Que la palabra no sea fuente de malentendidos

Con el puño cerrado no se puede intercambiar un apretón de manos,

Mahatma Gandhi

El cáncer avanza y sigue provocando muertes entre quienes lo padecen. Pero todo debe ser analizado en su justa medida, ya que también empiezan a registrarse descensos en la incidencia global de la mortalidad y aumentos en el número de personas que han tenido cáncer y están curadas: un 50 por ciento, aproximadamente. Prevención e investigación siguen siendo las piedras angulares para frenar el acoso de esta enfermedad.

¿Por qué decir larga y penosa enfermedad cuando es cáncer? ¿Por qué decir el cáncer de la sociedad, por ejemplo, cuando queremos aludir a algo malo? Y es que, como bien decía Saint-Exupéry, la palabra es fuente de malentendidos, sentencia que en cáncer parece ser una realidad. Puede que este estigma tuviera cierta justificación en el pasado. Pero el presente es completamente distinto y el futuro, muy esperanzador: a pesar de que aumentarán los casos de cáncer en los próximos años, también lo harán los de las personas que se considera curadas, y se reducirían los índices de mortalidad en algunos de los tumores más frecuentes. “El cáncer es una enfermedad seria, como bien saben todos los que la han padecido.

Existe un antes y un después del diagnóstico de cáncer, pero actualmente se puede decir que el 50 por ciento de los cánceres se curan. En España, por ejemplo, hay un millón y medio de personas curadas y que, por tanto, no han muerto a consecuencia del cáncer”, ha señalado Emilio Alba, presidente de la Sociedad Española de Oncología Médica (SEOM), que junto a diversas asociaciones de pacientes y de periodistas ha reclamado, dentro de los actos que hoy celebran el Día Mundial del Cáncer, que se elimine de esta palabra toda connotación de destrucción o negatividad bajo el lema Llamemos a las cosas por su nombre. No es una larga y penosa enfermedad: es cáncer.

La cuarta acepción
La SEOM ha avanzado que ya está trabajando con la Real Academia de la Lengua para que se elimine la cuarta acepción de la palabra cáncer como algo destructivo, así como con los medios de comunicación para variar los libros de estilo en relación con esta enfermedad. La Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS) y la Unión Internacional contra el Cáncer siguen centrando sus esfuerzos en la prevención, como principal vía para eliminar un nada desdeñable número de casos, y consideran que esta enfermedad sigue siendo y será una de las principales causas de mortalidad en el mundo. El progresivo aumento de la población y el envejecimiento son los elementos que harán que entre el periodo comprendido entre 2007 y 2030 los nuevos casos de cáncer pasen de 11,3 millones a 15,5 millones.

De hecho, uno de cada tres hombres y una de cada dos mujeres padecerán esta patología a lo largo de su vida. Actualmente afecta a cerca de 12 millones de personas en todo el mundo. Un informe realizado por la Fundación ECO (Excelencia y Calidad de la Oncología) y presentado con motivo del Día Mundial del Cáncer alerta además del incremento de la incidencia en menores de 65 años en los próximos diez años. Así, y según Eduardo Díaz-Rubio, vicepresidente de la citada fundación, en 2020 podrían registrarse 242.000 nuevos casos de cáncer, de los que el 38,6 por ciento se correspondería con personas menores de 65 años.

Esto se traduce en 93.372 nuevos casos en esta franja de edad, frente a los 77.382 de 2010. Este cambio de patrón se reproducirá en todos los procesos neoplásicos, pero será especialmente destacable en el cáncer de mama “que afectará en un 60 por ciento del total de casos detectados a la población más joven”. El incremento en la incidencia y en la prevalencia de la enfermedad, sobre todo en países industrializados y ahora también en países en desarrollo, podría ser consecuencia directa del avance en el diagnóstico precoz, lo que no deja de ser algo positivo, y del irremediable envejecimiento de la población.

Puntos ganados
No obstante, y a pesar de estos previsibles incrementos, hay una inmejorable noticia: las tasas de supervivencia también mantienen una tendencia al alza. La presencia de representantes de las asociaciones españolas de afectados por sarcomas, tumores cerebrales, linfoma, cáncer de pulmón y de colon, en los actos del Día Mundial son la prueba evidente de la supervivencia a muy largo plazo. Pero es que, además, un trabajo realizado para la SEOM indica que, al menos en España, la incidencia de la mortalidad está disminuyendo en 1,3 puntos al año en hombres y en 1 punto en mujeres.

Según los datos que se dieron a conocer en el último Congreso de la Sociedad Americana de Oncología, en Estados Unidos, se ha rebajado en 1,6 puntos al año estas cifras, fundamentalmente por la reducción de casos de cáncer de pulmón debido a una reducción de fumadores.

Pese a todo, no hay que levantar falsas expectativas ni bajar la guardia. Pulmón, páncreas, hígado y tumorales cerebrales siguen siendo peligrosos enemigos y engordando las listas globales de mortalidad por cáncer, enfermedad, sin embargo, a la que se consigue vencer en muchos ocasiones.

LO QUE DEPARA EL FUTURO

CIRUGÍA: Tiende a la menor invasión y a la aplicación de la robótica. No curará más, pero sí será de menor morbilidad.  

RADIOTERAPIA: Siguiendo las pautas de los últimos 15 años, el tratamiento radioterápico disminuirá el daño en el tejido tisular y será más selectivo.

FARMACOLOGÍA: La terapia molecular avanzará de tal forma que se dispondrá de fármacos personalizados que actuarán sobre vías específicas tumorales de señalización.  PREVENCIÓN: Barata y eficaz, es una herramienta de primer orden, ya que dos de cada tres cánceres pueden prevenirse. Precisa de una educación y concienciación social.  

INVESTIGACIÓN: Fundamental para los tumores más complejos. Los ensayos, básicos y clínicos, serán esenciales para mejorar los resultados.

Fuente: www.diariomedico.com

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