What are some preventive diagnoses for cancer
"Every third cancer is preventable"
National Cancer Prevention Week
The second National Cancer Prevention Week takes place nationwide in September. This week in 2019 was initiated by the decade partners German Cancer Aid and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) with the aim of sensitizing and motivating more people to cancer prevention. Under the motto "Prevention is feasible, Mr. Neighbor!", Interested parties receive suggestions and information modules for their own prevention campaigns. Read more about this here.
Bmbf.de: Ms. Mons, you are promoting a rethink in cancer prevention. Why is it necessary?
Ute Mons: Because we have to reckon with a significant increase in cancer in the coming decades. Cancer is primarily a disease of old age - and the population is known to be getting older and older. On the other hand, every third cancer is preventable because it is lifestyle-related. For example, smoking is the cause of lung cancer nine out of ten. We can take countermeasures here through prevention.
Warning notices on cigarette packaging, awareness campaigns about alcohol and drugs in schools: Isn't that enough?
That is a small step - but the big leap is missing. There is one more mistake in the health care sector: smoking and alcohol consumption are seen as free choices. According to the motto: Everyone has the right to harm themselves. The fact that many smokers are dependent is completely ignored. And a lot of people don't get the support they need.
What kind of support would that be?
For example, behavioral therapy offers as part of weaning courses. A smoker can overcome physical dependence in a few days. Psychological dependence is more difficult. Smoking has become a habit for many people over the years: the cigarette with coffee, while waiting for the bus, during the break while small-talk with colleagues ... Here you can learn to deal with such "languishing situations" in weaning courses . Unfortunately, too few people use such offers.
People are lazy. We have to take this into account more closely in prevention programs. Getting active is a hurdle for many. And we have to lower this hurdle: Write to people, send tests, suggest preventive appointments. The lower the effort, the more likely an offer will be accepted.
What are your expectations for the National Decade Against Cancer?
I am pleased that prevention is a focus of the decade. I also hope that this will lead to a paradigm shift that will renew the cornerstones of prevention policy. So much suffering can be prevented in the long run.
Let's do a thought experiment: The cornerstones have been renewed! What does our world look like?
If you want to change something in your lifestyle, you can get help - whether in a preventive consultation with a doctor or in therapy. In addition, health policy and the health system provide incentives to live healthier. Medical checkups like colonoscopies are as normal as going to the dentist. In this way, precancerous stages can be removed. And cancer caused by viruses such as the human papilloma virus hardly exist anymore: because boys and girls are vaccinated at school.
Thank you for talking to us, Mrs Mons.
Prevention in the National Decade Against Cancer
What protects against cancer? What can everyone personally do in terms of prevention and care? And how can every single person be supported to live healthy? Prevention is a focus of the National Decade Against Cancer. Research on the further development of measures for maintaining health and prevention is being promoted in a separate working group. In addition, new strategies and methods are to be found that enable personalized early cancer detection.
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