Would 100% effective prevention count as a cure?

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Would 100% effective prevention count as a cure?

Post by Scott »

This topic is in relation to the July 2021 Philosophy Book of the Month, Winning the War on Cancer by Sylvie Beljanski.


When dealing with a disease or similar problem, we often speak of cures, treatments, and preventative measures. However, it's not always clear in everyday lingo what the differences are between these kind of things and what overlap if any there is.

Insofar as a reasonable preventive method is 100% effective at preventing a certain disease, illness, or ailment of some kind, then does that constitute a cure?

For example, hypothetically, let's imagine there is a cheap vaccine that is 100% effective with or no side effects for a virus that every human on Earth can afford. Does that count as a cure? Can that vaccine be used to win the war on that disease? Even if that vaccine isn't ultimately implemented fully enough to eradicate the disease due to individual freedom and some people choosing to not get the vaccine, would it be fair to say the war is winnable even though it is not won, meaning we have the physical and technological means to win the war (e.g. everyone can get the 100% effective vaccine) but they aren't implemented?

In another hypothetical example, imagine we had discovered that one could not lung cancer unless one repeatedly smoked cigarettes. There would thus be a reasonable preventative measure that is 100% effective against preventing lung cancer: not smoking cigarettes. Would if be fair to then call that preventative measure a cure? Would it be fair to then say that the war against lung cancer was winnable and/or won? Surely, many new cases of lung cancer would still occur because people would still choose to smoke cigarettes despite the risk of getting lung cancer.

Needless to say, the existence of a disease, including new or untreated cases of the disease, does not mean there is not a cure or other winning strategy (i.e. a prevention method that is 100% effective). Implementation of a cure or effective preventive measure is very different than the existence of that cure or 100% effective preventive measure.

For example, non-hypothetically, I think we can all agree that we know the cure for morbid obesity; right? But much like many people choosing to smoke cigarettes despite its relationship to lung cancer, many people still choose to drastically overeat, which is understandable and totally their choice, presumably not much different than my choice to take my motorcycle out for joyrides or recreationally box my friends in my backyard.

We have the cure for morbid obesity, but needless to say that doesn't mean nobody will be morbidly obese. Quite the opposite: According to the World Health Organization, 2.8 million people each year die of as a result of being overweight or obese. We know and have the cure which literally couldn't be cheaper (the cure is free), but millions still die from it.
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Re: Would 100% effective prevention count as a cure?

Post by LuckyR »

Scott wrote: July 9th, 2021, 2:29 pm This topic is in relation to the July 2021 Philosophy Book of the Month, Winning the War on Cancer by Sylvie Beljanski.


When dealing with a disease or similar problem, we often speak of cures, treatments, and preventative measures. However, it's not always clear in everyday lingo what the differences are between these kind of things and what overlap if any there is.

Insofar as a reasonable preventive method is 100% effective at preventing a certain disease, illness, or ailment of some kind, then does that constitute a cure?

For example, hypothetically, let's imagine there is a cheap vaccine that is 100% effective with or no side effects for a virus that every human on Earth can afford. Does that count as a cure? Can that vaccine be used to win the war on that disease? Even if that vaccine isn't ultimately implemented fully enough to eradicate the disease due to individual freedom and some people choosing to not get the vaccine, would it be fair to say the war is winnable even though it is not won, meaning we have the physical and technological means to win the war (e.g. everyone can get the 100% effective vaccine) but they aren't implemented?

In another hypothetical example, imagine we had discovered that one could not lung cancer unless one repeatedly smoked cigarettes. There would thus be a reasonable preventative measure that is 100% effective against preventing lung cancer: not smoking cigarettes. Would if be fair to then call that preventative measure a cure? Would it be fair to then say that the war against lung cancer was winnable and/or won? Surely, many new cases of lung cancer would still occur because people would still choose to smoke cigarettes despite the risk of getting lung cancer.

Needless to say, the existence of a disease, including new or untreated cases of the disease, does not mean there is not a cure or other winning strategy (i.e. a prevention method that is 100% effective). Implementation of a cure or effective preventive measure is very different than the existence of that cure or 100% effective preventive measure.

For example, non-hypothetically, I think we can all agree that we know the cure for morbid obesity; right? But much like many people choosing to smoke cigarettes despite its relationship to lung cancer, many people still choose to drastically overeat, which is understandable and totally their choice, presumably not much different than my choice to take my motorcycle out for joyrides or recreationally box my friends in my backyard.

We have the cure for morbid obesity, but needless to say that doesn't mean nobody will be morbidly obese. Quite the opposite: According to the World Health Organization, 2.8 million people each year die of as a result of being overweight or obese. We know and have the cure which literally couldn't be cheaper (the cure is free), but millions still die from it.
Interesting concepts.

Your first hypothetical has a practical example: smallpox.

Your second hypothetical also has an almost perfect example: mesothelioma (from asbestos exposure).

As to obesity we don't "have" the cure, rather we "know" the cure.
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Re: Would 100% effective prevention count as a cure?

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Scott wrote: July 9th, 2021, 2:29 pm When dealing with a disease or similar problem, we often speak of cures, treatments, and preventative measures. However, it's not always clear in everyday lingo what the differences are between these kind of things and what overlap if any there is.

Insofar as a reasonable preventive method is 100% effective at preventing a certain disease, illness, or ailment of some kind, then does that constitute a cure?
A cure transforms a state of unhealth to a state of health. A prevention prevents a state of health from transforming to a state of unhealth.

If A is a state of health and B is a specific state of unhealth, a prevention prevents a subject from transforming from state A to state B, whereas a cure transforms the subject from state B back to state A.

A cure requires some lack of prevention, allowing the subject to enter state B so it can transform the subject back to state A.

A prevention can also be cure if it is able to transform a subject from state B (assuming the prevention was not applied to the subject prior to entering state B) back to state A.

In the case of COVID-19, self-isolation is an example of a prevention that is not a cure.
Scott wrote: July 9th, 2021, 2:29 pm For example, hypothetically, let's imagine there is a cheap vaccine that is 100% effective with or no side effects for a virus that every human on Earth can afford. Does that count as a cure?
A vaccine can be viewed as a pre-cure. It generally doesn't prevent a subject from becoming infected. It stimulates the formation of antibodies that can help to fight the virus if the subject becomes infected (and cure the subject).

If this hypothetical vaccine is applied to an infected subject who was not previously vaccinated, does this help to cure the subject?

Another thing to consider is the scope of infection. A community can be said to be infected (in state B) if some of its members are infected. Other members may be healthy. Likewise, individual members can be said to be infected if some of their cells are infected. Other cells may be healthy.

Individual isolation could count as a cure at the community level (but not at the individual member level) if applying this after the community has entered state B transforms the community back to state A.
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Re: Would 100% effective prevention count as a cure?

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I think as per the words and their meanings, and also the applications, these two are different, a cure and prevention.

But there are illnesses which are totally prevented in many regions of the world with effective vaccines like Polio and Small Pox. But, even today with the technological advancement, we do not have a cure for any of these.

If we consider the relationship between smoking and lung cancer, sadly, smoking is not the only reason for lung cancer. And this is the same for many illnesses. But if we hypothetically think that each illness has a simple single preventative cause, the world would have been much more healthier.

Anyway, I think prevention will be always prevention and cure will always be cure, and also prevention will be always better than cure. But that does not mean effective prevention should discourage the attempts to find a cure because a cure will be the definite solution.
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Re: Would 100% effective prevention count as a cure?

Post by Sushan »

LuckyR wrote: July 10th, 2021, 2:27 am
Scott wrote: July 9th, 2021, 2:29 pm This topic is in relation to the July 2021 Philosophy Book of the Month, Winning the War on Cancer by Sylvie Beljanski.


When dealing with a disease or similar problem, we often speak of cures, treatments, and preventative measures. However, it's not always clear in everyday lingo what the differences are between these kind of things and what overlap if any there is.

Insofar as a reasonable preventive method is 100% effective at preventing a certain disease, illness, or ailment of some kind, then does that constitute a cure?

For example, hypothetically, let's imagine there is a cheap vaccine that is 100% effective with or no side effects for a virus that every human on Earth can afford. Does that count as a cure? Can that vaccine be used to win the war on that disease? Even if that vaccine isn't ultimately implemented fully enough to eradicate the disease due to individual freedom and some people choosing to not get the vaccine, would it be fair to say the war is winnable even though it is not won, meaning we have the physical and technological means to win the war (e.g. everyone can get the 100% effective vaccine) but they aren't implemented?

In another hypothetical example, imagine we had discovered that one could not lung cancer unless one repeatedly smoked cigarettes. There would thus be a reasonable preventative measure that is 100% effective against preventing lung cancer: not smoking cigarettes. Would if be fair to then call that preventative measure a cure? Would it be fair to then say that the war against lung cancer was winnable and/or won? Surely, many new cases of lung cancer would still occur because people would still choose to smoke cigarettes despite the risk of getting lung cancer.

Needless to say, the existence of a disease, including new or untreated cases of the disease, does not mean there is not a cure or other winning strategy (i.e. a prevention method that is 100% effective). Implementation of a cure or effective preventive measure is very different than the existence of that cure or 100% effective preventive measure.

For example, non-hypothetically, I think we can all agree that we know the cure for morbid obesity; right? But much like many people choosing to smoke cigarettes despite its relationship to lung cancer, many people still choose to drastically overeat, which is understandable and totally their choice, presumably not much different than my choice to take my motorcycle out for joyrides or recreationally box my friends in my backyard.

We have the cure for morbid obesity, but needless to say that doesn't mean nobody will be morbidly obese. Quite the opposite: According to the World Health Organization, 2.8 million people each year die of as a result of being overweight or obese. We know and have the cure which literally couldn't be cheaper (the cure is free), but millions still die from it.
Interesting concepts.

Your first hypothetical has a practical example: smallpox.

Your second hypothetical also has an almost perfect example: mesothelioma (from asbestos exposure).

As to obesity we don't "have" the cure, rather we "know" the cure.
I agre with the first two. But as per obesity we actually do not have a cure. Obesity has two components, physiological and pathological. Physiological obesity is not an illness, so it does not have a cure, but it can be prevented. Pathological obesity is sometimes inherited and sometimes acquired. Inherited ones cannot be preventes, and sometimes cannot be cured as well. Acquired ones have preventable causes as well as cures.

Many diseases are multi-factorial. So this hypothetical scenario has a huge number of practical llimitations.
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Re: Would 100% effective prevention count as a cure?

Post by Sushan »

-0+ wrote: July 10th, 2021, 7:06 am
Scott wrote: July 9th, 2021, 2:29 pm When dealing with a disease or similar problem, we often speak of cures, treatments, and preventative measures. However, it's not always clear in everyday lingo what the differences are between these kind of things and what overlap if any there is.

Insofar as a reasonable preventive method is 100% effective at preventing a certain disease, illness, or ailment of some kind, then does that constitute a cure?
A cure transforms a state of unhealth to a state of health. A prevention prevents a state of health from transforming to a state of unhealth.

If A is a state of health and B is a specific state of unhealth, a prevention prevents a subject from transforming from state A to state B, whereas a cure transforms the subject from state B back to state A.

A cure requires some lack of prevention, allowing the subject to enter state B so it can transform the subject back to state A.

A prevention can also be cure if it is able to transform a subject from state B (assuming the prevention was not applied to the subject prior to entering state B) back to state A.

In the case of COVID-19, self-isolation is an example of a prevention that is not a cure.
Scott wrote: July 9th, 2021, 2:29 pm For example, hypothetically, let's imagine there is a cheap vaccine that is 100% effective with or no side effects for a virus that every human on Earth can afford. Does that count as a cure?
A vaccine can be viewed as a pre-cure. It generally doesn't prevent a subject from becoming infected. It stimulates the formation of antibodies that can help to fight the virus if the subject becomes infected (and cure the subject).

If this hypothetical vaccine is applied to an infected subject who was not previously vaccinated, does this help to cure the subject?

Another thing to consider is the scope of infection. A community can be said to be infected (in state B) if some of its members are infected. Other members may be healthy. Likewise, individual members can be said to be infected if some of their cells are infected. Other cells may be healthy.

Individual isolation could count as a cure at the community level (but not at the individual member level) if applying this after the community has entered state B transforms the community back to state A.
As you said some preventative measures can become cures as well. In fatty liver condition, which can occur due to alcohol usage (it is not the only reason), if the patient stops alcohol when the illness is at the reversible stage he/she can become healthy once again. But if the cirrhosis stage has occurred there won't be any use in stopping alcohol.

Every patient is a different case and the management or the prevention has to be tailor made, though there are general treatments as well as methods of prevention. If the things were straight forward the lives of healthcare workers will be so much beautiful.
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Re: Would 100% effective prevention count as a cure?

Post by LuckyR »

Sushan wrote: July 11th, 2021, 6:09 am
LuckyR wrote: July 10th, 2021, 2:27 am
Scott wrote: July 9th, 2021, 2:29 pm This topic is in relation to the July 2021 Philosophy Book of the Month, Winning the War on Cancer by Sylvie Beljanski.


When dealing with a disease or similar problem, we often speak of cures, treatments, and preventative measures. However, it's not always clear in everyday lingo what the differences are between these kind of things and what overlap if any there is.

Insofar as a reasonable preventive method is 100% effective at preventing a certain disease, illness, or ailment of some kind, then does that constitute a cure?

For example, hypothetically, let's imagine there is a cheap vaccine that is 100% effective with or no side effects for a virus that every human on Earth can afford. Does that count as a cure? Can that vaccine be used to win the war on that disease? Even if that vaccine isn't ultimately implemented fully enough to eradicate the disease due to individual freedom and some people choosing to not get the vaccine, would it be fair to say the war is winnable even though it is not won, meaning we have the physical and technological means to win the war (e.g. everyone can get the 100% effective vaccine) but they aren't implemented?

In another hypothetical example, imagine we had discovered that one could not lung cancer unless one repeatedly smoked cigarettes. There would thus be a reasonable preventative measure that is 100% effective against preventing lung cancer: not smoking cigarettes. Would if be fair to then call that preventative measure a cure? Would it be fair to then say that the war against lung cancer was winnable and/or won? Surely, many new cases of lung cancer would still occur because people would still choose to smoke cigarettes despite the risk of getting lung cancer.

Needless to say, the existence of a disease, including new or untreated cases of the disease, does not mean there is not a cure or other winning strategy (i.e. a prevention method that is 100% effective). Implementation of a cure or effective preventive measure is very different than the existence of that cure or 100% effective preventive measure.

For example, non-hypothetically, I think we can all agree that we know the cure for morbid obesity; right? But much like many people choosing to smoke cigarettes despite its relationship to lung cancer, many people still choose to drastically overeat, which is understandable and totally their choice, presumably not much different than my choice to take my motorcycle out for joyrides or recreationally box my friends in my backyard.

We have the cure for morbid obesity, but needless to say that doesn't mean nobody will be morbidly obese. Quite the opposite: According to the World Health Organization, 2.8 million people each year die of as a result of being overweight or obese. We know and have the cure which literally couldn't be cheaper (the cure is free), but millions still die from it.
Interesting concepts.

Your first hypothetical has a practical example: smallpox.

Your second hypothetical also has an almost perfect example: mesothelioma (from asbestos exposure).

As to obesity we don't "have" the cure, rather we "know" the cure.
I agre with the first two. But as per obesity we actually do not have a cure. Obesity has two components, physiological and pathological. Physiological obesity is not an illness, so it does not have a cure, but it can be prevented. Pathological obesity is sometimes inherited and sometimes acquired. Inherited ones cannot be preventes, and sometimes cannot be cured as well. Acquired ones have preventable causes as well as cures.

Many diseases are multi-factorial. So this hypothetical scenario has a huge number of practical llimitations.
Of course, being a Philosophy Forum (not a Medical Forum), it's less about the science and more about the concepts.
"As usual... it depends."
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Re: Would 100% effective prevention count as a cure?

Post by Sushan »

LuckyR wrote: July 12th, 2021, 2:00 am
Sushan wrote: July 11th, 2021, 6:09 am
LuckyR wrote: July 10th, 2021, 2:27 am
Scott wrote: July 9th, 2021, 2:29 pm This topic is in relation to the July 2021 Philosophy Book of the Month, Winning the War on Cancer by Sylvie Beljanski.


When dealing with a disease or similar problem, we often speak of cures, treatments, and preventative measures. However, it's not always clear in everyday lingo what the differences are between these kind of things and what overlap if any there is.

Insofar as a reasonable preventive method is 100% effective at preventing a certain disease, illness, or ailment of some kind, then does that constitute a cure?

For example, hypothetically, let's imagine there is a cheap vaccine that is 100% effective with or no side effects for a virus that every human on Earth can afford. Does that count as a cure? Can that vaccine be used to win the war on that disease? Even if that vaccine isn't ultimately implemented fully enough to eradicate the disease due to individual freedom and some people choosing to not get the vaccine, would it be fair to say the war is winnable even though it is not won, meaning we have the physical and technological means to win the war (e.g. everyone can get the 100% effective vaccine) but they aren't implemented?

In another hypothetical example, imagine we had discovered that one could not lung cancer unless one repeatedly smoked cigarettes. There would thus be a reasonable preventative measure that is 100% effective against preventing lung cancer: not smoking cigarettes. Would if be fair to then call that preventative measure a cure? Would it be fair to then say that the war against lung cancer was winnable and/or won? Surely, many new cases of lung cancer would still occur because people would still choose to smoke cigarettes despite the risk of getting lung cancer.

Needless to say, the existence of a disease, including new or untreated cases of the disease, does not mean there is not a cure or other winning strategy (i.e. a prevention method that is 100% effective). Implementation of a cure or effective preventive measure is very different than the existence of that cure or 100% effective preventive measure.

For example, non-hypothetically, I think we can all agree that we know the cure for morbid obesity; right? But much like many people choosing to smoke cigarettes despite its relationship to lung cancer, many people still choose to drastically overeat, which is understandable and totally their choice, presumably not much different than my choice to take my motorcycle out for joyrides or recreationally box my friends in my backyard.

We have the cure for morbid obesity, but needless to say that doesn't mean nobody will be morbidly obese. Quite the opposite: According to the World Health Organization, 2.8 million people each year die of as a result of being overweight or obese. We know and have the cure which literally couldn't be cheaper (the cure is free), but millions still die from it.
Interesting concepts.

Your first hypothetical has a practical example: smallpox.

Your second hypothetical also has an almost perfect example: mesothelioma (from asbestos exposure).

As to obesity we don't "have" the cure, rather we "know" the cure.
I agre with the first two. But as per obesity we actually do not have a cure. Obesity has two components, physiological and pathological. Physiological obesity is not an illness, so it does not have a cure, but it can be prevented. Pathological obesity is sometimes inherited and sometimes acquired. Inherited ones cannot be preventes, and sometimes cannot be cured as well. Acquired ones have preventable causes as well as cures.

Many diseases are multi-factorial. So this hypothetical scenario has a huge number of practical llimitations.
Of course, being a Philosophy Forum (not a Medical Forum), it's less about the science and more about the concepts.
I agree. This is a philosophical forum. Yet I do not see any harm in including other sciences in the discussions as appropriate from time to time. We can try to discuss the concepts, but it is hard to keep the relevant scientific facts and theories totally aside.
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