Turf Toe

What is turf toe?

Turf toe is a painful sprain that occurs due to over-extension of the joint in a person’s big toe.

This usually happens when the toe stays on the ground and bears body weight while the rest of the foot reaches a 90° (or less) against the toe.
turf toeThis makes an incredibly painful experience known as turf toe.  You can also get turf toe if your foot placement is incorrect while you run, or even walk. For example, if you constantly run on your toes, eventually it is likely that your footing is misplaced, and/or you bear too much weight on this particular joint.  This can cause you to get turf toe gradually, instead of something sudden, like tripping over an object, losing your footing, or being tackled.

Wearing shoes that are too flexible can lead to this problem if an athlete is not careful. There are shoes made which do not bend so far at the toe that could be a better bet if you find yourself getting turf toe often. It is a measure of protection. Also, be mindful of your feet at all times. Turf toe can happen if you are trying to push a heavy cart, for example, or if you walk on a lot of uneven ground with little foot protection.

What are some symptoms of turf toe?

  • Pain in the ball of foot near big toe, at the base of the toe, and in the big toe.
  • Swelling & limited movement in these areas.
  • Sometimes a “pop” can be heard when the injury occurs.

Look for redness and swelling, and limited movement if you are feeling pain in this joint.  We recommend seeing a doctor, or a chiropractor, if you think you may have turf toe.

How do you fix turf toe?

R.I.C.E.

Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.

Give your injury plenty of time and encouragement to heal. A doctor might tape your big toe to the one next to it. This is done to let the big toe relax, transferring some of its work over to the other toe.  It could take between two and three weeks for the pain to subside, and to regain motion.

Even when your toe seems to be all better, we recommend easing it gently back into activity. It is not difficult to get turf toe again right away, so be careful. Some seek help from a physical therapist in getting their toe back to its full range of motion.

Preventing turf toe:

We recommend purchasing shoes with more support, and training yourself to be aware of your footing. Accidents happen, of course, so if you are active, this plan isn’t 100% fool-proof. However, we are not about to tell you to lay around in bed all day so you don’t get turf toe.

Becoming more aware of your footing can help you prevent many injuries, not just turf toe. Anything from turf toe to a spinal injury can be prevented by proper foot placement while running, walking, hiking, etc, and wearing good shoes.

Be nice to your feet and your feet will thank you!

Be nice to your feet and your feet will thank you!

See you at the top! 41 Sports.

Low Blood pressure and exercise

Low blood pressure, also known as hypotension, is defined as blood pressure less than 90/60 mmHg. One serious consequence of low blood pressure includes lack of adequate blood flow to the brain, which may lead to episodes of dizziness or fainting. In some cases, exercise may lead to the problem of insufficient brain blood flow, thus producing dizziness.

Symptoms of Hypotension

When the blood pressure drops below 90/60, the brain is not being adequately perfused with blood. This leads to a problem supplying the brain with oxygen and nutrients, which are both carried by the blood. A lack of sufficient oxygen leads to serious damage to neurons, the cells of the brain. The early signs of insufficient brain blood flow include dizziness and fainting. This is your body’s way of correcting the problem: Since not enough blood is getting to the head, you are forced to fall down so blood can get where it needs to go.

Causes of Hypotension

Multiple cardiovascular abnormalities can lead to hypotension. If you are low on blood volume, either from dehydration, pregnancy or traumatic hemorrhage, the pressure within the vessels will decrease and could lead to perfusion difficulties. Alternatively, heart failure may lead to insufficient cardiac output, thus decreasing pressure due to a malfunctioning pump. Finally, an abnormality in pressure feedback mechanisms might lead to positional hypotension. In this case, the sensors in your brain that are designed to detect blood pressure are malfunctional. These feedback regulators are unable to communicate low-blood-pressure signals as they normally would.

Exercise-Induced Hypotension

If you experience fainting or dizzy spells during exercise, you may have exercise induced hypotension. The cause of the problem could be a weak heart that is unable to keep up with the demands you place on it during exercise. Alternatively, you may simply be dehydrated and low on blood volume.

Treatments

Symptoms of dizziness or fainting are serious neurological problems and should be properly evaluated by your physician. Treatment for this condition varies depending on the root cause of hypotension. For instance, if proper hydration during exercise fixes the problem, then your hypotension was likely caused by dehydration. If the problem is a weak heart, you may be referred to a cardiologist for further evaluation.

References

How a Concussion Changed My Life – A Story by Alana Hurov

How a concussion changed my life

Alana Hurov

One moment I was reaching up to close the living room blinds and the next I was on the floor, blood dripping down my face.

The five-foot long window treatment in my downtown Toronto condo had come down and hit me between the eyes.

A freak accident.

I staggered to the couch and called a friend to take me to the hospital.

I had suffered a “mild” concussion. The emergency roomdoctor explained that the blow to the head had caused my brain to bounce around in my skull.

The diagnosis: a mild brain injury, a broken nose and temporary symptoms ranging from headaches to dizzy spells. I was told to take a few days off work and stock up on Advil Extra Strength. All should soon return to normal.

Except it was anything but normal.

That was March of 2009, and days of recovery turned to months. I was in and out of the emergency room suffering debilitating migraines, insomnia, vertigo and fatigue. Exhaustion consumed me.

Brushing my teeth, showering and dressing became huge obstacles.

I took a long-term leave from my jobs as a certified yoga/ Pilates teacher and TV producer. Instead of going to the gym and booking interviews, I was visiting neurologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, support groups and eventually rehab.

Finally after about three months — I received a diagnosis that explained what was happening to me — and ultimately changed my life.

I was suffering from post-concussive syndrome.

Dr. Shree Bhalero, medical psychiatrist at the University of Toronto and a specialist in traumatic brain injury, describes post-concussive syndrome as a series of symptoms that follow a blow to the head.

“Headaches, dizziness, fatigue, irritability, depression, personality changes, impaired concentration, insomnia, reduced sex drive and lowered tolerance to noise and light are just some of the possible symptoms.”

And they can last a year or longer.

“Studies show that 30 per cent of concussion patients suffer from post-concussive symptoms,” says Dr. Charles Tator, a neurosurgeon at Toronto Western Hospital.

Dr. Michael Cusimano, a world-renowned neurosurgeon based at the University of Toronto, says many factors determine the severity of a brain injury.

“Different people have different genetic susceptibilities,” he says. “A minor brain injury to some may become deadly to others.”

Other factors include how fast the brain was moving inside the skull at the time of impact, the area of the brain that was struck, and the daily work demands on the patient. “A journalist will use different parts of their brain than a factory worker,” says Cusimano.

Tens of thousands of people get concussions every year in Canada, but there are no hard statistics because many go unreported or misdiagnosed, says Tator, who is also he founder of , a national non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention of brain and spinal cord injuries.

Women tend to concuss more easily than men and take longer to recover. While it’s not clear why this is, “one theory is that women have weaker neck muscles,” says Tator. “When the blow to the head occurs, women may have more of the whiplash effect, which causes the concussion.”

A study published in May 2012 by researchers at Michigan State University found that women report more symptoms of post-concussive syndrome than men.

In my case, I caged myself inside my downtown condo for nearly eight months — too tired to move and too ashamed to be seen. I was consumed with anxiety, sadness and negative thoughts. I fantasized about taking my own life. Thankfully my family doctor put me on antidepressants.

Within a month, I had more energy, felt inspired to lead a normal life and gained the confidence to teach yoga again. It gave me renewed strength, confidence and a sense of purpose.

My feelings were not uncommon.

Thirty per cent of all concussion patients suffer from depression, according to Bhalereo.

After nearly a year, I reluctantly returned to my television work. Walking through the doors I was unsure how I would readjust to a high-stress producer job. For 15 years, I’d thrived on deadlines and breaking news. I now struggled with all of it.

I looked like the same person, but felt completely different. I became anxious under pressure and got migraine headaches. I forgot names and faces of people that I had known for years. I was extremely sensitive to my environment and no longer enjoyed the constant stress of a newsroom.

By 2011, the anxiety and headaches had subsided. But something still felt wrong. I just wanted to be healthy and happy again

To read more on this story please search Alana Hurov. See you at the top! 41 Sports

 

Gastroesophageal Reflux

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly referred to as GERD or acid reflux is a chronic condition in which the liquid content of the stomach backs-up or refluxes into the esophagus. The liquid usually contains acid, bile and/or pepsin (a stomach digestive enzyme) which inflames and can damage the esophagus lining. Heartburn and acid reflux are common digestive conditions, but when they occur more than twice a week or interfere with daily life, the term is GERD. Reflux commonly occurs when a person is in the upright position allowing gravity to play a helpful role in pulling the liquid back into the stomach. But, while a person sleeps gravity does not play a role, so reflux at night is likely to result in damage to the esophagus.

Signs and symptoms include a burning sensation in the chest (heartburn) and sometimes in the throat. Also, chest pains, difficulty swallowing, dry cough and sore throat are common symptoms. Some may have a sensation of a lump in the throat as well.

Conditions that increase a person’s risk of GERD are obesity, pregnancy, smoking, asthma, diabetes and having a chronic dry mouth. Chronic inflammation/irritation of the esophagus can lead to other serious conditions such as esophageal stricture, esophageal ulcer and Barrett’s esophagus.

Often time’s doctors are able to diagnose GERD by the symptoms given, but sometimes other measures are used to be certain. A x-ray of the upper digestive system is sometimes used to allow the doctor to see the shape and condition of the esophagus, stomach and upper intestine. Also, an endoscopy can be used. This procedure calls for passing a flexible tube down the throat with a camera attached to the end, allowing the doctor to examine the esophagus and stomach. A test to monitor the amount of acid in the esophagus may also be performed as well as a test to measure the movement of the esophagus.

Initial treatment is generally done with over-the-counter pills to control acid such as antacids, medications to reduce acid production or to heal the esophagus. After a few weeks, if these medications do not work, then the doctor will prescribe other treatments to help. Most symptoms of GERD can be controlled with medications, but in situations where they are not helpful, surgery and other procedures may be recommended.

Although medications commonly work, a person can reduce the frequency of heartburn by changing certain aspects of their lifestyle. Maintaining a healthy weight will help relieve abdominal pressure against the stomach that would cause a back-flow into the esophagus. Avoiding tight fitting clothing also helps alleviate abdominal pressure. Avoiding fatty foods, alcohol, caffeine and other known foods to cause heartburn would greatly help. It is also recommended that you don’t lie down within two hours after finishing a meal, as well as avoiding smoking.

There are natural remedies as well. Herbal remedies used to help alleviate GERD symptoms include eating/drinking licorice, chamomile and marshmallow. Relaxation therapies to help calm stress and anxiety that bring on GERD symptoms can help. Relaxation therapy such as progressive muscle relaxation and guided imagery are used as well. Acupuncture has also been known to help with heartburn.

Anthony McClanahan
April Green
41 Sports Intern

For Further Information:
http://www.medicinenet.com/gastroesophageal_reflux_disease_gerd/page2.htm
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/gerd/DS00967/DSECTION=symptoms

Lymphedema

The lymphatic system is one of the main systems that keeps your body healthy. It circulates protein-rich lymph fluid, collects bacteria, viruses and waste products. The wastes are filtered and flushed from the body via the lymph system. Lymphedema refers to swelling that occurs often in the legs and arms from a blockage in the lymphatic system, preventing the fluid in the arms and legs from moving freely (the more fluid that builds up, the more swelling that occurs). Lymphedema has no cure, but can be controlled with care.

Symptoms include having the affected limbs feel tight or heavy and having a restricted range of motion (limitation of movement). Other symptoms include discomfort and aching in the limbs and hardening/thickening of the skin on the affected arms/legs. Chronic infections in the affected limb is also very likely.

Lymphedema is either primary or secondary; primary meaning that it occurs on its own and secondary indicating that it was caused by another condition. Primary lymphedema is inherited, caused by developmental problems with the lymph vessels. It occurs mostly in women and usually affects the legs. Specific causes of primary lymphedema include, Milroy disease, meige disease and late-onset lymphedema. Secondary lymphedema can be caused by any condition or procedure that damages the lymph nodes or vessels; things such as, surgery, radiation treatment, cancer, infection or a serious injury affecting the lymphatic system can all cause secondary lymphedema.

The causes of lymphedema are not always obvious, so imaging tests are performed to properly diagnose. To look at the lymphatic system, imaging systems such as an MRI, CT, radionuclide imaging or a doppler ultrasound may be used.

Lymphedema can lead to other serious complications such as infections, elephantiasis and lymphangiosarcoma, that is why treatment is vital. Treatment focuses on minimizing swelling and controlling pain. Light exercise can significantly improve limb movement by aiding in pumping lymph fluid. Massaging your affected limb(s) encourages the flow of lymph fluid. Wrapping your arm or leg completely (similar to pneumatic compression or other compression garments) aids in lymph fluid movement.

In cases of severe lymphedema, surgery may be considered to remove excess tissue in your arm or leg. Reducing severe swelling, but not curing lymphedema.

Anthony McClanahan
April Green

41 Sports Intern

For more information see:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/lymphedema/DS00609

Tendonitis

Tendons are a vital part of body movement. Tendons connect muscles to bones; therefore, when the muscles contract it pulls the tendons resulting in bone movement. When the tendon becomes irritated, it becomes inflamed resulting in irritation and pain during exercise (or other times of muscle contraction). Irritation commonly occurs from repetitive overuse motions of the muscles. Also, with age, the tendons become less elastic, causing even the simplest repetitive movements to easily irritate tendons.

Tendonitis can be avoided by properly warming up muscles, allowing the body to be ready for heavy loads. But, if pain does persist, it is important to listen to your body. If pain occurs during exercise (not the good burn that we all love, but true pain) then movement should be revised so pain is decreased or eliminated. Braces and anti-inflammatory cream may help ease the pain and help movement.

Anthony McClanahan
April Green
41sports Intern

Further information can be found at:
http://#/

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer and the second most common cause of cancer death in women between the ages of 45 and 55 in the U.S. Male breast cancer occurs in 1% of all cancer deaths.

Breast caner can develop from either genetics and/or hormonal factors. Treatment options for breast cancer may involve surgery (removal of the cancer or, in some cases, mastectomy), radiation therapy, hormonal therapy, and/or chemotherapy.

Cancer begins in tissue cells. Cells either grow and divide to form new cells or cells die and are replaced by new cells. But, sometimes new cells form when the body does not need them, and old cells do not die when they should; these extra cells can cause the growth of a tumor. Tumors are either, benign or malignant. Benign tumors are non-cancerous and can usually be removed. Malignant tumors on the other hand are cancerous and can spread to other parts of the body. The most common places that breast cancer spreads to are the bones, liver, lungs and brain.

The exact causes of breast cancer are unknown, but there are recognized risk factors. It has been found that as age increases, so does the chance of breast cancer; most causes occur after the age of 60. If the person has a family history of cancer the chances of getting cancer significantly increases. Other risk factors include having your first child after the age of 30, or never having children. Also, going through menopausal hormonal therapy or having menopause after the age of 55. Also, being overweight after menopause increases the chances, along with lack of physical activity and drinking excessive alcohol.

There are three main ways breast cancer is screened. The first way is having a screening mammogram. It is recommended that women should have a mammogram every one to two years after the age of 40. Mammograms show breast lumps before they can be felt. If an abnormal area shows up on your mammogram, you may need to have more x-rays. You also may need a biopsy. A biopsy is the only way to tell for sure if cancer is present. The second way to screen for breast cancer is by having a clinical breast exam and the third way is by doing a monthly breast self-exam. Common symptoms of breast cancer include a change in how the breast nipples feel or look, and experiencing nipple discharge.

Breast cancer is diagnosed by having a clinical breast exam or a mammogram. Also an ultrasound is used to show lumps and whether the lumps are fluid filled or solid. A solid lump would indicate cancer while a fluid filled lump would indicate a non-cancerous cyst. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can also be used to diagnose breast cancer by taking detailed pictures of the breast tissue. Finally, a biopsy can be used to remove suspicious tissue in order to run it for tests. There are there three different biopsy types, a fine-needled aspiration used to remove fluid from the breast lump, or a core biopsy used to remove specific tissue or a surgical biopsy used to remove sample tissues. If cancer cells are found, a pathologist can tell what kind of cancer it is. The most common type of breast cancer is ductal carcinoma.

There are five stages of breast cancer. Stage 0 has the presence of abnormal cells but there is no evidence that the cells will break out from where they started. Stage 1 is an early stage of invasive breast cancer but the tumor is no more than 2 centimeters across. Stage two is when the tumor has spread to the lymph nodes of the under arm and/or is between 2 and 5 centimeters across; or the tumor is 5 centimeters across but has not spread to the lymph nodes. Stage 3 is locally advanced cancer and consists of 3 sub-stages. Stage 3a is when the cancer has spread to lymph nodes under the arm and behind the breast bone. Stage 3b has a tumor of any size that has grown into the chest wall or the skin of the breast. The cancer may have spread to lymph nodes under the arm and/or behind the breast bone. Stage 3c is a tumor of any size that has spread to the lymph nodes behind the breastbone, under the arm and around the collarbone. Stage 4 is distant metastatic cancer meaning the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Early stages of breast cancer are considered stages 0 through stage 2 maybe even some of stage 3. Advanced stages of breast cancer are stages 3 and 4.

Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare type of breast cancer that causes the breast to look red and swollen because the cancer cells block the lymph vessels in the skin of the breast.

With advances in screening, diagnosis, and treatment, the death rate for breast cancer has declined by about 20% over the past decade, and research is ongoing to develop even more effective screening and treatment programs.

Anthony McClanahan
April Green
41 Sports Intern

For Further Information:
http://www.medicinenet.com/breast_cancer/page5.htm
http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/diagnosis/staging.jsp

Gout

Arthritis is highly prevalent in today’s aging population. There are several types of arthritis each differing from the next. Gout is one type that mostly affects men and older persons. Gout can be caused by a number of reasons. A person can get gout simply from genetics, but also from having an enzyme deficiency of the enzymes that break down proteins, being overweight and from drinking to much alcohol; which can all lead up to much uric acid in the blood. Uric acid levels in some people can be high without causing harm, but when levels reach an extreme it causes hard crystals to form in joints.

The symptoms of gout involve night attacks of swelling, tenderness and/or sharp pain on the big toe, ankle or knees.

Treatment is done with either prescribed medications or corticosteroid injections. Therefore, to avoid gout, one should eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fluids.

Anthony McClanahan
April Green
41 Sports Intern

For further information:
http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/gout-topic-overview

Nutrition and Depression

Depression is a syndrome that causes a person to feel intense sadness and/or irritability for an extended period of time. General signs and symptoms are mood swings, abnormal behavior and negative thoughts. As well as, changes in bodily functions such as problems with sleeping, eating and weight or by experiencing crying spells, body aches and low energy. Commonly symptoms arise from what is called neurovegetative signs, which are changes within the cranial nervous system causing many of the before mentioned symptoms to occur.

Depression can be caused for various reasons. Depression can be reoccurring in families or caused by a stressful environment or an external event such as a serious loss. Women are twice as likely to become depressed as men are.
Depression is often under treated and not treating it can increase the risks for developing coronary artery disease, HIV, asthma, and some other medical illnesses. Furthermore, it can increase the morbidity (illness) and mortality (death) from these conditions.

There are three common types of depressive disorders — major depression, dysthymia and manic depression. Major depression is characterized by symptoms that interfere with a person’s daily activities and lasts for at least two weeks. Dysthymia is a less severe type of depression because the person can still enjoy daily activities, but they may not feel happy while participating all the time. Dysthymia symptoms are not as severe but symptoms are chronic. People who have dysthymia may also experience major depression. Manic depression sometimes also referred to, as bipolar disorder, is not very common but often recurring and chronic.

Depression is usually treated with medications, when it can naturally be treated with proper nutrient intake. Dietary modification and vitamin and mineral supplementation in some cases reduces the severity of depression. Supplementation with the amino acids tyrosine and henylalanine can in many cases be used as an alternative to antidepressant drugs. Studies of phenylalanine’s efficacy show that it has promise as an antidepressant.

Vitamin and mineral therapy can also be a useful treatment tool. People are often deficient in several types of nutrients that can lead to depression. Correcting deficiencies can often alleviate symptoms. Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, is the cofactor for enzymes that convert tryptophan to serotonin and tyrosine to norepinephrine. Consequently, vitamin B6 deficiency may result in depression. Vitamin B12 deficiency can also manifest as depression. In depressed patients with documented vitamin B12 deficiency, intravenous administration of the vitamin has resulted in dramatic improvement. Taking just 1 mg/day extra of Vitamin B12 can show significant improvement with depression. Vitamin C is valuable for patients with low levels of serotonin levels. In one study, 40 chronic psychiatric inpatients received 1 g/day of ascorbic acid or placebo for three weeks, in a double-blind fashion. In the vitamin C group, significant improvements were seen in depressive, manic and paranoid symptom complexes, as well as in overall functioning.

Folic acid deficiency may result from dietary deficiency, physical or psychological stress, excessive alcohol consumption, malabsorption or chronic diarrhea. Deficiency may also occur during pregnancy or with the use of oral contraceptives. Psychiatric symptoms of folate deficiency include depression, insomnia, anorexia, forgetfulness, hyperirritability, apathy, fatigue and anxiety.

Magnesium deficiency can cause numerous psychological changes, including depression. The symptoms of magnesium deficiency are nonspecific and include poor attention, memory loss, fear, restlessness, insomnia, cramps and dizziness. Plasma magnesium levels have been found to be significantly lower in depressed patients. Magnesium has also been used to treat premenstrual mood changes by receiving 360 mg/day of magnesium for two months. Magnesium was effective in relieving premenstrual symptoms related to mood changes.

Honey can also help fight against depression symptoms because honey is a natural energy booster, immunity builder and a natural remedy against some aliments. Honey is known for its effectiveness in instantly boosting endurance and performance levels and reducing muscle fatigue. The natural fruit sugars play an important role in preventing fatigue during exercise because the glucose is absorbed quickly giving an immediate energy boost and the fructose is absorbed more slowly providing sustained energy. Honey has powerful immune system boosting characteristics. Honey’s antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties can help improve the digestive system and help you stay healthy and fight diseases.

There are also a wide variety of herbal therapies that are used to treat depression; most commonly known are St. John’s wort and ginkgo biloba. St. John’s wort has been used for medical purposes in other parts of the world for thousands of years. St John’s wort is particularly effective for mild to moderate depression symptoms, particularly without the side effects often associated with drugs. Ginkgo biloba is thought by some to improve memory and other intellectual functions. Ginkgo biloba improves neurotransmitter production in the brain and helps bring oxygen-rich blood to the brain to improve functioning.

Anthony McClanahan
April Green
41 Sports Intern

*Any herbal supplement should be treated just like a medication. It requires caution and should be taken only after consulting your doctor. Your doctor can help you weigh the risks and potential benefits. That way, you can make an informed decision.
Note: never take St John’s wort, ginkgo biloba or any natural medicine for depression if you’re taking antidepressants like Zoloft, Prozac, Paxil or Effexor.

For more information check out:
http://www.depressioncenter.net/CM/EducationCMStaticPage.aspx?pageid=Education_1
http://www.benefits-of-honey.com/health-benefits-of-honey.html
http://www.dietanddepression.com/

Ovarian Cancer

The ovaries (each about the size of an almond) are an important part of the woman’s reproductive system. The ovaries are in charge of making the hormones estrogen and progesterone. They also release the eggs for ovulation (once menopause starts, the ovaries stop releasing the eggs and fewer hormones are produced).

Cancer begins from cells over producing new cells and old cells not dying off. Extra cells can cause a mass or tissue, or a tumor to form. Tumors that are malignant are cancerous, benign tumors, are non-cancerous. Cancer cells spread by breaking away from primary tumor and entering the lympathic system or bloodstream here the cells can attach to different organs to damage those tissues (the spread of cancer is called metastasis). There are three forms of ovarian cancer, it can invade, shed or spread. Invade means that the tumor can grow onto organs next to the ovaries such as the uterus or fallopian tubes. Cancer cells that shed break off from main tumor and go into the abdomen area, leading to new tumors forming (sometimes called seeds or implants). Cancer cells can spread through the lymphatic system to lymph nodes in the pelvis, abdomen and chest or through the bloodstream to organs such as the live and lungs. When cancer cells spread to other parts of the body, it keeps it’s original name, and is treated accordingly. So, if ovarian cancer spread to the kidneys, it’s still called and treated ovarian cancer even though the cancer is now affecting the kidneys.

Risk factors for developing ovarian cancer are persons who have a family or personal history of cancer. Also, if a person is over 55 years old, never been pregnant and people who have undergone menopausal hormone therapy. Symptoms in the early stages may not be existent, but as the cancer develops, so does the symptoms. Symptoms may include, pressure or pain in the abdomen, pelvis, back or legs. A swollen or bloated abdomen, nausea, and/or diarrhea/constipation, and feeling very tired all the time. Less common symptoms include feeling to urinate often and unusual vaginal bleeding.

Diagnosis of ovarian cancer is done several ways. It can be diagnosed via a physical or pelvic exam. Also, by blood test checking the levels of several substances and by an ultrasound. A biopsy can be used to diagnose by removing tissue or fluid to look for cancer cells. This surgery (a laparotomy) is usually needed to diagnose ovarian cancer. A Pathologist will describe the grade of cancer cells one a 1 to 3 scale. Grade 1 cancer cells are not likely to grow and spread, whereas grade 3 cancer cells are highly likely to spread and grow elsewhere. There are four stages to ovarian cancer. Stage 1 cancer cells are found in both ovaries, stage 2 cancer cells have spread from the ovaries (one or both) to other tissues of the pelvis. Stage 3 cancer cells have spread to tissues outside the pelvis or to the lymph nodes and stage 4 cancer cels have spread to tissue outside the abdomen and pelvis (cancer would be found in organs such as the liver lungs etc.)

Treatment methods include local therapy, intraperitoneal chemotherapy and systemic chemotherapy. Local therapy includes surgery or radiation to remove or destroy the cancerous cells in specific areas. Intraperitoneal chemotherapy is used to destroy and control cancer in the abdomen and pelvis by injecting drugs directly into those areas through a thin tub. Systemic chemotherapy enters the bloodstream to destroy and control the cancer cells; it can be taken orally or injected into a vein.

For tips on coping, you may want to read the NCI booklet Taking Time: Support for People With Cancer. NCI’s Information Specialists at 1-800-4-CANCER and at LiveHelp (http://www.cancer.gov/help) can help you locate programs, services, and publications. For a list of organizations offering support, you may want to get the NCI fact sheet "National Organizations That Offer Services to People With Cancer and Their Families."

Anthony McClanahan
April Green
41 Sports Intern

For further information please visit: http://www.medicinenet.com/ovarian_cancer/index.htm