According to data from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), for the year 2018 the cancer incidence rate for Argentina was 212 cancer cases per 100,000 inhabitants, placing it in seventh place in Latin America.
Likewise, in America cancer is the second leading cause of death and it is estimated that each year 2.9 million people are diagnosed with this disease and that 1.3 million die as a result of it.
The cancer with the highest incidence occurs in women and is breast cancer, with a rate of 73 cases per 100,000 women. Then it is followed by prostate and colorectal tumors in men.
Dr. Valeria El Haj, National Medical Director of OSPEDYC, explains that “the different types of cancers are diseases that occur when abnormal cells multiply uncontrollably, spreading through the blood and lymphatic system to other tissues and affecting different parts of the body. This process, better known as “metastasis,” is the leading cause of cancer death. The key is prevention, early detection of the disease and proper treatment, ”explains Dr. El Haj.
The professional points out that the most common risk factors for this disease are tobacco consumption, poor diet, excessive alcohol consumption, oncogenic infections, such as chronic infections of the human papillomavirus (HPV) and hepatitis B and C, and environmental pollution of air, water and soil by carcinogenic chemicals.
“Frequent medical check-ups are essential to detect cancer early, since in its initial stages most tumors are asymptomatic. Although early detection allows a more effective treatment, it is necessary to take into account that the symptoms, treatments and the evolution of the disease develop differently according to each patient ”, remarks Dr. El Haj. “By getting screened regularly, you can detect early, for example, breast, cervical and colorectal (colon cancer) cancers,” she adds.
To prevent this type of disease in time, Dr. Valeria El Haj, National Medical Director of OSPEDYC, shares the following prevention measures:
- Maintain a healthy diet based on the consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts, lean meats, skim products, among others, avoiding the consumption of toxins.
- Do physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day.
- Avoid exposure to the sun between 10 am and 4 pm, use sunscreen with a protection factor greater than 30 SPF and wear clothing that protects the skin. These measures should be especially extreme in children under 3 years of age and people with fair skin, light hair and eyes, throughout the year.
- Use a condom in all sexual relationships to reduce the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Human Papillomavirus (HPV).
- Avoid tobacco and maintain smoke-free environments.
- Get vaccinated: there are vaccines that help prevent certain types of cancers, including the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine and the Hepatitis B virus vaccine. Both are within the National Vaccination Calendar.
- Regular check-up with your GP.
Regarding treatment, the professional suggests that cancer can be treated with surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy or biological therapy. “The doctor can use a method or a combination of these, which will depend on the age and general health of the patient, the type and location of the cancer, the level of extension of the disease, among other influencing factors,” he concludes.
OSPEDYC is a social work with origin in UTEDYC- Union Workers of Sports and Civil Entities-, created to take care of the health of its beneficiaries, as well as that of its voluntary members.