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Disease Control and Prevention

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1. Why might it be true that we spend more money on treatment than on prevention? Should we devote more of our resources to treating cancer or to preventing it? Defend your choice.

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– One incentive as to why drug companies place greater emphasis on cancer treatment as opposed to prevention is because after patenting a drug they expedite on demonstrating their product as “safe and effective” (Frakt 2015). It’s all about time and money where the sooner they complete “those studies, the longer they have until the patent runs out, which is the period of time during which profit margins are highest”(Frakt 2015). In my personal opinion, “most” products that are human carcinogens or let alone toxic substances should be banned. I am not talking about cigarettes or alcohol but more so hidden chemicals in products that can cause cancer. This is automatically an easy preventative measure. However, there still should be greater funding towards late-stage cancer treatment as I do think it’s probably more urgent considering that it is life-threatening and time-sensitive. Although I do understand genetics play a huge role in causing cancer in humans, I do also think it is also in our best interest to take personal responsibility for our own health and well-being to prevent cancer. For instance, smokers who willingly smoke not due to an addiction, for their mere enjoyment, have been made aware that cigarettes can cause cancer, and that is an independent choice they have made.

2. Pick one type of cancer and describe the following: the causes of this type of cancer, what gene or genes are/are mutated/deregulated to cause this cancer, and at least one prevention method (lifestyle change, habit, increased awareness, etc.) that can be used to reduce the risk of developing your chosen cancer.

– I selected oral cancer for this section because it’s usually one of the more forgotten ones that are caused by tobacco use next to lung cancer. According to Friedman (2019), oral cancer is a growth or sore in the mouth that does not go away which includes cancers of the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and pharynx (throat). Common symptoms include Swellings/thickenings, lumps or bumps, rough spots or eroded areas inside the mouth, unexplained bleeding in the mouth, unexplained numbness, loss of feeling, or pain/tenderness in any area of the face, difficulty chewing or swallowing, or moving the jaw or tongue, and etc. Risk factors that lead to the development of oral cancer include the use of cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco. According to Genes and Oral Cancer, “the p53 gene appears to be mutated at the transition of superficial to invasive carcinoma.” One prevention and reduction method against oral cancer is to not use any tobacco products and limit alcoholc consumption.

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