeted therapy has reported a better patient response rate that produced 60% of disease control in advanced kidney cancer patients. This medication is intended for oral use and besides its use in treating kidney cancer it is also indicated for treating pancreatic cancer and tumors in the stomach. Sunitinib [https://www.mrmed.in/medicines/sutykine-25mg-capsule] acts by blocking the enzymes that generate signals for cancer cell growth. Thereby it interrupts the signalling and factors that are responsible for cancer progression.   10. IBRUTINIB - TARGETED THERAPY   In India, there are about 1 lakh people diagnosed with blood cancer every year. It has become a growing health of concern as it affects more children. The growing requirement for treatment led to the development of ibrutinib, a targeted therapy that got its approval in 2016 as first line treatment for a certain type of leukemia. Recently, it is observed that ibrutinib has given successful results [https://ascopubs.org/doi/abs/10.1200/JCO.2022.40.16_suppl.e19585] in treating blood cancer as it extended the survival rate in patients by delaying the cancer advancement. The ibrutinib [https://www.mrmed.in/medicines/imbruvica-140mg-capsule-90s]produces its action by inhibiting the Bruton’s protein kinase, a protein that helps cancer cells grow abnormally. It is taken as pills and it is part of first-line blood cancer therapy. KICK CANCER BEFORE IT KICKS YOU   Although the success rate of the top 10 anticancer drugs is high, the mortality rate due to cancer is surging as most of the cancers are detected only at the advanced stages. There are ample anticancer drugs, yet the above-mentioned drugs have significantly produced the effective outcomes in cancer patients by extending the life expectancy. It is recommended to catch the symptoms earlier and incorporate the practice of cancer screening to improve the survival rate and quality of life.  
30 Jun 2022
10 minutes
Criteria And Procedures For Breast Conservation Surgery Did You Know?    Women who have undergone breast conservation surgery and coupled with radiation therapy have similar benefits of survival rates compared to women who have had their mastectomy done for breast cancer treatment. Read further to understand breast conservation surgery, its criteria and precautions, if you have been diagnosed with breast cancer because awareness is more powerful in tackling breast cancer. WHAT IS BREAST CONSERVATION SURGERY?   Breast conservation surgery(BCS) is performed in breast cancer [https://www.mrmed.in/condition/anti-cancer] patients to cease the spread of cancerous cells to distant parts. Breast conservation surgery is otherwise known as “lumpectomy” or “segmental mastectomy”. BCS is performed only for early stage breast cancer. Patients diagnosed with advanced stages will be subjected to a mastectomy, a procedure that involves removal of one or both breasts.   Breast conservation surgery is a surgery that involves removal of only the part of the breast that has been confirmed with cancer, not the entire breast. Thereby it is named partial mastectomy. HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED WHY THE LYMPH NODES ARE REMOVED AS PART OF BREAST CONSERVATION SURGERY [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3610577]?   Studies have stated that if breast cancer progresses to advanced stages, it is likely to spread widely via lymph nodes to other parts of the body. That is where the BCS plays a significant role in retarding the development of the disease.     Although breast conservation surgery has got lots of positive sides, be mindful of the downside and complications as well. Though they may not be serious, you must be aware of the risks that include surgical site infection, breast swelling, and change in the appearance of the breast. TAKE HEED OF FEW IMPORTANT THINGS BEFORE UNDERGOING THE BCS   * Before having this surgery, please talk with your doctor and inform them about your allergies, even to rubber, latex, medications, and food. It is of utmost importance that you mention your medicine and medical history to your doctor before undergoing a BCS. * You will need blood tests and certain imaging studies done before the BCS. Your surgeon will perform the surgery only after obtaining proper medical fitness. * BCS surgery will be done under general anesthesia [https://www.mrmed.in/condition/anaesthetics]. * Your surgeon may extract some of the lumps present in only one area in the breast. According to surgical science, our breasts are divided into four quadrants, and the surgery will be performed based on the location of the lump. * Your heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation levels will be monitored throughout the surgery. CHECK WITH THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS TO KNOW IF YOU ARE ELIGIBLE FOR A LUMPECTOMY   * Only one area of your breast is affected with cancer. * Willing to complete radiation therapy after the procedure. * Tumor size is less than 5cm or 2 inches.   KNOW ABOUT THE CONDITIONS WHERE LUMPECTOMY IS NOT A GOOD OPTION   * Your genetic test report detects the presence of gene mutation in the BRCA gene, as it is associated with a second chance of breast cancer. * History of radiation therapy or BCS performed previously on that same breast . * If you are diagnosed with Inflammatory breast cancer. * Any medical condition such as lupus, that increases the side effects of radiation therapy. * Any bleeding disorders or inflammatory disease.   HOW IS BREAST CONSERVATION SURGERY DONE?    Know about the steps involved in breast conservation surgery. Although the procedure for BCS varies from the patient due to their associated conditions, stages, and location of lumps. Let’s discuss the common BCS procedure here.   * A tiny cut will be made in the breasts and the surgeon will remove all the lumps and extra breast tissues. During the BCS only the cancer lumps and tissues will be removed. * All the extracted materials will be sent to the lab for biopsy and other molecular testing. * If any abnormal lymph nodes are noticed, a separate incision will be made in the armpit and the sample will also be sent for examination. A drain tube will be inserted into the incision site. * The surgical site will be stitched and covered with adhesive tapes, and sterile bandage. Post-surgical [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/cancer-care/breast-cancer-diet-plan] stay at the hospital: After the surgery, the patient will be watched closely until the vitals become stable. Once your vitals such as blood pressure, and pulse are back to normal, you will be shifted to the ward and the doctor will need to monitor you for 1-2 days. The patient will only be discharged based on their recovery from anaesthesia and other medical conditions.  POST BCS CARE:   However, post BCS, you need to follow proper personal hygiene and take proper care of the surgical site   * You will be advised to follow a particular bathing procedure. * Ensure to keep the surgical site clean and dry even the adhesives and bandages should be kept dry. * The patient may experience pain based on the quantity of tissue or lump taken off and also depends on the location. But do not distress, this pain is very normal and it will get subsided within a short span of time. * Take only the prescribed medications. Your doctor might prescribe pain-relieving medications and antibiotics, continue it for a few days as directed by your physician. * You must report to your doctor if you experience any post-surgery effects such as fever, unbearable pain, chills, swelling or redness, or any abnormality in the surgical site.   If your BCS has involved the removal of lymph nodes, you need to be more cautious as the lymphatic drainage may cause any infection if proper care has not been taken. Moreover, you may need to follow the below steps religiously:   * Be careful and avoid measuring your blood pressure over the surgery sidearm * Avoid wearing tight sleeves or jewellery that constricts the affected side. * Be aware of insects and bee stings. It is better to use insect repellent to avoid extreme reactions. * Elevate your arm above elbow level to ease the lymphatic flow and to avoid swelling. * You may feel a tingling sensation around your armpit, yet don’t scratch or get injured on the affected side. TREATMENT POST BCS: Radiation therapy will be followed post breast conservation surgery to eliminate the remaining cancerous cells that have not been withdrawn during the surgery. If you are pregnant you can have your breast conservation surgery alone and postpone your radiation therapy after your delivery to prevent the radiation affecting your baby.    Don’t panic! Your oncologist will explain the procedure, risks, and benefits prior to BCS, and this surgery will be conducted only after administering sedatives and local anaesthetics to relax your body. Anyways the BCS will be conducted only after obtaining consent from the patient or caretaker. “ Lumpectomy: A Cure For Your Breast Cancer”   Right after the surgery you may feel slight discomfortness, but it can easily be overcome. Restwell and you can resume with your normal activities within 2-3 weeks after your breast conservation surgery. Don’t strain into heavy activities by lifting weights or exerting a lot in cleaning activities until then. If you worry about the appearance of your breast post BCS, discuss with your doctor regarding the reconstructive breast surgery to regain its shape. Above all, keep in mind to go for follow- up visits post-surgery to know the status of the medical condition.   
29 Jun 2022
7 mins
How To Deal With Stress And MigraineThe world we are living in today is a fast-moving place. Every day is a new challenge and is different from yesterday. The aims and ambitions, the wants and needs, and the failures and successes of every individual are different from one another. With all the different things happening around in the modern world, one thing that remains a point of commonality among people is stress. Stress is something that every person experiences at a certain point in their life. WHAT IS STRESS?    Stress [https://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/stress-triggers-chronic-migraine] is a mental or physical response produced by the body upon experiencing certain triggers (stressors), such as sudden changes, challenges, unhealthy lifestyle, failure, etc. It is entirely normal and happens to almost everyone. However, when stress remains consistent and is not managed correctly and on time, it can cause harm to health. Stress is responsible for various body conditions such as sleep loss, anxiety, depression, and high blood pressure. However, the most important and common concern is stress-induced migraines. WHAT IS A MIGRAINE?   A migraine is a headache characterized by severe pulsing and throbbing pain on either one or both sides of the head. The pain is usually prominent around the temples, the back of the eye, and the neck. Stress-induced migraines are often accompanied by sensitivity to light, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. DOES STRESS CAUSE MIGRAINES?   Stress and migraines go hand in hand. Most migraines are stress-induced migraines. Having stress and migraine is like being stuck in a loop where stress triggers migraine, and chronic migraine causes more stress. Sudden lifestyle changes, shocking news, excessive social burden, the pressure of not being able to achieve something, or the fear of losing are some potential stress triggers. This baggage of stress keeps piling up if not managed efficiently, often resulting in massive migraine pain. SYMPTOMS OF STRESS-INDUCED MIGRAINE   The various symptoms of stress-induced migraines (tension-type headaches) are:   * Irritation * Throbbing headache * Nausea * Vomiting * Pain in the back of the head * Tender scalp * Tension in shoulder and neck * Dizziness  TOP 10 PREVENTIVE AND MANAGEMENT MEASURES FOR STRESS INDUCED MIGRAINE   To prevent migraine, it is essential to manage stress [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/mental-wellness/relieve-mental-stress]. Stress and migraine can be reduced by certain preventive measures. Some preventative [https://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/migraines-headaches-managing-stress] measures for stress and migraine headaches are:   1. Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax: Relax yourself by practicing meditation, getting a good relaxing massage, and taking a relaxing walk in the morning or evening.   2. Exercise: Regular exercise can reduce stress which can reduce migraine. Simple body movements like yoga, walking for 30 to 40 minutes, cycling, and jogging can be practiced daily.   3. Organize, plan and simplify:  Get organized and plan your day or week by making a schedule, setting achievable goals, planning smartly, and simplifying your day-to-day routine. Because, unable to complete a task and piling workload can end up in stress.   4. Eat healthy: A diet packed with fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds can help you manage stress. Avoid eating greasy, fried, sugary, or processed food and stay hydrated.   5. Sleep well: A minimum of six to eight hours of sleep is essential for overall well-being. Practice sleeping early and waking up early to reduce stress induced migraine.   6. Set your limit: Set boundaries, manage time efficiently by separating personal and professional space. Balance work and personal life efficiently. Do not overcompensate for what is done, do not feel guilty and keep regretting your mistakes; instead, learn from them and work towards being a better version of yourself.   7. Make time for yourself: Spend quality time for yourself. Do something you love like reading books, painting, having a cup of tea or coffee alone, walking in the evening, or listening to music.   8. Spend quality time with the people you love: Spending quality time with family [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/health-care/family-health-fitness-day-2022] and friends can help you relax and feel happy and lessen stress.   9. Limit your bad habits: Avoid excessive smoking, alcohol, and caffeine consumption.   10. Medications: Relieve your migraine pain [https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tension-headache/in-depth/headaches/art-20046707]that can cause more stress by taking medications like pain killers. You can also ask help from a doctor who could prescribe you medications (like beta-blockers or antidepressants) to prevent and relieve stress and migraine headaches.   IT’S NOT THE LOAD THAT BREAKS YOU DOWN, IT’S THE WAY YOU CARRY IT   Managing stress is the most effective key to preventing migraine. Life throws a curveball at us every day, but what is essential is how we deal with it. Little things like staying healthy, taking time for yourself, and spending time with people you love will help you not only manage stress and migraine headaches but also help you with your overall well-being. To be Stress and migraine free, remember that,    EVERY DAY BRINGS A CHOICE: TO PRACTICE STRESS OR TO PRACTICE PEACE  
28 Jun 2022
6 mins
Long-Distance Caregiving Tips To Support Your Loved One With Cancer Caring for someone with cancer from far away would be a challenging one. Due to personal responsibilities, it might be hard to live with your loved one who has cancer. It is common to think that your role is unessential, but you can offer significant support. Here are the long-distance caregiving tips you can follow to support. You can offer choices of how you would be of help to them instead of simply telling them to let me know if you need anything, as it can be hard for them to ask you or decide what you would be fit to help. Depending on how close or important your loved one is, you can do a lot on your part.  LONG-DISTANCE CAREGIVING TIPS TO FOLLOW LEARN AND STAY ORGANIZED Learn about the cancer [https://www.mrmed.in/condition/anti-cancer] of your loved one and the treatment options available. Collect and plan out the financial, medical, and legal needs of the person with cancer. Make sure the important documents like advanced directives are completed to avoid confusion later.  Advanced directives are legal documents containing the patients’ decisions on what treatment options can be done when the patient is unable to make a decision due to sickness or who can take decisions on their behalf. Search all possible ways of managing the cost of cancer care and let the loved one know the best choices.  KEEP IN TOUCH WITH THE HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS AND NEARBY CARETAKERS  Introduce yourself to the health care professional and caretakers who live nearby to the person with cancer. Give your contact information to them so that they can call you when needed. To understand the diagnosis and treatment options, you can ask the person to record the doctor visits. For talking with a healthcare professional, they might ask for confirmation from your loved one. Keeping in touch with the people who are caring for your loved one is a crucial part of long-distance caregiving.  RECRUIT PROFESSIONAL SERVICES Sometimes, the nearby caretaker cannot temporarily take care of the person with cancer as he/ she is ill or has any important personal duties.  In that case, you can ask a healthcare professional or social health worker to refer to a professional caretaker. A home care professional services can range from basic medical needs to other personal needs such as meal preparation. Most of these needs cannot be offered remotely, and arranging professional services can greatly help the nearby caretakers.       PROVIDE EMOTIONAL SUPPORT [https://www.cancer.org/treatment/caregivers/how-to-be-a-friend-to-someone-with-cancer.html]: EVERY LITTLE THING COUNTS Regular communication is the best way to offer emotional support. It gives them the feeling that they are not alone. Through calls, video calls, or tests, ask them how the treatment goes and how they feel. If your loved one has younger children, you can assist them with their study projects through video calls. Ask the nearby caretakers, such as neighbors, friends or family members if you can help them in any way and how they feel.    PREPARE FOR THE UNEXPECTED TRAVEL You may be needed to travel suddenly in case of any emergency requirements, such as staying in hospital or replacing a family member role. Save vacation and sick leaves and separate funds for this. Ask your friend or neighbor in advance to take care of your home when you are leaving. Be aware of the flight, train or bus timings and costs to travel on short notice.  WHILE YOU VISIT: HAVE A PLAN While you visit a person with cancer, plan what you are going to do. List out all the doubts you have regarding the treatment and care, so you don’t miss out when visiting the health care professional. Plan to share some works of the nearby caretakers while you visit. It can provide relief for them, and you can also figure out what things require changes. Talk with all persons involved in taking care of your loved one and ask for their suggestions and concerns. If your loved one has advanced cancer, discuss their life wishes with the family.  YOUR ROLE IS IMPORTANT: CARE FOR YOURSELF With long-distance caregiving, many people have feelings of guilt about what they cannot do. The advice or suggestions given by them are sometimes not well received by in-person caretakers. This can also end up in frustration or stress. Focus on what support you are offering instead of what you cannot. It’s common to feel stressed or depressed [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/mental-wellness/depression-symptoms-causes-treatment] when you are taking care of a person with cancer, even from far away. Talk with a family member or friend you trust about how you feel and cope with stress in healthy ways [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/mental-wellness/relieve-mental-stress]. 
27 Jun 2022
8 mins
National HIV Testing Day 2022- Testing Is An Act Of Self CareNational HIV testing day is declared on 27th June annually to underline the importance of getting tests against the infection and getting appropriate care and treatment.  The awareness of HIV testing is the focal point for transmitting the infection in society. On this National HIV testing day 2022, let’s raise our voices and together make a difference in societies to prevent HIV. The theme for National HIV Testing day 2022 is “HIV Testing is self care.” As the theme states, this day is observed to enhance HIV testing because knowing the status of your infection will be a pathway to access treatment services that enables you to live a long healthy life.   Read this article, understand the seriousness of HIV testing, and share this blog with your close ones in order to encourage HIV testing. The HIV government organization has put forward the theme as HIV testing is self-care to emphasize the fact that HIV testing [https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanhiv/article/PIIS2352-3018(19)30034-7/fulltext] is a life-saving measure for any individual affected with the virus to lead a longer healthier life.   The National AIDS control organization insists on checking your HIV status for early detection that prevents you from developing AIDS. AIDS is a chronic irreversible syndrome that almost damages every part of the body.   HOW IS HIV TESTING CONDUCTED IN INDIA?   The government of India provides HIV testing free of cost to the public and the private hospitals charge a price range of Rs 1200 to 1500.   Once the person gets confirmed with the HIV infection, the doctor may order viral load and CD4 cell count tests to estimate the viral cell count in the body and the availability of immune cells to fight the infection.  HIV TESTS - KNOW ITS IMPORTANCE:   HIV testing is the only way to detect the viral infection. It is recommended to get tested for HIV at least once a year or whenever you feel that you got exposed to the infection. Let’s see some of the factors which make you highly prone to this infection.   * Having sex with several partners * Unprotected sex [https://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/default.htm] with HIV-positive partners and with someone whose sexual history is unknown * Being injected drugs with a HIV contaminated needle, syringe, or other device * History of tuberculosis [https://www.webmd.com/lung/understanding-tuberculosis-basics], hepatitis [https://www.webmd.com/hepatitis/default.htm], or any sexually transmitted disease [https://www.webmd.com/sexual-conditions/default.htm], including syphilis [https://www.webmd.com/sexual-conditions/syphilis], gonorrhea [https://www.webmd.com/sexual-conditions/gonorrhea], chlamydia [https://www.webmd.com/sexual-conditions/chlamydia], or herpes [https://www.webmd.com/genital-herpes/default.htm]   The HIV testing will also be done as a prerequisite to blood donations and surgical interventions for treating any disease.   TYPES OF HIV TESTS   Rapid HIV Test: The rapid test is performed only to know if the individual has contracted the virus and to assess the risk of transmitting it to others as a result of unsafe sexual discipline.The duration to obtain the results of this test is somewhere around 15- 20 minutes only. This rapid HIV test just requires a drop of blood from the priced fingertip and the results are also considered to be highly accurate and sensitive. It is recommended to get the rapid HIV tests done within the span of 28 days of contracting the virus so that treatment shall be commenced at the earliest.   If the rapid tests report result is positive, further confirmatory tests such as ELISA- Enzyme-Lined immunosorbent assay and western blots will be carried over to validate the infection.   ELISA: This test involves the use of nitrocellulose paper to confirm the presence of antibodies produced in reaction to HIV. If the rapid test reports positive, ELISA will be performed and positive results can be validated with confirmatory HIV tests. If detected negative ELISA no further tests will be required. The ELISA tests usually take 2-3 hours of duration to produce the test reports.   Western Blot: This is the final validatory test to confirm the presence of HIV infection in an individual. This test will be confirmed by the formation of a complex between the antigens present in the nitrocellulose paper to the antibodies produced by the body.  Post Confirmatory Tests For HIV Infection:   Once your doctor diagnoses an HIV infection, you will be ordered to undergo a few blood tests to quantify the amount of HIV cells in the blood.   Viral load test: The mechanism behind this test is that HIV is detected using the gene sequences of cells that get bound to the viral cells. The Reverse transcriptase PCR is the original working of viral load detection tests. By doing the test, it not only confirms the number of viral cells for the first time, it also helps the doctors to monitor the disease progression and to plan the treatment.   CD4 cell count: Since the HIV particles work by invading the healthy immune cells, it is imperative to know the immune cell counts before and during the treatment course. If the counts are dropped below 500 it is suggestive of a high risk of contracting other infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, and hepatitis b infections. These tests will also help physicians to keep track of the treatment effectiveness. “KNOW YOUR HIV STATUS”   Since there is a great advancement in terms of treatment for HIV [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/viral-infections/hiv-medication] infection, it is better to prevent the infection in its acute phase. The HIV screening test acts as a measure to reduce the risk of transmitting the infection to others. It is recommended to get tested for HIV at least once a year or whenever you feel that you got exposed to the virus. HIV testing has become a quick process that takes no longer than 20 minutes due to the launch of rapid HIV test kits. This National HIV testing day also aims to break the stigma against HIV testing and to educate the public to live a long healthy life.