The keys to beating cancer: prevention, early detection and emotional support

Cancer is not invincible. Grosso modo, cancer is a disease that increases in an uncontrolled manner the cells of the body, generating an overproduction of normal cells in the human organism, which in turn causes it to fail and collapse.

According to estimates by the Global Cancer Observatory, by 2018, the incidence of this disease in the Dominican Republic hovered around 18 thousand cases, while the estimated number of deaths from it was more than 10 thousand people.

However, the Rosa Emilia Sánchez Pérez de Tavares National Cancer Institute (INCART), for that same year, presented a series of indicators that establish that around 60% of the patients who entered the Hospital Cancer Registry of that institution died during the first year after being diagnosed with the disease.

In addition, they indicate that the five most common types of cancer in the Dominican Republic are breast, prostate, rectum, lung and cervix. Breast cancer is the most common in women (while still affecting men) and prostate cancer in men.

Cancer is not invincible
INCART reported receiving 1,468 cancer cases in 2018 and by 2019, at least 1,263, for a difference of 205 fewer cases. However, since 2015 and until 2019, more than 1,000 cancer cases were diagnosed per year; with women being the population with the highest number of cases of the disease.
However, the current director of INCART’s Oncology Department, Ivette Rodriguez, publicly emphasized that the only way to reduce mortality from the disease is prevention and early detection.

“It has been proven that having a mammogram every year, over the age of 40, reduces the risk of cancer and has an impact on mortality. A patient with an early stage of breast cancer is not the same as one with a locally advanced stage as we are getting now. It is time for the community to get involved and respond to this commitment,” said Rodriguez.

Several ways to confront it

Dr. Angel Vargas, lawyer and psychologist
For lawyer and clinical psychologist and behavioral expert, Dr. Angel Vargas, the problem of cancer goes beyond the medical-clinical implications and consequences. According to Vargas, the disease causes in those who suffer from it and their loved ones a splitting of interpersonal relationships due to the fear of facing a situation that can lead to death and, consequently, to profound pain.

Depression, isolation, estrangement and emotional divorce are just some of the attitudes experienced by cancer patients and their closest relatives (such as partners) in order to avoid assuming the pain of a possible farewell.

One of the effects of cancer that is not recognized by those who suffer from it is usually depression.
The specialist assures that in order to face cancer in the most effective way, the family should go together to psychological therapy to seek guidance on how to handle the disease through relaxation exercises and self-esteem elevation techniques that can avoid low self-esteem and depression, thus eliminating any negative feelings that may provoke it. This condition can accelerate the process of health degeneration and cause death in less time.

Dr. Angel Vargas indicates that the fundamental therapeutic technique to treat cancer from the point of view of psychology and behavior is the “Acceptance Therapy” as a consequence of the disease.

Read also: Lifestyle changes and recurrent check-ups are recommended to reduce the incidence of cancer.

“My professional opinion, according to the cases I have been involved in, is that cancer can be beaten if emotional health is faced first before physical health,” emphasized Dr. Angel Vargas.

Cancer is not invincible
Despite the erroneous belief that a diagnosis of cancer is a death sentence, in today’s society and with today’s medical advances, there are thousands of cases of people who have beaten this disease.

Testimony of Rosidery Paulino, a cancer survivor
One of them is Rosidery Paulino, who arrived at her doctor’s office to receive two pieces of hard news; the first was that she had lost a baby and the second was that she was suffering from cancer. She said that although she went to the same doctor frequently, she had never been told that she might be suffering from the disease. She also reveals that her previous visit was only four months ago.

Her biggest challenge, she says, was to explain the situation to her son when her hair began to fall out and to try to make little Nick (and perhaps herself) see that this situation was normal for her condition and that it had to be faced with strength. Precisely to face it Rosidery highlights the influence of her support group that motivated her not from grief, but from the will to overcome.


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