In the first four months of 2022, 377,100 women in Pernambuco state, aged 25 to 64 years, underwent Pap smear collection in Units of the Unified Health System (SUS). These tests early detection of cervical cancer, a silent disease that can be cured, if diagnosed early.
Getting more women to do early cervical cancer screening is a major concern of the Ministry of Health. The projection of the National Cancer Institute (Inca) indicates that about 16,700 women may develop cervical cancer by the end of 2022. In primary health care services in SUS, there were more than 5.2 million preventive exams – also known as Pap smears – carried out last year .
According to the Department of Health, there are currently more than 42,000 primary health units with about 1,229 primary care teams working across the SUS where women can have Pap smears and other tests. In addition, there are more than 317 qualified hospitals and assistance centers in the treatment of cancer, which are part of the SUS network.
“It is important to remember that cervical cancer often has no symptoms at first. Bleeding, pain, these symptoms usually appear when the tumor is already in a more advanced stage. Preventive screening is the best way to detect these lesions in the early stages and even When they are not cancers,” Patricia Izetti, the General Coordinator for Chronic Disease Prevention and Tobacco Control at the Ministry of Health, highlights.
Collection of cytological material from the cervix or Pap smear is the main form of screening and early detection of this type of cancer and is indicated for women aged 25 to 64 years every three years, after two consecutive regular examinations annually.
Scheme: Monitoring test results (Source: MS )
● Negative for cancer: If this is the first negative result, the woman should undergo preventive examination again within one year. If you already had a negative result from the previous year, you must take the next preventive test within three years;
● HPV infection or low-grade lesion: re-examination after six months;
● Severe injury: The doctor will decide how best to proceed. You may need to have other tests, such as a colposcopy.
● Unsatisfactory sample: The exam should be repeated as soon as possible because the amount of material was not enough.
To do the collection of material for the cytological examination of the cervix, the woman must go to the SUS Health Unit and make an appointment with health professionals, who will assess the history and symptoms. The substance is collected by the doctor who causes a small peeling of the outer and inner surface of the cervix using a spatula and brush. Harvested cells are placed on a slide for analysis in a laboratory specialized in cytopathology.
Patrícia Izetti explains that in the end, some of the more complex institutions and hospitals offer this test, but in very specific contexts. “The pathological examination of the cervix, also known as a preventive examination or Pap smear, is performed in basic health units and a woman must look for a UBS that has been registered and associated with her so that she can have a preventive examination,” she advises.
Primary Health Care (PHC) is the main gateway to the Unified Health System (SUS) and the contact center with the entire SUS care network. This is the first contact residents have when seeking care or a family health unit (USF).
Through primary health care, health teams advance individual, family and group health actions that include promotion, prevention, protection, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, harm reduction, palliative care, and health monitoring. This service is carried out by a multidisciplinary team and directed to the residents in each specific area, for which the teams have the health responsibility.
For more information, visit the Ministry of Health website: gov.br/saude. Or contact the Pernambuco State Department of Health at (81) 0104-3184.
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