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One Step Ahead

4 February is World Cancer Day – reminding us that the most feared illness is something to reckon with but also that preventive measures are well within our reach. More than anything, health is a lifestyle choice.

40 percent of malignant cancers are attributed to an unhealthy lifestyle. 16% of all tumours are the result of chronic inflammations. 71% of lung cancer patients are smokers. Had enough of those staggering facts and figures? Just you listen to this last one: by regular screenings and check-ups two third of cancer cases would be preventable.

"Malignant cells can propagate in the body for years going unnoticed without causing any palpable symptoms," says Dr. János Balázs Kovács, surgeon at Dr. Rose Private Hospital. "By the time it gets diagnosed, cancer is often beyond cure. By dodging check-ups patients are running unnecessarily high risks. Take cervical cancer, for example: a single check-up and consequent treatment for women between 30 and 40 could reduce the chance of malignancy by one third. There is a strict correlation between how laxed Hungarian women are about a cervical check-up and how high we are ranking in global cancer statistics. Not much to be proud of here."

Cancer is the second most common cause of death in Hungary. Lung cancer is leading the pack – diagnosed cases grew tenfold over the past fifty years! Colon cancer is high on the list generally, while prostate cancer and breast cancer are also some of the most frequent malignant diseases with men and women respectively. Roughly half of the 60-70 thousand annually diagnosed cancer cases prove to be terminal.
Age is often a trigger, but it's never too early for check-ups and screenings. "Certain check-ups are worth doing regularly after 20," explains Dr. Kovács, "as youth are reported to be more affected these days. Self-examination of the testes and breasts, and a dermatological ckeck is advisable for everyone above 20 years of age. Cervical screening can start as early as 18."

Good To Know

Bacteriobot – that's the phantasy name for an ingenious nano sized contract killer invented by South Korean scientists. The tiny blade runner is no lone gun thought: it works with a team of genetically modified bacteria that are reconnoitering telltale chemicals secreted by cancerous cells. Having located the baddies, the bacteria deploy a 3 micrometre size robot that sprays the prodigal cells with medicine. The technology has been approved in the United States, Japan and the European Union, and is ready for action.