The importance of self-care for women’s health

Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty Images

Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty Images

Medical follow-up helps prevent cancer and serious chronic diseases

In oncology, the preponderant role in health is related to the prevention and early diagnosis of cancer. In this week when we celebrate International Women’s Day, I would like to leave a special message to our readers and underline the importance for women of taking care of their health on a daily basis.

According to the INCA (National Cancer Institute), approximately 298,000 Brazilian women will be diagnosed with cancer in 2022. Among our female population, the most incident tumors – not including skin types other than melanoma – are the breast (29.7%), the colon (bowel and rectum – 9.2%), the cervix (7.4%), the lungs (5 .6%) and thyroid (5.4%).

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Attention to bodily signs and routine examinations are fundamental allies in prevention and early diagnosis. THE obesity, for example, is among the main risk factors for the development of at least 11 of the 19 most common types of cancer in the Brazilian population. Taking care of the weight is not a matter of aesthetics; extra pounds can lead to chronic and serious diseases. The same goes for the practice of physical activities, which should also become routine, and stopping smoking, a serious risk factor for several tumors.

Below is a short list of basic guidelines to keep health care up to date:

  • O smear, or oncotic colpocytology examination, is indicated from the beginning of sexual life or 25 years. The orientation is to repeat the exam every year. After three negative results, the intervals may be longer, depending on medical criteria;
  • Make an appointment to make a periodic general gynecological examination;
  • don’t forget the mammography from the age of 40 or 50 (depending on family history, risk factors and medical criteria), in some cases a breast ultrasound may also be necessary;
  • It is important to ensure the immunization with HPV vaccine for girls and boys from 9 to 14 years old. The ideal, as we have said here recently, is to take the immunizing agent before having contact with the virus;
  • THE colonoscopy it can be practiced from the age of 45, for the prevention and early diagnosis of bowel cancer;
  • A lot of people don’t remember it, but the visit to the dermatologist rely on a workup to assess nevi (pimples and pimples), especially in lighter-skinned people;
  • Also remember the cardiological evaluation period and talk to your doctor about tests to check your lung health if you are a smoker.

The adoption of a healthier lifestylewith a routine of examinations and medical follow-up, can make a difference in the complete health care of women, with a great impact on the prevention of cancer and other serious chronic diseases.

Fernando Maluf is co-founder of the Vencer o Câncer Institute and professor at the Faculty of Medicine of Santa Casa de São Paulo.

Signed articles are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Forbes Brasil and its editors.

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