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In October we wear Pink

The importance of early diagnosis and prevention of breast and cervical cancer.

Image of wayhomestudio on Freepik

Pink October is celebrated annually with the aim of reminding people of the importance of early diagnosis of cervical cancer and breast cancer, through the sharing of information that provides greater access to diagnosis and treatment services, contributing to the reduction of mortality. Several companies and health institutes promote events, lectures, debates, presentations and digital content with this objective.

Breast cancer is a disease characterized by the disordered growth of breast cells that form a tumor with a high potential to invade other organs. In Brazil, it is the second most common type of cancer and the cancer that kills the most women. It is estimated that around 66,280 women a year will be affected with this type of cancer between 2020-2022.

According to INCA (National Cancer Institute), there are several risk factors for the development of breast cancer, estrogen is one of the major contributors to the development of this type of cancer. In addition, there are risk factors at work: workers in the areas of radiology, agriculture, industrial sterilization of pharmaceutical, veterinary and medical-surgical materials, loading and distributing ethylene oxide, electricians, among others, are more exposed and, therefore, , more prone to breast cancer. The main carcinogens at work are:

  • Rays - X and Gamma

  • Ethylene oxide (raw material for manufactured products and/or gas used in industrial and hospital sterilization processes)

  • Organochlorine pesticides (dieldrin)

  • Polychlorinated biphenyl (PBC)

  • Night work

  • Environmental exposure to cigarette smoke

It is important to remember that there are several types of breast cancer. Some develop quickly and some do not. Most cases have a good response to treatment, especially when diagnosed and treated early, therefore, performing tests frequently is important for an early diagnosis and more effective treatment. These cases at work are also preventable with the elimination of the main carcinogens. The risk of developing the disease also increases with age, being higher after age 50.

Source: Breast Cancer Primer: let's talk about it? / National Cancer Institute. – 7th ed. – Rio de Janeiro: INCA, 2022.

As you can see in the image, maintaining an adequate body weight, practicing physical activity and avoiding the consumption of alcoholic beverages and cigarettes help to reduce the risk of breast cancer. Breastfeeding is also considered a protective factor.

The presence of one or more of these risk factors does not mean that the woman will necessarily have the disease. Despite being more often associated with women, men can also develop breast cancer (1% of cases). In addition, trans men are also prone to develop the disease.

Cervical cancer

Unlike breast cancer, cervical cancer is caused by a persistent infection with oncogenic types of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). It is a slow-developing disease, which can progress without symptoms in the initial phase and progress to bleeding, abnormal vaginal secretion and abdominal pain associated with urinary or intestinal complaints in more advanced cases.

In Brazil, cervical cancer is the third most common type of cancer among women and the fourth type of cancer that leads to more deaths. For the year 2022, 16,710 new cases were estimated, which represents a considered risk of 15.38 cases per 100,000 women (INCA, 2021).

Is early diagnosis important in breast cancer and cervical cancer?

Yes, early diagnosis makes all the difference. To identify breast cancer, mammography is a very important test that can be done routinely (screening) to detect tumors before the patient manifests symptoms. . In addition to mammography, it is extremely important for women to be aware of the signs and symptoms that the body presents, frequently performing self-examination.

For cervical cancer, the Pap smear is recommended for women between 25 and 64 years of age who have already started sexual life, every three years. Until age 25, cervical cancer is rare, and the lesions, most often caused by HPV, heal spontaneously without treatment.

For both types of cancer, it is statistically proven that life expectancy and the chance that treatments will be more effective increases with the early identification of diseases. It is also important to emphasize the forms of prevention. As with breast cancer prevention, maintaining healthy habits is a very important step in preventing cervical cancer. In addition, the use of condoms during sexual intercourse contributes to this prevention; another extremely effective way to protect against the most prevalent types of the HPV virus (16 and 18), which can cause this type of tumor, is vaccination. Vaccination is available in public and private immunization networks, and is recommended before the beginning of sexual life, when there has been no contact with the human papillomavirus (HPV), being aimed at girls and boys from 9 years of age, however, It is also recommended for women up to 45 years of age and for men up to 26 years of age.

In any case, these preventive methods do not exclude new infections caused by other types of HPV virus, for this reason, it is necessary that the woman, even vaccinated, undergo the preventive examination at the recommended age.

The vaccine (for children aged 9 to 14 years) and preventive exams are available at the basic health units near your home. Be sure to take care of yourself, because it is an act of self-love and can save your life. Remember: as important as taking the exam, it's looking for the result. ImunoTera supports this campaign and is focused on the development of a therapeutic platform with different immunological strategies, focused on the treatment of lesions caused by HPV that can induce cervical cancer, visit: / - Technology.


National Cancer Institute. Published: 10/05/2022. Available at: Accessed on: 10/10/2022.

Ministry of Health. Published: 09/26/2022. Available at:,women%20(INCA%2C%202021). Accessed on: 10/10/2022.

National Cancer Institute. Published: 09/26/2022. Available at: Accessed on: 10/10/2022.

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