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Who Are Most Exposed To Cancers and 3 Stages of Prevention

Armen Hareyan's picture
World Cancer Day

Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly and avoiding smoking, makes it possible to prevent up to a third of the most common cancers, says On World Day Against Cancer, The Ministry of Health recalls preventive measures Doctor Fernando Arenillas from the Oncology Service of the San Martin de Parana Hospital in Argentina.


Dr. Arenillas explained to APFD Digital how cancers originate in our bodies. When we refer to cancer, we are talking about a set of diseases: it is not a single entity, but more than a hundred, which share a common characteristic. The uncontrolled reproduction of cells originate in an organ and that has the capacity to produce damage. In this way they can affect both their organ of origin and the neighboring organs locally; and they can also produce implants or colonies (called metastases) in other parts of the body, affecting places other than the primary point.

Cancers may have a poor prognosis if they are not treated properly or when they are treated at an advanced stage. Currently, the cancer curing rate is very high: "There are patients who are cured and in fact, the percentage is half or more".

Who are most exposed to cancers

Dr. Arenillas reported that we are all exposed to generating some type of cancer at some point in our lives: "In terms of exposure, we can say that factors such as lifestyle, customs, food, and environment intervene, so in general we are all exposed to a greater or lesser extent to produce some type of cancer." In addition, given that advances in medicine have allowed a prolongation of the average life, this also means that the time of exposure to risk factors is long and that we all have a better chance of developing an oncological disease over time.

Prevention of Cancers

Dr. Arenillas defined several levels of cancer prevention. In fact, the first level of prevention helps to prevent up to a third of cancers.

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The first stage (primary prevention) is referred to avoiding exposure to risk factors of cancer. Here come into play all issues that have to do with healthy lifestyles such as maintaining a good diet, exercising, not smoking and avoiding excessive exposure to the sun, as these actions help prevent up to a third of cancers more common. It even includes the promotion of vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) and hepatitis to prevent both cervical cancer and liver cancer.

The second stage of prevention refers to early detection: to finding cancer cases earlier and have more chances of treatment. It is done through the regular control of the patient's health: controls that we should all do regularly to investigate both this type of issues and also to rule out other pathologies such as diabetes and hypertension. Research is also carried out through the specific campaigns that are launched throughout the year to combat certain types of cancers.

The third level of prevention is the direct intervention of your doctor, who guides the patient when he has a strong suspicion that there is a disease.

Cancer treatment and recovery prospects

The success of cancer treatments depends very much on the stage in which it is found and on the particularities of each tumor. But in the last two decades, important advances have been made thanks to the genetic determinations of tumors: "Until about 20 years ago when talking about a treatment we were making big differences between the lung or prostate cancer, cancer of this or that; but the treatments nowadays do not generally distinguish so much between tumor subtypes but rather between the drug action mechanisms," explained Arenillas.

Thus, through genetic studies, the cellular characteristics of tumors can be identified, then treatments applied, using cancer drugs' action mechanism. "The same medication can be used for 4-5 tumors if they share the same mechanism of tumor production or the same molecular dynamics that cause failures in the repair processes," said Arenillas.

Anyway, early detection cancer is a crucial factor in all cases to improve the prospects of recovery, regardless of the treatment, assigned by the treating doctor. "In general, early detection is what marks the chances of survival and cure of the patient," said the oncologist, noting that in fact more than half of patients manage to heal.

Therefore, the closer to its initial stage the tumor is identified, the greater the medical resources available to cope and treat, which, depending on the case, may consist of a surgical intervention, radiotherapy treatments or preventive chemotherapy.