February 4th was chosen by the World Health Organization (WHO) to be World Cancer Day. The Brazilian Society of Clinical Oncology (SBOC) takes advantage of the date to issue a warning about early diagnosis to combat the disease. According to a survey carried out by the entity, 31% of the more than 760 clinical oncologists interviewed for a census consider late diagnosis as one of the main problems for cancer control in Brazil.
Among oncologists, 19% point out flaws in access and quality of cancer detection and control exams and 5% complain about the lack of efficient awareness and prevention campaigns or programs, in addition to the population’s low adherence to prevention and treatment programs already in place. existing. The biggest problem highlighted by the research carried out last year was the difficulty in accessing new treatments.
According to the President of SBOC, Anelisa Coutinho, the census allowed the entity to understand the challenges presented by professionals. “Based on this information, SBOC has sought to expand partnerships to assist the government and other decision makers in different actions aimed at accessing new therapies. In our events and communication channels with society, we have also promoted different cancer awareness and prevention actions.”
To contribute to and strengthen cancer treatment in the Unified Health System (SUS), SBOC will offer, through one of these partnerships, virtual training on clinical oncology aimed at community health agents. The content will be made available through the Con.te application, which is a platform aimed at these professionals and maintained by the National Council of Municipal Health Secretariats (Conasems) and Grupo Laços. “SBOC’s role in this project will be to curate and produce technical content on oncology with a focus on health agents”, explained SBOC.
After World Cancer Day, February 5th was defined as World Mammography Day, another opportunity to reinforce the need for prevention. Breast cancer is the most common subtype of the disease among women. The National Cancer Institute (INCA) estimates that Brazil will have around 700,000 new cases of cancer per year between 2023 and 2025.
Cancer is the second most deadly disease in the world, with around 9.6 million deaths annually. Breast cancer is the first most common, affecting 10.5% of the population, followed by prostate cancer, with 10.2%.
According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), between 30% and 50% of cancers can be prevented through the implementation of prevention-based strategies. Therefore, medical entities take advantage of these dates to reinforce the importance of prevention and early diagnosis.
A survey commissioned by a pharmaceutical laboratory revealed that the dissemination of breast cancer prevention is still low in Brazil. According to the study, only two thirds of the 1,007 respondents performed self-examination, clinical examinations and mammograms, when encouraged and guided by their doctors. The data shows that 64% of Brazilian women believe that breast cancer develops exclusively hereditary.
The numbers also indicate that 42% of women have never had a mammogram, because some consider themselves too young and others claim they didn’t have a doctor’s request. Women between 25 and 65 years old were interviewed. The search What Brazilian women know about breast cancer, attitudes and perceptions about the disease showed that seven in ten women consulted gynecologists in the last year, with notable variations between social classes. Among the higher classes and those with greater education, the rate is 80, while 2% of those interviewed say they have never consulted a gynecologist.
Regarding mammography exams, 49% of women say they do it regularly. At least 60% are from classes A/B, while 37% are from classes D/E. Two in ten mentioned that the exam was carried out because the doctor requested it (20%), while 16% said they did it due to the sensation of a lump or nodule.
The Ministry of Health’s recommendation is that screening mammography, which is done when there are no signs or symptoms, be performed on women aged between 50 and 69 years, once every two years, as a way of identifying cancer before the emergence of symptoms.
The director of oncology at the laboratory responsible for the research, Flávia Andreghetto, highlighted that it is necessary to have an open and clear dialogue with women due to the importance of raising awareness about the problems that can affect women’s health. “Considering that many women already understand that early detection of the disease can mean a better outlook on life, making it crucial when addressing the different subtypes, diagnosing the disease in the early stages can culminate in more effective treatments, offering, depending on the subtype, more advantageous options for patients”, he said.
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