Thanks to advances in medicine, improvements in treatment methods, and early diagnosis, cancer, which was once described as a "disease of the age", ceased to be a disease associated with "death". However, pandemic conditions overshadow this success achieved in cancer treatment. Because the decrease in the applications for early diagnosis and screening programs and the disruption of the treatments cause the anxiety about the increase in cancer deaths. Drawing attention to the fact that breast, cervical and colon cancer screenings have decreased by 80-90 percent in the past year, Acıbadem Altunizade Hospital Medical Oncology Specialist Prof. Dr. Aziz Yazar said, “There has been a decrease in cancer diagnoses that could be made incidentally due to the rarity of routine examinations. The diagnosis of breast cancer, made in March last year, is 51 percent less than the previous year. There was a 65 percent decrease in all cancer diagnoses. With a simple calculation; We can say that the number of newly diagnosed cancer patients each year about 160 thousand persons in Turkey in 2020 we thought it could not get over 100 thousand people diagnosed with cancer. In other words, 100 thousand people live without knowing that they have cancer… The reason for this decline is not unfortunately the decrease in cancer, but the fact that cancer screening is delayed and they do not consult a doctor despite their complaints about being infected. So people are not aware that they have cancer, ”he says. Emphasizing the importance of early diagnosis and awareness in order to prevent pandemic conditions from bringing the prevalence of cancer to the peak, Prof. Dr. Aziz Yazar made important warnings and suggestions within the scope of April 1-7 Cancer Week.
The coronavirus, which was declared a global epidemic in March last year, has also radically affected the entire health system. Due to the measures taken to prevent the transmission of the Covid-19 virus, many hospitals were divided into a pandemic. Non-urgent surgeries and treatments were postponed until after the epidemic. On the other hand, as patients were afraid of going to health institutions, there were disruptions in diagnosis and treatment. This whole process has become worrisome, especially for cancer, for which early diagnosis is of great importance in treatment. Noting that since March last year, breast, cervical and colon cancer screenings have decreased by 80-90 percent and there has been a 65 percent decrease in cancer diagnosis, “Acıbadem Altunizade Hospital Medical Oncology Specialist Prof. Dr. Aziz Yazar continues his words as follows:
“According to a study, at least 2020 percent of patients diagnosed with cancer in September 32 are at a more advanced stage than expected. Current data also show that cancers to be diagnosed in the coming years will be at a more advanced stage and therefore treatments will be difficult. For this reason, those who have a family history of cancer or those in the risk group for cancer and those who have some complaints and symptoms should be encouraged to have their screening and tests. "
“Cancer is a preventable disease; but!"
Stating that cancer is largely a preventable disease, Prof. Dr. Aziz Yazar said, “Because 90 percent of cancer is due to environmental factors and 10 percent to genetic factors. Smoking, obesity, malnutrition, sedentary life, alcohol and infections occupy the most important place among environmental factors. "If these risk factors are removed, the risk of developing cancer will be significantly reduced." Pointing out that the society should be enlightened about risk factors, Prof. Dr. Aziz Author lists the points to be careful about preventing cancer as follows:
1- Avoid tobacco products!
The consumption of cigarettes and other tobacco products increases the risk of cancer. The risk also increases in those who are exposed to smoke even though they do not smoke. Nearly 90 percent of lung cancer develops due to smoking. It also causes many types of cancer such as head-neck, esophagus, bladder, cervical, pancreatic and kidney cancer. Avoiding or quitting tobacco is one of the most important health decisions you can make and the most important part of cancer prevention.
2- Try to be at the ideal weight
A sedentary life opens the door to weight gain and obesity. Obesity increases the risk of cancer, especially breast, esophagus, pancreas, uterus, ovary, colon, prostate and kidney. Being at your ideal weight is an important factor in preventing cancer.
3- Eat a healthy diet
Pay attention to the distribution of 4-5 portions of vegetables and fruits in your daily diet. In this way, you can reduce the development of some types of cancer by maintaining your ideal weight. Choose foods high in fiber. Studies show that colon cancer is more common in people who consume low-fiber foods.
4-Stay away from alcohol
Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to an increase in cancer risk as it weakens the immune system. Excessive alcohol can cause cancer development, especially in the head and neck, liver and pancreas.
5- Avoid inactivity
Increasing physical activity helps you control your ideal weight. In addition, physical activity can reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer. Make sure to do at least half an hour of physical activity every day.
6-Protect from the sun
To be protected from skin cancer, one of the most common types of cancer, do not be exposed to direct sunlight between 10.00-16.00 when the sun's rays are steep. Wear suitable clothing and sunscreen for protection from sunlight. Stay away from the solarium.
7- Get vaccinated
Liver cancer risk can be reduced with hepatitis B vaccine. With vaccination against human papilloma virus (HPV), the possibility of getting cervical, anal, penis and head and neck cancer can be reduced.