– Interview by Hajar EL FAKER –
Rabat, 11/22/2020 (MAP) – Excessive consumption of red and processed meats (cold meats, dried meats, etc.), sugar and alcohol promotes certain types of cancer, said oncologist-radiotherapist, Majdouline Khounigere, from the Casablanca International Oncology Center.
“Conversely, balanced meals rich in fiber associated with physical exercise constitute a protective element”, she underlined in an interview with the MAP, on the occasion of the National Day of the fight against cancer. , celebrated on November 22 each year, noting that the anti-cancer diet aims to integrate all the nutrients with antioxidant action that can limit the growth of cancer cells.
She also indicated that there is no such thing as a preventive anti-cancer diet today, calling for the adoption of good habits and a healthy lifestyle and to find a certain nutritional balance. by practicing regular physical activity.
Dr Khounigere also specified that the celebration of National Day is an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of early detection and to emphasize new therapeutic advances, as well as to convey a message of hope to those affected by this disease.
Referring to the advances made by Morocco in recent years, she indicated that the Kingdom has experienced a meteoric evolution in the management of cancer, whether in terms of chemotherapy molecules, vaporized intraperitoneal chemotherapy or intraperitoneal hyperthermic therapies. targeted therapy, immunotherapy, surgical techniques and stereotaxic radiotherapy thus increasing the survival rate.
“We also have at the Casablanca International Oncology Center the + Novalis Truebeam STX + which enables targeted radiotherapy of very high precision”, she insisted, adding that Morocco is part of a process. in the fight against cancer, in particular with the National Cancer Prevention and Control Plan (PNPCC) which made it possible to build and reorganize several regional oncology centers, thus facilitating access to care.
Emphasizing the importance of early diagnosis in the treatment of all types of cancer, the specialist said that it improves the prognosis and the chances of recovery, noting that the tumors of better prognosis, it is that is to say the least aggressive, are testicular cancer and prostate cancer with a survival rate exceeding 80%.
“In Morocco, the most frequent cancers are breast cancer in women and lung cancer in men with 48,000 new cases of cancer of all types recorded annually”, she added.
Regarding the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on cancer patients, the doctor said that devices have been put in place in the various oncology centers to protect patients and nursing staff and to be able to continue a normal rhythm of consultation, care and follow-up, pleading in favor of early detection which saves lives.
The World Health Organization (WHO) had recently launched a strategy to eliminate cervical cancer, she recalled, considering that thanks to generalized access to vaccination, screening and with treatment, 5 million lives would be saved by 2050.
“Eliminating cancer would have seemed like an impossible dream before, but today we have effective, inexpensive, evidence-based tools to make that dream come true,” said the director. General of the Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The WHO strategy aims for 90% of girls to be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (responsible for cervical cancer) by the age of 15. It also predicts that 70% of women will be screened by the age of 35 and 45, and that 90% of women diagnosed with cervical disease will be treated.
If these measures are successfully implemented by 2030, new cases of the disease could be reduced by more than 40% and the number of disease-related deaths by 5 million by 2050. In addition, according to a a study recently published by the British medical journal BMJ, delaying treatment for cancer for a month can increase the risk of death by 6 to 13%. This investigation reinforces the conclusions of other research warning about the deleterious effect of the Covid-19 pandemic for other diseases.
British and Canadian researchers have analyzed the consequences of delayed treatment (surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, etc.) for seven types of cancer, based on 34 studies published over the past twenty years.
Outside the pandemic, “delays in treatment are the exception but can still affect 10% to 15% of patients,” explained oncologist Ajay Aggarwal, one of the study’s authors.
And the longer the delay, the greater the risk, say the study authors, noting that postponing the operation by 12 weeks for all women with breast cancer requiring surgery, as in containments linked to Covid-19, for example, would result in 6,100 additional deaths in a year in the United States and 1,400 in the United Kingdom.