LUNG CANCER THE SERIAL KILLER OF ONCOLOGY.
The serial killer? Yes, of course, there is no one who kills more people from Cancer in the world and in Mexico than Lung Cancer, and if you don’t believe me, let me share with you some “hard data” that speak for themselves.
Counting the sum of both sexes, Lung Cancer shares, together with Breast Cancer, the first place in world incidence with 11.6% of all Cancer cases on the globe, this represents 2,094,000 people affected, in the male correlates with 22% of deaths from this condition with a figure of 1,184,947 deaths according to the latest universal data available from the Globocan platform for the year 2018.
Although the problem is more common in men than in women, in the last two decades “the gap has been closing”, in such a way that today we have 52% men and 48% women in the world statistics and in Mexico the proportion is 55% vs 45% also favorable to the male gender.
It is clear that tobacco consumption is the most important risk factor (at least 2/3 of the cases), but it is also true that there are many other related factors that are not taken into account, what is more, they are not even known by most people, nor by the health or government authorities of our country, so obviously, it does not receive any attention, unfairly, any prevention measure, or risk reduction, any alert “focus”, any “little monkey”, no illuminated building on November 17, the day of its commemoration, no soccer team carries a badge to make people aware, no effort to counteract the “serial killer” of Oncology.
Although the high costs and taxes related to the sale of tobacco, as well as the restrictions on smoking in public places and closed spaces have discouraged some consumers, this has clearly not been enough to reduce their morbidity and mortality. Much less so, when we talk about the other risk factors faced by people exposed to wood smoke, the most common cause of lung cancer in our women in rural areas of Mexico (15-20% of the more than 122 million of Mexicans), of “taqueros, taxi drivers, truck drivers and other people exposed to various air pollutants such as radon or asbestos. On this issue, there is simply nothing, no action on it.
Associated with lung cancer, not much is done with the environmental pollution associated with respiratory health, in fact CDMX (and some others as well) are today a true concentration camp that undermines the health of those who breathe that great amount of carcinogenic substances. Until today, we have no idea how many people will be fatally affected by this contamination, if we know that above 110 “imeca” units there are repercussions on health, and we usually wait until the limit to put measures… I wonder, why not take them since we are around 100? I do not know. Regarding the contamination of water with arsenic residues in some subsoil water tables, -water that all the residents of certain regions of our country drink-, well, better not even talk about it, there is absolutely nothing and all of this contributes to increasing the figures of this sickness.
This group of diseases known simply as Lung Cancer, are also the most complex in the world of Oncology, their mutationality and diversity, requires in practically all cases, the planning of an individualized therapy and its average cost is around $ 100,000.00 pesos per month, far beyond the reach of most Mexicans.
Virtually no availability of modern drugs in the Health Institutions of our country, with only 5% of Mexicans with insurance for major medical expenses, the deferral times for care, (which occur on the one hand, due to the delay of the patients themselves to attend and on the other, due to the bureaucracy that exists in the referral and against referral to specialized medical services, times that range between 8 and 10 months to start a treatment, the same period as just a little over a decade ago, was the life expectancy of a patient with advanced Lung Cancer) has made lung cancer a true serial killer.
Like most tumors, these also start, they are usually “silent” perhaps the earliest symptoms and that should alert the patient to go immediately to consultation are: cough lasting more than 3 weeks, chest-back pain , fatigue and/or weight loss for no clear reason, in more advanced stages: blood in the expectoration, bone pain or fractures, headache or even seizures or severe liver and abdominal problems. It goes without saying that many times these symptoms are confused and treated as if they were other types of diseases and when patients arrive at oncology, it is generally already in very advanced stages, so in the event of any symptom we must rule out in the first instance that it is cancer of the lung.
In Cancer, “time is money” and in this type of tumor there is clear evidence of this, only the minority with early tumors will qualify for surgery with acceptable prospects for cure, in the rest of the cases it will not be so, it will be necessary to use biological agents, personalized medicine, immunotherapy, depending on the case of each type of cancer and each particular patient, with life expectancies of around 2 to 5 years.
Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy in Lung Cancer have lagged behind, in general they only give us about a year of survival on average, therefore early diagnosis and even more, risk reduction and prevention, have a prominent place. . In this regard, the Nelson study published both in 2003 and 2011 provides very interesting data on the use of low dose rate CT in certain risk groups.
Inexplicably in Mexico it is not done. If mammography, Pap smears or colonoscopy itself are advertised, why not at least one screening of the most deadly of tumors if there are already forms of early detection?
The principle in the face of this disease is the same as always, being co-responsible in caring for our health and not waiting for others to do things for us… start with what is up to you. If you are a smoker, do not smoke, your risk may be equal to that of the general population 10 years later, protect yourself from the rest of the risk factors and take specific actions today, tomorrow could be too late.
At ProOncavi AC we have started an information campaign on this serious problem and starting this month of November, precisely on the 17th, within the framework of the commemoration of the World Day Against Lung Cancer, we were formally invited to participate as members of the United Front for the Lung Cancer: “United to transform Lung Cancer care in Mexico and achieve the guarantee of dignified and comprehensive treatment for all people”, in which the Associations participate: Breathing with Valor AC, Rebeca de Alba Foundation, Fundación Salvati and now PROONCAVI AC We are grateful that the work we do in prevention and timely detection of cancer is recognized at a national level and we join this advocacy strategy.
At PROONCAVI AC (Pro Oncology and Quality of Life) we are here to inform and support you, if you have any questions, contact us, find us on social networks such as prooncavi (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube) consult our website: www.prooncaviac.org, write us: [email protected] or call us: 664 6858971.