Stages of Prevention: Preventive Oncology

Stages of Prevention: Preventive Oncology

18 December 2021
Posted By Dr. Aditi Aggarwal
radiation oncology in gurgaon

Prevention of cancer is an action taken to lower the exact risk of getting this cancer. It can also include the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle, avoiding the exposure to known cancer-causing substances, & taking certain vaccines & medicines, which can also prevent cancer from developing.

Details about preventive oncology:

This is the interdisciplinary branch of medical science that usually aims to prevent cancer & the development of it or the progression through effective measures like lifestyle modifications & ignoring some specific risk factors. It is all done through some specialized techniques in place. First, lets check about some risk factors which are the leading cause of all kinds of cancers. You should be warned about these risks so that you do not develop the same disease.

Some significant risk factors which cause cancer:

Some typical causes which have also been known to enhance the risk of getting any cancer are:

  • Tobacco consumption & smoking
  • Taking excessive alcohol
  • Sedentary lifestyle without any exercise
  • High fat, and the red meat diet without any vegetables and fruits
  • Any excessive obesity
  • Unprotected sex is associated with a spread of HPV that can cause certain cancers in women & men
  • Exposure to radiation- From X-rays and sunlight, nuclear medicine scans, CT Scans, etc.
  • Some environmental factors like air pollution from certain fuels & vehicles, drinking water contaminated with specific chemicals, & second-home tobacco smoke

By keeping all these types of risk factors at bay, you can also prevent cancer to a great extent.

Prevention process of cancer:

Cancer is not a single disease but a group of some related conditions. That is why various types of cancers & multiple causes can enhance or decrease the chances of getting this dreaded disease.

Primary prevention:

This is the stage before the onset of disease, by erasing or avoiding every risk associated with cancer, like smoking & changes in their lifestyle, environment, and diet.


Vaccines are prepared medicines that help you to fight diseases. There are several types of vaccines for various conditions. Similarly, some vaccines can also prevent you from getting cancer. Presently, two specific vaccines can protect you against particular cancers:- Hepatitis B Vaccines against Liver cancer and Human papillomavirus against cervical cancer.

Genetic screening

If you have a family history of cancer of any type genetic screening can also estimate your specific chance of developing cancer. The tests look for specific mutations or changes in your chromosomes, proteins, or genes.These genetic tests can not foretell whether you will get this cancer, but can predict if you are indeed at a higher risk for this specific disease.Accordingly your oncologist can help you perform certain tests.

Secondary Prevention

This particular stage is about discovering the precancerous conditions well before any clinical indications or symptoms begin to show up. This is also helpful if you have a family history of cancer.


This is a revolutionary cancer-preventive strategy where certain medicines are also administrated to treat this precancerous condition or even keep this cancer from developing.

Risk-decreasing Surgery:

This involves preventing cancer by also surgically removing the organ, which can cause cancer in the future. For example, breast removal mastectomy or surgery prevents this occurrence of breast cancer if there is a family history of cancer found.

Tertiary prevention:

This happens after the specific development of cancer by lessening the exact complications & preventing this reoccurrence.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Dr. Aditi Aggarwal has worked in radiation oncology for ten years, treating patients with thoracic cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, bone and soft tissue cancer, gynecological cancer, breast cancer, and neurological cancers.

As a medical doctor, Dr. Aditi Aggarwal holds an MBBS degree from Lady Hardinge Medical College Delhi, a MD degree in radiation oncology from VMMC and Safdarjang Hospital Delhi, as well as a post-doctoral diploma in cancer research from Catalyst Clinical Sciences in Pune.

Cancer is usually classified into four stages, with stage 0 being the earliest stage and stage IV being the most advanced. The stage of a cancer is an important factor in determining the prognosis and the best treatment options. Here's a brief overview of the different stages of cancer:

Stage 0: This is the earliest stage of cancer, and it refers to cancer that is still in its original place and has not spread to other parts of the body. It is also known as carcinoma in situ.

Stage I: This stage means that the cancer is still small and has not spread to other parts of the body. It may be treatable with surgery or other local treatments.

Stage II: At this stage, the cancer is larger and may have spread to nearby lymph nodes. It may be treated with surgery and/or radiation therapy, or other systemic treatments such as chemotherapy.

Stage III: This stage means that the cancer has spread to nearby tissues or organs and/or to distant lymph nodes. Treatment may involve a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and/or systemic treatments such as chemotherapy.

Stage IV: This is the most advanced stage of cancer, and it means that the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the liver, lungs, bones, or brain. Treatment at this stage is typically palliative, meaning that it aims to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life, rather than cure the cancer.

It's important to note that the staging of cancer can vary between different types of cancer and different systems used to classify the stages. Your healthcare provider can give you more information specific to your situation.

There is no single vaccine that can prevent or cure all types of cancer. However, some vaccines can help prevent certain viral infections that can increase the risk of certain cancers, such as the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which can help prevent HPV-related cancers such as cervical, vaginal, vulvar, and anal cancer.

Additionally, some cancers can be treated with a type of immunotherapy called cancer vaccines, which help stimulate the body's own immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells. These vaccines are still in the experimental stage and are only available through clinical trials.

However, there are many things you can do to reduce your risk of developing cancer, such as eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding tobacco products, and getting regular cancer screenings. Your healthcare provider can give you more information on how to reduce your risk of cancer.

The symptoms of cancer can vary depending on the type and part of the body of cancer, as well as its stage. Some common symptoms of cancer include:

  • Fatigue
  • Pain that does not go away
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Skin changes, such as yellowing or darkening
  • Changes in bowel or bladder habits
  • Persistent coughing or trouble breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Persistent hoarseness or sore throat
  • Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as bloating or abdominal pain
  • Menstrual changes in women
  • Persistent skin changes, such as yellowing or darkening
  • Changes in a wart or mole
  • Persistent headaches
  • Persistent bone or joint pain
  • Persistent fatigue or weakness
  • Persistent nausea or vomiting

It's important to keep in mind that these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, and not all of them are present in all cases of cancer. If you are experiencing any symptoms that are new or persist for a long time, it's important to talk to your healthcare provider to determine the cause and get appropriate medical attention. Early detection and treatment of cancer can often lead to better outcomes.

Through us, you can schedule a Dr. Aditi Aggarwal priority appointment. Request a callback or dial 7982047515 to reach us.