October Breast Cancer Awareness: A Moment for Thought and Action
October is marked as a critical month to raise awareness for breast cancer as it holds a great deal of importance.
During breast cancer awareness month, we are reminded of the value of early detection, knowledge of the disease’s risks, and support for those impacted by it.
A perfect opportunity to wear pink, raise awareness, support and improve our communities.
Knowing Breast Cancer and How It Affects Patients
What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is a critical medical condition where the cells in the breast grow out of control.
This results in the formation of a tumor that usually feels like a lump. These cells can infect nearby tissues and spread to other sections of the body if left untreated.
Although it primarily affects women, men can also get breast cancer.
Around 685,000 people died worldwide due to breast cancer in 2020*. Singapore has one of the highest cases of breast cancer in Asia.
The rate has tripled over the past 50 years, reaching 74 cases per 100,000 women*.
Challenges Faced by Breast Cancer Patients
Breast cancer patients deal with a wide range of psychological and physical difficulties.
On a physical level, individuals may have some symptoms affecting their quality of life, from treatments like chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and endocrine therapy.
These symptoms vary from person to person. However, urinary and vaginal health problems have been commonly reported, during and after these treatments, by women patients.
Chemotherapy can cause premenopausal women to experience an early menopause, which can increase the risk of vaginal atrophy and urinary incontinence.
Radiation to the pelvis can harm the bladder and nearby structures, leading to radiation cystitis or increased frequency and urgency of urination.
Surgery can result in lymphedema, which can put pressure on the bladder and cause urinary incontinence, particularly if the lymph nodes are removed.
Vaginal dryness and other menopausal symptoms can be brought on by or made worse by endocrine therapies. The discomfort, elevated risk of urinary tract infections, and urinary incontinence can exacerbate this dryness.
Vaginal Problems in Women Receiving Breast Cancer Therapy
Women who have had breast cancer therapy may experience a variety of vaginal complications as a result of different treatments.
Many women experience vaginal dryness at different times throughout their lives, particularly during menopause. However, the beginning of this symptom can be particularly severe in women receiving treatment for breast cancer.
The delicate hormonal balance of the body, especially estrogen, is crucial for preserving vaginal health.
Significant changes in hormone levels may result from breast cancer treatments like chemotherapy and particular hormonal therapies.
In premenopausal women, chemotherapy can cause early menopause and a sharp drop in estrogen levels. Vaginal atrophy and dryness may result from this sudden hormonal shift.
Similar to this, hormone therapy medications like tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors work to block or lessen the impact of estrogen in the body, which may worsen or cause vaginal dryness symptoms.
- Vaginal Atrophy
The term ‘vaginal atrophy’ describes the thinned, dried-out, and inflamed vaginal walls brought on by a decline in estrogen levels, which is frequently experienced during menopause.
Symptoms of this condition include vaginal dryness, burning, itching, discomfort during sexual activity, and an increased risk of urinary tract infections.
Urinary incontinence, or the unintentional loss of urine, can be a side effect experienced by some breast cancer patients.
Treatments such as chemotherapy can induce early menopause, leading to reduced estrogen levels.
This hormonal change can result in weakened pelvic muscles and urinary tract issues, contributing to incontinence.
Additionally, certain medications and the stress of a cancer diagnosis can exacerbate urinary problems. Patients must communicate these side effects to their healthcare practitioners to manage and potentially alleviate symptoms.
Treatments for breast cancer can weaken the immune system, leaving patients more prone to infections.
White blood cell counts frequently drop as a result of chemotherapy, lowering the body’s main line of defense against viral and bacterial pathogens. Additionally, surgical procedures carry a risk of postoperative infections.
Radiation can weaken nearby healthy tissue, making it more susceptible to infection while also killing cancer cells.
Therefore, those who have breast cancer and those who have survived it need to be cautious about the risk of infection while also paying close attention to their symptoms and getting regular checkups.
Unlocking Hope: Fotona Smooth XS in Breast Cancer Survivors Getting Back Life Quality Again
With the advancement of technology, new machines and equipment are being introduced.
Among these is the Fotona Smooth XS, which aids in breast cancer related gynecological conditions.
With the help of this innovative technology, a number of issues can be resolved effectively.
Because Fotona Smooth XS uses a non-invasive, non-ablative, and painless method, patients can choose it with confidence and ease.
The procedure also involves minimal to no downtime for the patient.
These key features are significant for breast cancer survivors because it helps them experience as little discomfort and lifestyle disruption as possible.
Fotona Smooth is a helpful tool for gynecologists to fulfill the hopes of their patients and improve their life quality.
Fotona smooth XS is an innovation in gynecological lasers.
It works on non-ablative thermal stimulation principle which involves using modulated erbium YAG laser to trigger tissue repair, regeneration and tightening via the body secondary wound healing mechanism.
Carefully modulated thermal energy penetrates the skin without burns or irritation stimulating improved circulation and the synthesis of collagen and elastin.
Urologists and gynecologists can use this technology to improve the tissue health and general well-being of their patients.
Benefits of Fotona’s ER: YAG with Smooth-Mode
With FOTONA Smooth Mode, the treatments are based on a specially engineered, patented, non-ablative laser mode that delivers effective solutions for patients suffering from more than one type of problem.
Fotona’s Variable Square Pulse (VSP) technology forms controlled sequences of square-shaped pulses, enabling the pulse duration and energy levels to be adjusted and making it safe and highly adaptable for a variety of medical operations.
Precision is what distinguishes this laser from others. Er:YAG laser is perfect to treat lesions of the uterine neck and vagina.
Water in the skin readily absorbs the Er: YAG laser wavelength, enabling careful control and terminating unnecessary absorption.
This feature prevents damage to the surrounding tissues, allowing quicker recovery and reduced suffering for the patients.
A revolutionary use of Incontilase laser mode is treating stress and mixed urinary incontinence.
- This laser treatment strengthens the anterior vaginal wall and improves the urethral support thermally by using proprietary “Smooth-Mode” technology, which lessens the symptoms of incontinence. Those with bladder control problems can find relief using this non-surgical method.
- Two sessions of Incontilase® with a one-month interval are usually sufficient to treat mild or even moderate stress urinary incontinence.
- Incisionless and normal everyday activities can be started immediately without any risks. Recovery is quick
Treatment for Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause/Vaginal Atrophy
Renovalase® works by non-ablative gentle photothermal treatment of the vaginal canal using very low energies that cause mild hyperthermia and induce microvascularization and tissue regeneration without shrinking the collagen. It restores normal vaginal mucosa structure and function and eliminates the need for long term estrogen treatment.
- This laser mode aims to address vaginal dryness and associated symptoms. By carefully delivering gentle heat in the vaginal canal via Smooth-Mode, the laser induces micro-vascularization, fibroblast activity, and collagen formation.
- This non-ablative treatment restores the thickness of the vaginal wall, improving its structure and reducing dryness, itching, burning, and discomfort.
- Lasting results without the need for constant applications of creams and gels.
- Minimally invasive but walk-in/walk-out procedure.
Laser treatment for Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Prolaplase® is a laser treatment for pelvic organ prolapse that uses Fotona SMOOTH® laser technology to photothermally strengthen the tissue around the prolapse area via laser-mediated stimulation of collagen remodeling and synthesis of new collagen fibers.
- Employing Smooth-Mode to fortify the tissues around the prolapse area it is intended to induce collagen remodeling and formation of new collagen fibers.
- Aids in delaying or even avoiding more invasive procedures for pelvic organ prolapse.
- 3 to 5 sessions of Prolaplase® at a one-month interval are usually sufficient for most patients.
- Good results even for a higher grade prolapse.
- Incisionless with quick recovery.