NOGUEIRA-RODRIGUES, Angélica et al. Breast and gynecologic cancers as a Brazilian health priority. Revista da Associação Médica Brasileira, São Paulo, v. 69, Supl. 1, e2023S120, 2023. Disponível em Scielo

OBJECTIVE: Cancer imposes a profound burden on low- and middle-income countries where 65% of the global cancer deaths occurred in 2020. The objective of the present review was to describe female cancer epidemiology in Brazil, barriers to prevention, screening, and treatment, and to propose strategies to a better control. METHODS: For the process of literature search and scientific acquisition, we have utilized the terms “female cancer” AND “breast cancer,” AND “cervical cancer” AND “endometrial cancer” AND “ovarian cancer” AND “Brazil” in PubMed. References of the articles included in this review were manually searched in order to identify relevant studies on the topic. The official Brazilian epidemiology data were extensively analyzed at the governmental site RESULTS: Considering cases of breast and gynecologic cancers together, 105,770 new cases are expected to be diagnosed yearly, positioning female cancer as the highest cancer incidence in Brazil. Female breast cancer is the most common and the leading cause of death from cancer in the female population in all regions of Brazil, except in the North, where cervical cancer ranks first. Cervical cancer, a preventable disease, corresponds to the third-most common neoplasia in women, with higher incidences in the North and Northeast regions of Brazil. An upward trend has been observed in endometrial cancer incidence, a tendency that follows the increase of its two most common risk factors: population aging and obesity. Ovarian cancer currently occupies the eighth position among female cancers in Brazil, but it is the most lethal gynecologic cancer. The main strategies to reduce female cancer mortality rates are the reduction of inequalities in healthcare services and the early diagnosis of cases. The lack of a specific national cancer program results in a reactive and unplanned approach to healthcare provision, ultimately leading to suboptimal resource utilization and higher expenditure. CONCLUSION: Analyzed together, breast and gynecologic cancers correspond to the leading cause of cancer in Brazil. A heterogeneous group, female cancer includes diseases with a high primary and secondary prevention potential. The organization of a female cancer program in Brazil prioritizing primary and secondary prevention strategies, such as adequate mammography screening and human papillomavirus vaccination coverage, could significantly improve female cancer control in the country.