Information regarding the prevalence (incidence) of cancer in the population can be frightening. At Lot of population suffer from a malignant disease, and cancer will affect one in three of us during our lifetime. What do these alarming numbers actually tell us?
Longer life and biological limit of the organism
In recent years, the average life expectancy of the population has significantly increased – we live longer and more people live to see cancer . A large part of new oncology patients is older than 60 years and there is a buried dog. Throughout the 19th century, life expectancy was between 30 and 40 years, while today we are around 80. lso due to advances in medicine. It advances in the prevention and treatment of many diseases. We are increasingly able to overcome heart disease, chronic inflammation and other problems until we reach the very biological limit. And this determines, among other things, the “error rate” in cell division and the emerging cancer growth.
Cancer is becoming a chronic disease
Cancer diseases are no longer fatal: new cases are on the rise, but mortality is not rising. Cancer is gradually becoming a chronic disease that can be lived with. This is due to prevention, which makes it possible to find and treat cancer while it is still possible, but also to the development of new drugs. They can not only better remove cancer, but also eliminate the side effects of cancer treatment , which makes therapy more successful and returns patients to a better quality of life.
Travel and lifestyle
Our behavior has changed in many ways in recent years. Mankind is traveling at a rate it has never experienced before, and therefore far more viruses are circulating than in the past. Infections that we considered tropical are common in our country today (for example, the virus known as hand-foot-mouth). Viruses have a great influence on the development of tumors and not only on them. They can also start autoimmune diseases.
In other areas, too, we behave differently from our ancestors. We sunbathe more, even in regions where we are not adapted to the intensity of sunlight. We drink more alcohol, move less, have a different diet. We are more promiscuous. We smoke more, and because we live longer, we have time to smoke much more.
Interventions in natural processes
The occurrence of cancer may also be due to our interventions in natural processes, which previously functioned as a selection of stronger individuals, but without which we can hardly imagine our society. We will not give up the treatment of infertility, vaccination or rescue of premature babies “in the interests of the healthy genome of mankind.” Helping the weak and needy is a fundamental value of our civilization.
The number of newly detected cases is also influenced by modern medicine, which can, for example, detect older prostate cancers in older men, which grow slowly and can never kill their carriers. With previous screening methods and approaches to the health of the elderly, these tumors would never be detected. In short, we ask more questions, so we learn more.
Cancer should only scare us to the extent that we decide to go for a preventive examination and behave in such a way that we do not harm ourselves unnecessarily. The good old “save yourself,” as our grandmothers used to say, is still relevant.