Cancer is the loss of order in the tissue and organ where it develops. Cancer can appear when abnormal cells grow out of control. As they rapidly multiply they acquire abnormal sizes and shapes, ignoring their habitual limits inside the body, destroying neighboring cells and at times extending to other organs or tissues, a process known as metastasis.
According to Johns Hopkins University there are four predisposing factors for cancer to develop:
- Exposure to pollutants (fertilizers, pesticides, asbestos, paints with lead, etc.).
- Inadequate nutritional practices (lack of nutritional balance)
- Life style (resentment, hate, high levels of stress)
In Mexico, cancer is the second cause of death after accidents, particularly among those between the ages of 5 to 14 years of age where:
- 1 out of 650 children and adolescents develop cancer in the first 15 years of age.
- For every 1 million habitant minors there are about 120 new cases diagnosed each year
- Leukemia which affects the marrow and tissues that generate the blood cells. It produces a great amount of abnormal white blood cells which cannot perform their functions adequately. It is common among children between the ages of 2 to 6 years.
- Lymphoma affects the lymphatic system, which is the circulation network in our body in charge of eliminating impurities. It is common among children between the ages of 5 to 10 years of age and there are two varieties: Hodgkin and NonHodgkin lymphoma.
- Tumors of the central nervous system which include the brain and the spinal cord.
- Timely and correct diagnosis.
- Access to treatment provided by specialized health professionals.
- Access to the adequate technical infrastructure where to receive medical and psycho-oncological treatment.
Some challenges faced by people with cancer and their families:
- Inability to accept the reality of the situation
- Initially pediatric cancer presents signs and symptoms that are common to other diseases which can be confusing.
- Lack of medical professionals specialized in pediatric oncology.
The different types of cancer have their own characteristic signs (what is visible) and symptoms (what is felt), as well as different prognosis and treatments
For each patient the treatment depends on several factors: type of cancer, diagnosis, physical state of the patient, cancer progression, etc.
The treatment can include:
- Chemotherapy, medication is used to destroy cancerous cells.
- Radiotherapy, the use of radiation to destroy cancerous cells.
- Surgery, to remove the tumor.
Worldwide there are several ways of approaching the disease, which depend on
the availability of qualified human capital and adequate infrastructure, as well as the economic resources to pay for such services.
The integral treatment we provide at the Pediatric Oncology Center of Baja
California, uses a holistic approach to include the biological, psycho-social and spiritual components. By involving the families at each step of the treatment the patient’s adherence to their treatment increases, as well as their disease-free survival.
Based on our experience at the COP we have tested two main fundamental aspects of the treatment:
- Medical treatment by itself is responsible for a determined percentage of the patient’s survival.
- The exclusive use of complementary treatments does not change the genetic material of cancer cells.
At the COP we use several complimentary therapies, including among others:
- Music therapy
- • Group therapy
- Support groups
The cost of treatment depends on each case and it is determined by a set of
different variables. The Seguro Popular of Mexico, has a set of determined fixed prices for the treatment, however the variable costs represent a challenge in determining an average cost for treatment. Nevertheless, the average cost per patient oscillates between $350,000 MXN and $450,000 MXN.