early detection could save many lives


06/19/2022 2:15 p.m.

According to the National Cancer Institute, about 16,700 women could develop the disease by the end of 2022.

Around 16,700 women could have cervical cancer by the end of 2022, according to estimates by the National Cancer Institute (Inca). To prevent the progression of the disease, it is necessary to detect it early. In the primary health care departments of the SUS, more than 5.2 million preventive examinations were carried out last year.

Collection of cytopathological material from the cervix or vaginal smear is the main form of screening and early detection of this type of cancer and is indicated for women between the ages of 25 and 64 every three years, after two examinations consecutive normal annuals.

According to the Ministry of Health, there are currently more than 42,000 basic health units with around 1,200 primary care teams operating throughout the territory where women can take these and other tests. In addition, there are more than 317 qualified cancer treatment hospitals and assistance centers, which are part of the SUS network.

“It’s important to remember that cervical cancer often has no symptoms at first. Bleeding, pain, usually these symptoms appear when the tumor is already at a more advanced stage. The preventive examination is the best way to detect these lesions at the early stages and even when they are not cancers”, underlines the general coordinator of the prevention of chronic diseases and the fight against tobacco at the Ministry of Health, Patricia Izetti.

Rosimar Mendes da Silva, 43, was diagnosed with cervical cancer in June 2016. At the time, the Brasilia resident had to quit her job to focus on treating the disease. Despite all the difficulties, in February 2017, she received the news that she had been healed.

“Anyone going through cancer, I recommend that you persevere. God left medicine to help us. I always say that I like to live, even in the midst of so many difficulties that I have to face. My family and friends welcomed me,” says Rosimar.


To perform the collection of material for the cytopathological examination of the cervix, the woman must go to an SUS health unit and make an appointment with health professionals, who will assess the history and symptoms. The material is collected by the doctor, who causes a small detachment of the outer and inner surface of the cervix with a spatula and a brush. The harvested cells are placed on a slide to be analyzed in a laboratory specialized in cytopathology.

Patrícia Izetti explains that, eventually, some more complex institutions and hospitals offer this test, but in very specific contexts. “Cytopathological examination of the cervix, also called preventive examination or vaginal smear, is offered in the basic health units and the woman must seek this UBS to which she is registered and linked so that she can take her examination preventative”, she guides.

Source: Brazil 61 –

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Source: Press room / Marcello Casal/Arquivo/Agência Brasil

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