Breast Cancer Prevention Day. The importance of early diagnosis

Today, October 30th, the National Day of Breast Cancer Prevention is celebrated. Every day 11 new cases appear, the great majority in women. Prevention can counter this number. Scientific research, too.

The sixth edition of the Health Marathon is dedicated to ‘Knowing the Cancer’, a disease that increasingly affects the population. Breast cancer remains one of the most worrying. Every year around 6,000 new cases of breast cancer is detected in Portugal. And, every year also, 1500 women die with this disease. Prevention can save lives.

For Sofia Braga, a physician at the Cuf Descobertas Hospital and a member of the Maraton Health Advisory Council, secondary prevention can reduce cases. “What is incredibly important and saves lives is screening and early diagnosis, that is, secondary prevention. Primary, behavioural, and lifestyle prevention is more difficult to implement because there is no strong causal link. There are relative increases in risk, many factors that weigh little individually. The result, when we have a woman in front of us with this diagnosis is almost always impossible to answer her despairing question: “Why do I have this disease?”

Prevention is fundamental, however, heredity is still indicated as a risk factor in the onset of this pathology. Five to 10% of diagnosed breast cancers have genetic and hereditary characteristics. “There is still a large percentage of mutation carriers that are not identified. And this is one of the implementations we want, a national cancer network hereditary, with an oncological record. It is important to identify, respond and follow-up, “says Tamara Miracle of the Association EVITA Association (Support for Carriers of Changes in Hereditary Cancer-Related Genes).

When the Health Marathon kicked off, it dedicated the first edition to cancer and two scientists were honoured for their work on breast cancer through the Marathon Health Awards in Biomedical Research. Ana Teresa Maia, with the research theme ‘Discovering the importance of cis-regulation of somatic mutations in the susceptibility of breast cancer’, and Pedro Castelo Branco, with the project ‘Diagnosis, prognosis and therapeutic implications of THOR of TERT) in breast cancer ‘, both working at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Algarve. Scientific research in this area brings hope to all patients.

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