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The Best Against Cancer: Prevention

Published on 31.01.2013 13:30:40CET


Experts who gathered at the first Spanish Cancer Summit this week at the Ministry of Health and organized by the Spanish Cancer Group (GEPAC) have argued that, contrary to normal thinking, the best treatment for cancer is actually both primary and secondary prevention through healthy lifestyle habits or screening programs.

The conference, which was attended by politicians, representatives of public and private institutions, scientific societies, oncologists, patients and other experts, aims to contrast positions, define common goals in the cancer strategy, and develop the first page. route with different procedures to be followed at national level.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 14 million new cases worldwide are diagnosed each year and its prevalence continues to grow. In Spain, according to the Spanish Medical Oncology Society (SEOM), 228,482 diagnoses were produced in 2017 and are expected to increase by 70 percent in the coming decades.

However, as explained by family doctor María Luisa Martín Alfaro, a patient with breast cancer, up to 50 percent of cancer, "can be prevented by healthy behavior". "It's more effective than the best treatment, prevention is the foundation," he said. In this regard, he has argued that the "priority" of the healthcare system should be addressed in this aspect.

At the same time, Pilar Garrido, head of the medical oncology department at Ramón y Cajal University Hospital, said that "up to 90% of the resources are dedicated to improving diagnostic and therapeutic tools". Although it admits that they are "decisive", he says it is "just the tip of the iceberg."

"The key would be to move on to primary prevention strategies by controlling the most common cancer risk factors," said Garrido. The same view is shared by Florentino Pérez Raya, Chairman of the Joint Care Council, who has taken a step forward and promotes education in healthy habits from the very beginning, in the schools themselves.

"Children should get used to managing a healthy life and avoiding dangerous habits such as smoking or playing sports," said Pérez Raya, who also defended a school nurse as an appropriate social agent in promoting these healthy practices. not only limited to the primary cures he usually carries out.


Garrido, a lung cancer expert, has focused on the ability to prevent these tumors by stopping smoking. The doctor has asked for "measures to continue" against tobacco. "The control of the Tobacco Law is flourishing, its adherence is easier, we should not be passive citizens, but administrations have a great responsibility," he criticized.

Referring to various studies, he reiterated that lung cancer screening for high-risk smokers reduces mortality. "This is a topic that needs to be discussed as we identify smoking citizens in these screening programs, the belief is to believe in prevention, because they are the ones that can help most to control this problem," he said.

With regard to patient confidence, Martín Alfaro, as a doctor and patient, has explained in detail that "they sometimes refuse to change these habits, such as quitting tobacco". Therefore, he has chosen to disseminate information that has been tested out of consultation to "escape" from Dr. Google, because then it costs a lot to remove myths. " "The best advice is from a professional, because sometimes patients come very confused," he concluded.

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