Prof Irinel Popescu is a prominent surgeon and a member of the Romanian Academy of Sciences. He is a leader in surgical oncology and liver-related medical procedures. For the last three decades, Prof Popescu has been the pioneer and motivator of liver transplants in Romania and the founder of a Romanian school for liver transplantation.
Prof. Popescu is a social contributor in raising the public awareness for organ donation, which Romania is still showing a very sluggish progress in.
He is a member of many local and international medical associations and a respectable writer and speaker in the most important medical and surgical conferences.
Prof. Popescu serves as the President of the Romanian Academy of Medical Sciences and as a Corresponding Member of the Romanian Academy.
Cancer and lifestyle
Cancer continues to be an important deathcause, despite the advances made by modern therapy (targeted therapies, immunotherapy, stereotaxic radiotherapy, etc.).
Under such conditions, it is even more necessary to inform the population about the means of preventing this terrible disease, especially because such means exist.
Specialists have gathered sufficient evidence proving that most the important cause of many cancers is lifestyle, smoking, alcohol overuse and unhealthy eating habits especially. In addition to these we have certain environmental factors and some infectious agents.
The cancers considered to be preventable include:
- cervical cancer
- pulmonary cancer
- colorectal cancer
Apart from smoking, the lifestyle habits that make us prone to the appearance of cancer also include the combination of sedentariness and lack of physical activity.
HPV infection (the human papilloma virus) is responsible for cervical cancer. Since there is no specific treatment against this virus, the only recommendation that can be made is that of vaccination at the age of 10-11 years.
Excessive alcohol consumption was responsible for about 1.8% of cancers diagnosed in Canada in 2015.
Researchers estimate that over 11,000 cancers could be prevented annually if smokers would give up this habit. Another 6,000 cancers could be prevented if the overweight would return to normal weight.
Recent data accuse abdominal adiposity among risk factors with a major role in the development of cancer.
"Obesity is the new smoking"
According to Eduardo L. Franco, chief editor of the Preventive Medicine magazine and director of the Department of Cancer Epidemiology at McGill University in Montreal, abdominal adiposity will replace the lack of physical activity, considered the second cancer cause that can be prevented, by 2042.
The same author states that obesity is generally a major factor that makes us predisposed to cancer.
"Obesity is the new smoking", here is a new paradigm that is foreseen.
A recent study in Canada shows that the reduction in body mass index (BMI) could prevent 42,742 cancers by 2042. In other words, if Canada's population could return to BMI level from 1994, 72,157 cancers could be prevented by 2042.
This is the beginning of a real crusade against obesity, which seems to be even more difficult than the one against smoking.
An analyse of the Canadian lifestyle has shown that over 80% of Canada’s people do not consume enough fruit and vegetables. Data from 2015 shows that between 0.3 and 0.7% of new cancers can be attributed to a low consumption of fruits and vegetables.
It has been calculated that by eating an extra portion of fruit and vegetables per week can reduce the incidence of colorectal cancer to a significant percentage.
Specialists also found an association between eating red meat and processed meat and the appearance of cancers.
It has been calculated that reducing the consumption of red meat and processed meat can prevent a significant number of cancers.
To prevent melanoma, specialists recommend reducing the level of sun exposure.
In 2015, 62.3% of melanomas could be attributed to exposure to ultraviolet radiation. The remaining 29.7% could be attributed to a combination of sun exposure (including related burns) or exposure to rays in sun beds.
A series of infections can cause certain types of cancers and the prophylaxis or treatment of these infections is the most effective means of preventing this type of cancer. Therefore:
- Hepatocellular cancers can be produced by the hepatitis B virus, for which there is an effective vaccine
- Hepatocellular cancer can be produced by the hepatitis C virus, for which there is no vaccine, but there is an effective treatment
- Gastric cancer can be produced by helicobacter pylori, a bacterium for which there is an effective treatment
- Cervical cancer can be produced by Human Papilloma Virus, for which there is an effective vaccine
Occupational exposure to certain toxic agents has also been blamed for the appearance of cancers. Thus, cancers such as mesothelioma, skin cancers (other than melanoma), breast cancer in women, bladder cancer can be attributed to exposure to solar radiation, asbestos, silicon, exhaust gases from motor vehicles. Another incriminated factor is night shifts in certain jobs.
As we can see, by identifying potential carcinogens, many of which are related to the lifestyle of the population, and by correcting them with the resources that modern medicine currently disposes of, the occurrence of many types of cancers can be significantly reduced.