Prevention of disease

Lung Cancer can be a very serious disease depending on the severity of the condition, there are however many ways in which it can be prevented from developing in the first place, these are known as prevention methods for the disease. Because lung cancer is much related to the way in which you live through diet, exercise etc. it can be prevented in various ways. It is mainly an environmental caused disease therefore when relating to prevention methods it is quite severely affected through the way people live their lives.

A major way in which it is possible to prevent it is to make people aware of it and make them familiarised with the way it is caused and how to prevent it, many people will tend to be on the watch and avoid the disease if they know more about it and what causes it to occur, prevention schemes can be either local or national. Local strategies to help prevent disease can be through health trusts, health promotion units, social services and also education and public health observatories.

Local ways in which you can make people aware of the effects and risks of lung cancer and TB are through educating people such as young people in schools, by holding events where children are given special teachings about the disease, involving playing games and quizzes, this can therefore make them aware of how lung cancer and TB are caused and so they will be cautious about it and the ways to avoid it. Individuals can increase their knowledge of certain diseases through information booklets available from local medical practices; this local strategy will make people more aware an able to prevent disease earlier.

Well- woman and well-men clinics are also available for regular/general check ups meaning that blood samples taken can be used as an early diagnosis of any other disease that could be present. Choices individuals make about how they live has effect on their health. National and local strategies educate and persuade individuals into making healthy choices. These choices include personal hygiene; the body is warm and moist from sweat making them ideal for micro- organisms to breed. Washing and changing clothes will help to reduce the number. Another individual choice is to smoke.

Smoking can give a temporary feeling of well-being but can damage health, a reduction in smoking will result in a reduction in the number of related diseases such as lung cancer and influenza. TB cases in countries started to rise since 1993; a national prevention method for Tuberculosis is the well known BCG vaccination. This is an injection that is given to people which can make them immunized against the Tuberculosis bacteria mycobacterium tuberculosis and mycobacterium bovis. The BCG vaccination is a national strategy that prevents people from getting TB; therefore it is important that everyone is given the injection.

It is checked over that people have had this vaccination especially before going on holidays in regions where TB is most commonly occurring such as in countries in South-east Asia and South Saharan Africa. The vaccination is however most commonly given to infants or young children in order to prevent them in getting TB as this vaccination is not effective in adults who may take it. This strategy is a national measure and every child is intended to receive it, usually if infants are not given the injection, schools take on the role and ensure that every child is immunized.

The BCG vaccine involves a tuberculin skin test; the purpose of this test indicates whether or not the person has been exposed to TB bacteria, it involves placing a small amount of TB protein under the top layer of skin on the inner forearm, if you have been in contact with the TB bacteria, then your skin will react will the antigens and develop a firm red bump within two days of the test, however this test is unable to show how long the person has been infected with TB or whether or not the TB is active or latent.

Another way in preventing TB from getting to others is to make sure that if they are in contact with a TB patient the infection is not active, as this would mean it can spread onto other people. That is why it is vital to carry out immediate treatment while the infection it is still in the latent stage as so to reduce the chances of the TB being transmitted to others.

If it is known that a person has active TB it is important that they are treated effectively and that close contact with them is avoided, so that the bacteria cannot spread, this is best done by wearing a facial mask in order to prevent the bacteria from being breathed in. This is also important for care workers who may deal with and have close contact with TB patients, wearing a facial mask will therefore protect them from inhaling the bacteria.

As TB is an airborne disease, it is of great significance that people do not occupy overcrowded areas as this will only make it easier for the bacteria to be transmitted, poor ventilation can also be one of the causes as new air does not pass through and filter the air, thus improving the chances of catching TB. All of these ways of preventing TB can therefore be emphasized on a local level through TV, leaflets and posters which can be available in many health practices like those available for lung cancer.

If care workers are involved then it is important that they are educated about these simple precautions which need to be taken to prevent spreading of the disease when concerning their own health and that of other patients that they may work with. Hospitals may have posters which remind people to wear a face mask at all times when near a TB patient, especially if the TB is active. National strategies for prevention of disease also include campaigns for both lung cancer and TB, the purpose of these campaigns is to educate people of the disease and the causes of it, and therefore to raise awareness of it.

Campaigns as these may focus on basic prevention methods which depend on the individual’s behavior, for example when regarding lung cancer, the key way in preventing lung cancer from commencing is to make people realise that smoking is one of the main ways in which it is caused, when involving something like smoking it is useful as a national campaign to have the aims of minimising the percentage of people from smoking, as this is the cause of many diseases including lung cancer.

Therefore it is a good idea to hold national smoking campaigns which emphasize on the harmful affects of smoking and breathing in second hand smoke, thus highlighting the damaging affects that it causes. Also a good balanced diet and exercise reduce risks of getting the disease, and so these aspects may also be discussed. When concerning TB the BCG vaccination may be discussed as well as the other behavioral precautions which can be taken that are listed above, therefore these methods are likely to be emphasized.

Once people are familiarized with the diseases they will be more careful in order to prevent it. This can also be done through advertising on TV commercials or even in health leaflets. Health leaflets tend to play a big part in educating people about issues, many people would have read such leaflets with interest, and therefore it would be useful if they are available in pharmacies, hospitals, GP practices, dentists or other health services.

Other methods of prevention include advising people about the benefits of maintaining a healthy diet with plenty of exercise; this can also be done nationally, again through leaflets or media. By showing people the benefits of exercise it may motivate a lot of people to switch to a better and healthier lifestyle. However, many factors can affect the prevention of disease including the public perception of the risks that they take for example; people continue to smoke because they have the wrong perception of the risks.

Another reason maybe because the individual has an unrealistic optimism when it comes to their chances of developing a disease; many people seem to assume that they will not be the one to develop the disease, therefore they continue to smoke and do not always take the necessary precautions for prevention such as when in close contact with a friend or family member who may have active TB, this could be due to the lack of personal experience of the disease.

The media plays a huge role in affecting an individual’s perception of risk, through the news, documentaries and TV dramas such as casualty. The media helps individuals to be more aware resulting in behavioral changes but if the risks are to over dramatized people may become too scared and as a result be reluctant to find out if they have a problem.

Although leaflets, posters and media are a very effective national strategy in educating people on the disease and on various prevention methods, some leaflets may only come out in English and will not have a selection of other languages that are available, there are many multi-cultural people who may not be able to or have difficulties in understanding English and so will not be able to benefit from the information provided, and so will not be aware of the various prevention methods of lung cancer and TB.

Even more concerning is that there is more of a limited access to information for those who are blind, most posters and leaflets do not have a version that is available in Braille so therefore these people tend to be excluded and will remain unaware of the prevention methods, this barrier also applies to those people who are deaf as they will not be able to receive information from TV commercials or through various documentaries which focus on the prevention, therefore these people remain to be more likely be at risk from lung cancer and TB.

As well as these barriers to prevention, there is also the case where leaflets are available, however many people tend to ignore them and do not bother to read them in order to find out about the prevention methods, therefore this means that they remain unaware of these methods of prevention.

As for the national BCG immunization programme, it turns out that this vaccine is only given to infants and young children in order to reduce their chances of getting TB, however adults are not given the injection as it tends to be ineffective in adults, this means that the adult population who have not been immunized against TB for various reasons (migration from different countries) are still at risk of getting TB.

Behavioral changes which can be made to prevent diseases such as lung cancer by doing more exercise and eating healthy etc. ay be ignored, many people cannot be bothered to fit exercise into their daily routine or may find it to be too much of a burden, even though local fitness centre’s are available, many people may be reluctant to use these facilities as it may come with additional costs for using the facilities, therefore people may not be willing to pay these costs due to various reasons such as thinking it may not be worth it, or unable to pay due to financial reasons etc.

Also it may be assumed that eating healthy is too much of a burden as some people may either not know how to or find it too time consuming to prepare healthy alternatives for their family (whereas it is a lot easier to prepare fast food choices or order take out foods). A barrier which comes along with campaigns may involve the lack of funding, since a lot of money needs to be put into a campaign in order to make it effective.

If there is an inadequate budget, then the campaign may not be as effective and can possibly fail if the proper job is not carried out. Other factors such as an inexperienced campaign leader or lack of a good working voluntary group can also result in the down fall of a campaign and so the prevention methods will not be able to reach the publics attention.

In addition there are other factors which may affect the prevention method of a disease such as patient-doctor concordance; this involves both the doctor who in which the patient goes to seek help from and the patient themselves reaching a certain agreement based on the patient’s health condition. However on many occasions it turns out that the patient may go to seek help from the doctor regarding their present health condition, however may not be satisfied with the outcome or the final judgment given on their health.

In this case the patient finds the doctor’s conclusion to be one which is not in their favor and therefore may decide to ignore or abandon the advice which is given, for example they may be told that they require getting treatment done for TB or be advised to give up on smoking when concerning lung cancer. However despite the advice given they will not follow instructions and resort to a conclusion in which they come to from their own personal point of view.

This can be understood as being very ignorant as there are many people who do not want to believe that they have a disease and those who feel that they understand the symptoms they are suffering far better than the doctor understands them. Even if they may be exhibiting some of the early symptoms of either lung cancer or TB such as coughing, loss of breath etc. they will prefer to look at their condition as only temporary and that it will get better, however they are unaware that the symptoms will only get worsened if immediate action is not taken.

If in the end the patient chooses to ignore the doctor’s instructions then this is seen as a waste of valuable time and resources; taking blood tests and urine samples for example for further examination will all turn out to be meaningless if the patient still remains ignorant of their condition, whereas this time, money and effort could have gone towards another person who would actually agree with their health condition and as a result take action to improve their health.

Patient compliance is yet another factor which affects the prevention of disease; this is when the patient acts upon the advice or instruction that is given by the doctor, pharmacist, nurses or therapists. In many cases non compliance is what affects the inability to prevent the disease.

For example non compliance applies when a TB patient is given a series of first line drugs to take over a series of about six to eight months in order to eliminate the TB bacteria inside their body. Where the drugs must be taken however frequently required so to effectively ensure the bacteria is destroyed, many people may not follow the full course of the treatment or they may decide to skip a few days of treatment, keeping it going on and off whenever they feel like having it.

This will aid resistant strains of bacteria in developing, making it more likely for the patient to develop MDR-TB or XDR-TB, it may also mean that the TB will once again recur. Therefore this would mean that resources, time and money are wasted and that more has to be used in order to prevent a situation which could have been prevented from rising in the first place.