Cancer in pandemic: a constructive look that bets on the future

2020 will remain etched in the memory of almost everyone. The appearance of this SARS-CoV-2 strain deteriorated human life, causing irreparable physical and mental losses. It is very difficult to go through oncological disease in a climate of “normality” and from a medical and psychological point of view, the presence of family, friends and relatives of each of the patients with Cancer.

During this pandemic the opposite was achieved, the estrangement from people. The feeling of loneliness and confinement prevailed in each one of them and therefore the quality of life of these patients was deteriorated.

Cancer is a disease in which modifications (mutations) are produced in the DNA of our cells so that those functions for which they were predestined change. Multiple causal agents have been recognized that can be genetic and non-genetic, such as environmental, personal, socioeconomic, physical, chemical, dietary, infectious habits and others.

During 2020, medical consultations by telemedicine grew exponentially so, thanks to them, they could control, albeit remotely, to patients who were at home without being able to travel on public roads.

The diagnostic studies decreased considerably in this period. Mammograms, breast, abdominal and gynecological ultrasounds, PAP and colposcopies, radiological and tomographic studies fell between 40 and 60%, while invasive diagnostic procedures such as video colonoscopies and upper digestive endoscopies fell between 80 and 90%.

Regarding us, the doctors, we had the possibility of taking distance courses and workshops. Through the networks we were able to develop and improve ourselves, which was a very constructive and innovative work in many cases.

Cancer is the second medical cause of death in Argentina and in the world, after cardiovascular events. Although it is usually diagnosed from a mature age, the cellular changes that lead to the disease begin much earlier, so prevention, early detection and awareness are important at any age.

The number of people suffering from cancer around the world is increasing. On the one hand, because we live longer than before, thanks to the development of new medical treatments (scientific research discovered ways to reduce the risk of developing the disease and the probability of death from this condition), more effective diagnostic methods and less surgical procedures. bloody and more accurate. On the other, due to the lifestyle we lead.

It is in each one of us, supported by government health policies and actions, to take the necessary measures to contribute to prevent and detect early cancer.

How can benign tumors be differentiated from malignant ones?

There are four characteristics that differ between them.

  1. The Cell differentiation. Benign tumors are well differentiated while malignant ones are undifferentiated or have atypical structures.
  2. The growth rate. Benign tumors grow very slowly while malignant ones, depending on their degree of differentiation, will divide more or less quickly.
  3. The local invasion. Benign tumors do not invade or infiltrate neighboring tissues, whereas malignant tumors infiltrate surrounding tissues.
  4. The capacity of metastasize. Benign tumors do not metastasize while malignant ones cause distant invasion.

The author is a clinical oncologist and a member of the Argentine Cancer Society (MN 110.535)

Cancer

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