Prevention is the best medicine Prevention is the best medicine

With a proper diagnosis, it is possible to reduce the chances of having cancer as well as its risk factors.

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Each year on February 4, World Cancer Day is held as an opportunity to increase awareness and bring attention to the fact that all of us -as individuals and as a collective- can help prevent and control the rising number of cancer diagnoses through strategies that target prevention, early detection and palliative care. In this vein, Coomeva Private Healthcare welcomes its affiliates and their families to identify the most common factors that can be modified to decrease the risk of the onset and development of this disease such as tobacco use, not consuming enough fruits and vegetables, the excess consumption of alcohol and a lack of physical activity. Implementing these preventative measures can help reduce this disease’s mortality rates.

According to the World Health Organization, the most preventable forms of cancer include breast cancer, cervical cancer, oral cancer and colon cancer as they have the highest chances of being cured if they are detected early and treated correctly. The following are five important aspects to consider when dealing with this condition.

 Other risk factors

Viral hepatitis B and C cause liver cancer, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection causes cervical cancer, and the bacterium Helicobacter pylori increases the risk of stomach cancer.

Air, water and soil contamination from chemical products causes between 1% and 4% of all cases of cancer. Exposure to carcinogens can also occur through food that is contaminated by these types of substances.

Ultraviolet radiation, and solar radiation in particular, cause skin conditions.

  1. Reduce alcohol consumption. This reduces the risk of having oral cancer, throat cancer, laryngeal cancer, esophageal cancer, intestinal cancer, breast cancer and liver cancer. Due to the greater incidence of hepatitis C virus, tobacco use and higher alcohol consumption rates, liver cancer is three times more common among men than women.
  2. Quit smoking. This is this is the primary measure for preventing lung cancer. While there are other factors that can cause it, cigarettes are responsible for 80% of all cases.
  3. Avoid excess weight. Leading a balanced diet and getting regular exercise is key to reducing the chances of the onset of these 10 types of cancers: intestinal, breast, uterus, ovarian, pancreas, esophageal, kidney, liver, prostate and gall bladder.
  4. Early detection. This the most effective secondary prevention measure for at least four types of cancer that cause the most number of deaths in Colombia and in the world: breast cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer. Getting tested and screened at the recommended frequency helps diagnose the onset of the disease in order to fight it and increase survival rates.
  5. Palliative care. This is a comprehensive form of support that improves the quality of life of patients and their families who are dealing with life threatening diseases, as it helps mitigate pain and other symptoms. Palliative care provides spiritual and psychological support from the time of diagnosis through the end of life and during the bereavement period, thereby easing potentially challenging situations treatments:

The National Cancer Institute explains the principal cancer treatments:

 Surgery: Removes tumors.

Radiotherapy: Destroys cancer cells with radiation and shrinks tumors.

Chemotherapy: Uses pharmaceutical drugs to kill cancer cells.

Immunotherapy: Stimulates the body’s natural defenses to fight cancer.

Targeted therapy: Takes specific actions on the changes that are furthering the growth, division and spread of cancer cells.

Others: Hormone therapy and stem cells transplants.

Sources:  World Health Organization and the National Cancer Institute