Around 20% fewer cancer patients are being diagnosed than in previous years
Every year, on February 4, World Cancer Day is celebrated, promoted by the World Health Organization, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), and the International Union Against Cancer (UICC) with the objective of increasing awareness and mobilizing society to advance in the prevention and control of this disease. Since 2019, the World Cancer Day campaign is “I am and I will” calling on anyone to act against cancer. Any individual action can lead to a global change, and this is what we want to reflect. On World Cancer Day, who are you and what are you going to do?
Cancer is a disease that causes great, always precise, very dedicated both time and investments, media, and good organization. Physical and psychological suffering, death, and management Throughout the disease, many unforeseen and delicate situations arise that require a great individual adaptation to overcome them.
But, this year a new challenge has been added to this disease, the covid-19. We could not imagine that the pandemic caused by COVID-19 would affect cancer patients so much: fundamental tests and treatments ( radiology, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery ) are being deprogrammed, which will then be reprogrammed when possible. All these changes are causing a significant delay, both in diagnosis and in treatments.
The publications consulted tell us that around 20% fewer patients are being diagnosed with cancer than in previous years. This should keep us alert to the dysfunction that comes with the health crisis. The deprogramming of tests and treatments that are being carried out in the SNS (especially in severe pathologies, and specifically cancer), will require a great effort, and the collaboration of all the actors, including the users.
The first wave of the covid-19 pandemic led to a decrease in both the number of new diagnoses and the initiation of new treatments, and there is still no data for the second. The short, medium, and long-term consequences seem inevitable, despite the best efforts of professionals in the field of cancer.
In addition, we add to this that the early detection of cancer allows treating the tumor in its initial stages, increasing the possibilities of a curative treatment. To detect it, the healthy population at risk for this cancer must carry out a test that is usually easy to carry out.
A fundamental part of this situation is the Associations against Cancer, which must be represented in some way, and will contribute a truthful point of view. The Association “Alicante for the fight against Cancer” promotes a healthy lifestyle that includes avoiding tobacco consumption, having enough physical activity, eating healthy, limiting alcohol consumption, and avoiding excessive exposure to the sun.
Psychological care is essential, it seeks to support and guide the patient and their relatives, favoring their adaptation to each phase of the disease.
– The objective is to help the patient and their family members to recognize, face and channel the emotional reactions that may arise during the process.
– The goal is to provide the patient and family resources to improve the communication with your doctor and health.
– There are also services to support the grieving processes.
– From the Association pay attention to the face and by video call.
Manifesto of the Alicante Association for the Fight Against Cancer
• Maintain screening and diagnostic tests. The fear of cancer is perfectly justified.
• Organize very well and with great equity the rescheduling of tests and treatments that had been deprogrammed.
• Ensure that the medication that patients need is obtained safely, quickly, and effectively. In the current situation, it is almost impossible to communicate with care services (both specialized and primary).
• Consider patients with immunosuppression and cancer as a risk group, to include them in vaccination plans for covid-19.
• Invest in personnel and resources in the public health system, including part of the European funds. Take into account this and future pandemics to have what is necessary, in case a fourth, fifth, or sixth wave occurs, or a new pathogen.
• participation of civil society, through associations, in the organization of all these actions.