Category Archives: Specility_blogs

Warning Signals of Cancer in Women

Gynaecological cancers are an important cause of female morbidity and mortality . Endometrial , cervical , ovarian and Fallopian tube cancers and choriocarcinomas are the cancers found in females only.All the women must be aware of the warning signals of cancers and be on the lookout for them so that the disease can be picked up early and cured. It is estimated that 70% of the women opt for medical assistance when they are at a later and more aggressive stage of cancer. We need to spread awareness and make the women aware about the aspects of prevention.

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Signs and Symptoms of Cancer in Women:

  • Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding -Whether it is post menopausal bleeding or inter menstrual bleeding (bleeding in between periods ) or post coital bleeding (after intercourse ), all require immediate attention . These could be signals for endometrial cancer.
  • Sudden Unexplained Weight Loss – This invariably occurs in cancers anywhere in the body and must ring a bell and be investigated .
  • Blood Stained Foul Smelling Vaginal Discharge – This very often indicates infection but may also be a sign of cervical cancer ,one of the commonest cancers in women of our country .
  • Constant Fatigue – This disrupting ones daily routine must never be taken lightly and one must visit a doctor to find out the reason .
  • Swelling of One of the Legs– This in the presence of other signs or symptoms may point toward cervical cancer .
  • Pelvic or Lower Abdominal Pain – This almost invariably occurs in patients of ovarian and endometrial cancers. A constant pain ,cramps may occur or one may feel some pressure .
  • Bloated Abdomen For More Than 2 Weeks – This after the period or otherwise is another important symptom .
  • Increased frequency of urination – This in the absence of pregnancy , infection or increased fluid intake is not a welcome sign .
  • Persistent indigestion or nausea – If this is lasting for over 2 weeks requires one to visit a physician.
  • Loss of appetite– This is another symptom that should not be taken casually .

How Do You Screen for Genetic Abnormalities in Pregnancy?

What is a Screening Test?

A blood test , ultrasound or demographic characteristics (age, race,etc) of a person are used to estimate what are a person’s chances of having an abnormality.In this case a screening test for chromosomal abnormalities is to suspect what are baby’s chances of having that abnormality.


These tests DO NOT mean that there is an abnormality for sure; they only signal further testing should be done.

The Screening can be divided into

  1. First trimester screen
  2. Second trimester screen

What is a first trimester screening for Aneuploidies/Chromosomal Abnormalities?

First Trimester Screen is a new, optional evaluation that combines a maternal blood screening test with an ultrasound evaluation of the fetus(baby in the womb)

It  identifies the  risk for specific chromosomal abnormalities, including Down syndrome and Trisomy-18 and T13

What is the accuracy of First Trimester Screen ?What does it mean?

The accuracy rate for the combined test to detect the chromosomal abnormalities  is upto 95% (depending upon the markers on the scan)with a false positive rate of 3-5%.

This means that:

  • Approximately 85 out of every 100 babies affected by the abnormalities mentioned above will be identified.
  • Approximately 5% of normal pregnancies will receive a positive result or an abnormal level and will be labelled as high risk for that condition. This would be a false suspicion confirmed on the diagnostic test.
  • A positive test means you have a 1/100 to 1/300 chance/risk of having a baby with the said abnormality.

It is worth reiterating that a positive result does not equal  to having an abnormality in the baby , but rather serves as a suspicion to prompt  further testing.

What are Second Trimester Screening Tests?

They are Triple /Quadruple test as blood test (15-20+6 weeks)

or  genetic sonogram as an ultrasound(18-20 weeks).

These screening methods are less accurate than the first trimester combined screen.

What are the Risks and Side Effects to the Mother or Baby?

It includes discomfort of drawing blood and other than this there are no known risks or side effects associated with the screening tests. Ultrasound when used properly (ALARA) is more or less safe for the fetus.

Who should get the Screening Tests done?

All pregnant women must get screening test done at appropriate time irrespective of their age and other factors.

BREASTFEEDING – Benefits for the Baby

Breastfeeding lays the foundation for good health for all children. It benefits the baby  both in the short and long terms. Taking the same into consideration, new mothers are advised to exclusively breast feed their young ones for the first 6 months post-delivery. Working mothers should opt for milk storage facility or should take out time in their busy schedules to feed their babies. This selfless act creates bonding between the mother and the baby and benefits both. Following are the listed benefits:

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  • Breastfeeding provides an ideal nutrition to the i It is nearly a perfect mix of vitamins , minerals and proteins , in short everything that the baby needs to grow .
    Breastmilk is a custom made supply , tailored according to the baby ‘ s needs .
    Colostrum or the first milk is high in proteins and low in sugar. After three to four days , sugar and volume also increase.
  • Breast milk is easily digested unlike formula milk which is not so soft on the baby’s bowel .
  • Breastmilkcontains antibodies or immunoglobulins which help the baby fight off viruses and bacteria . Colostrum especially has very high levels of protective antibodies .
  • Breastmilklowers the baby ‘s risk of having asthma or allergies . It helps in the formation of a protective layer on the baby’s intestinal tract .
  • Babies who are exclusively breastfed for 6 months have fewer incidences of ear infections , respiratory diseases ,diarrhoea and even meningitis . They are healthier babies.
  • Lots of long term studies have proved beyond doubt that breast fed babies have higher  IQscores . They are better school performers and have improved cognitive development.
  • Breastfed babies gain adequate weight and don’t become obese .Such babies have more leptin to regulate appetite and fat.They have better eating habits . Formula milk has more insulin too .
  • Breastmilkprovides long term protection against diabetes , cancers and hypertension .
  • It also reduces the incidence of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
  • Last , but not the least , breastfeeding helps in building the most beautiful bond ever , bond between a mother and her child . The skin to skin touch and the eye to eye contact help in building up this attachment which is cherished forever .So , mothers , let the bottles go to the bins and hold your baby tight , put it to your chest and begin your beautiful journey into motherhood ……

What is Pap Smear test?

Pap Smear can be defined as the most inexpensive and recommended way to check cervical cancer – the second most prevalent cancer amongst women. Cervical Cancer can be defined as the cancer of the cervix. In a Pap Smear Test a small sample of the cells from the cervix – the lower narrow end of the uterus – is taken and is examined microscopically to detect the growth of cancer cells, especially Cervical Cancer Cells.

pap smear test

How is it done?

This is a simple OPD procedure that takes only 10 minutes to perform. No hospitalization is required for the same. Also the procedure should be performed by a specialized gynecologist only.

When you enter the cabin of the doctor, they would request you to dress down completely or from the waist down. You will be told to lay down on the examination bed with your knees bent. The doctor will gentle insert a speculum (a small instrument) in your vagina. This instrument would hold the walls of the vagina apart so that the doctor can see the cervix easily. During this procedure you might feel some pressure in your pelvic area. Then with the help of a spatula or a small brush the doctor collects the samples of the cervix. This process 98% of the times doesn’t hurt. The doctor transfers the cells on a glass slide or in some liquid for examination.

When should you get a Pap Smear Test?

A Pap Smear test is best to detect the presence of Human Pappilloma Virus (HPV) responsible for causing Cervical Cancer. HPV infection can be from men and women. Every woman should go for an annual Pap Smear Test after commencing their sexual life. Many a times an HPV infection is asymptomatic and can stay undetected for a number of years. Also women post the age of 35 yrs should have a annual Pap Smear test for sure. It is to be noted that with the increase in the number of sexual partners the probability of contracting HPV infection increases, and so does the risk of developing Cervical Cancer.

Post three normal Pap Smear Tests, you can discuss with your doctor if you can opt for Pap Smear tests after an interval of 5 yrs.

How to prepare for a Pap Smear Test?

For your gynecological exam, make sure of the following:

  • You should not be menstruating at the time of the examination. If you are reschedule your appointment.
  • You should refrain from sexual activity for at least 48 hrs before the test.
  • You stay calm and relaxed during the test.

Post a Pap Smear test you are free to walk and do any kind of physical activity. In some select cases spotting has been observed, however the same is minor and doesn’t include any complications.

Paras Bliss Guraon
Paras Bliss Panchkula