The month dedicated to women is also a moment of orientation on women’s health. In Brazil, according to data from the National Cancer Institute (Inca), the most common oncological tumors in this population are breast cancer (29.7%), colon and rectum (9.2%), cervical (7.5%) and lung (5.6%) – except for non-melanoma skin cancers.
“Regular physical activity and a healthy diet are the basis of longevity, as well as avoiding the consumption of alcoholic beverages and cigarettes”, guides oncologist Ramon Andrade de Mello, professor of the clinical oncology discipline of the doctorate in medicine at Nove de Julho. University (Uninove), in São Paulo, and a PhD in Oncology from the University of Porto, Portugal.
Advances in science are already allowing new approaches. For the treatment of breast cancer, for example, in addition to traditional surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy procedures, specialists may recommend hormone therapy and targeted therapy. “Less invasive, these treatments must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and have offered very positive results,” explains Ramon de Mello.
Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer in women, excluding non-melanoma skin cancer. “Tumors arise from polyps, which can be benign lesions diagnosed in the wall of the colon, but genetic factors and poor dietary habits can turn them into cancer,” explains the oncologist.
Vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) was an important public health measure adopted by Brazil to reduce cases of cervical cancer. “The vaccine protects against HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18. The first two are recognized by the appearance of genital warts. The last two, on the other hand, represent approximately 70% of cases of cancer of the cervix, ”says Ramon de Mello. The preventive examination called the Pap test is the main strategy for diagnosing lesions and early diagnosis of this tumour. “Women between the ages of 25 and 64 should have this exam every three years,” she says. For lung cancer, the researcher emphasizes that diagnosis at the start of the disease increases the chances of cure: “The evolution of treatment has increased five-year survival, from 10.7% of diagnoses in the early 1970s at 19.8%”. in the 2010s.