Pink October: how to detect breast cancer early

Pink October: healthy habits could reduce breast cancer cases by 30%. Find out why self-care is important to reduce your risk of disease.

In 2021, more than 66 thousand Brazilian women should be diagnosed with breast cancer, according to Inca (National Cancer Institute). In 90% cases, it is noticed by the woman herself, when feeling a fixed and painless nodule in the breast.

Another way to detect breast cancer is to have a mammogram. Therefore, during the month of October, iFood promotes an action for partner delivery women and delivery men (who have female dependents) to offer a thousand mammography exams and a thousand consultations via telemedicine in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasília, Porto Alegre and Salvador, in partnership with Avus. Scheduling can be accessed at Delivery de Vantagens, the exclusive benefits club within the iFood app for Deliverers.

Delivery driver Sandra Matias da Silva, from Porto Alegre (RS), has been working with the iFood platform for four years and was one of the participants in the initiative. “I got in touch and was immediately directed to a clinic. When I got there, I was well looked after. In the same week, the results came out”, says Sandra.

His colleague Diva Magalhães, from Salvador (BA), also participated in the iFood action in October Pink. “I received a gynecological consultation and a mammogram,” says the delivery woman. “I am grateful for this great initiative, as we know that prevention is essential for the diagnosis of breast cancer.”

Essential care

Doing a self-examination or mammogram is essential to discover the disease early on and get the best treatment possible. “Breast cancer can be successfully tackled when discovered in the early stages”, reinforces Mônica de Assis, health specialist at the Division of Early Detection and Support for the Network Organization of the National Cancer Institute (Inca).

It all starts with self-care. Knowing your body, to know what is and isn't normal in your breasts, is the best way to notice changes in your breast skin early, such as it becoming red or having a texture similar to the skin of an orange.

Mammography is recommended for women over 50 years of age, according to Ministry of Health guidelines. “It is in this age group that mammography offers the most benefits, such as reduced mortality and simpler treatment, and lower risks”, says Monica.

Other tests, such as ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging, are used to diagnose breast cancer in younger women – confirmation of the tumor is done through biopsy.

Changing habits

For those who have not yet reached the age to take the exam, the tip is to take care of their health to avoid risk factors that can increase the chances of having a tumor – such as being overweight, sedentary lifestyle, alcohol consumption and smoking.

According to Inca, 13% of new cases of breast cancer detected in women over 30 are directly related to these behavioral factors. And around 30% of new cases can be avoided by adopting healthy habits, such as exercising, maintaining an adequate weight and, in the case of mothers, breastfeeding the baby.

At any age, Mônica reinforces that it is essential to carry out self-examination. “All women should pay attention to their breasts on a daily basis and seek medical evaluation without delay in case of suspicious changes. When a suspicious change in the breast is noticed by a woman and she immediately seeks health services for evaluation and referrals, there is also a chance of finding the cancer in the early stages, favoring treatment.”

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