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Pink October: Time to resume breast healthcare

Pink October: Time to resume breast healthcare

It’s time to get back to taking care of yourself. After a period of greater social isolation due to the Covid-19 epidemic, and now with a broader vaccination of the population, it is time to resume breast health care, update check-ups and regular checks, and respect security protocols. In pink October, the key message from experts is that self-care can no longer be delayed. After all, the delay in diagnosing breast cancer is the biggest obstacle to the effectiveness of treatment and the achievement of recovery.

A survey conducted by the Cancer Foundation, based on data from the Unified Health System (SUS), showed an 84% decrease in the number of mammograms performed in Brazil during the novel coronavirus pandemic, compared to the same period last year. The NGO Oncoguia estimates that the pandemic may have left 4,000 undiagnosed cases in the country, considering that about a million women have stopped getting preventive testing. Meanwhile, in Brazil, the National Cancer Institute (INCA) estimates that about 66,000 new cases of the disease should be registered in 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed diagnosis. The number of mammograms performed in the public network fell 42% in 2020 compared to the previous year, dropping from 1,948,471 in 2019 to 1,126,688 in the year the pandemic began. A difference of 800,000 screenings not performed in 2020 should mean about 4,000 cases of undiagnosed breast cancer last year, taking into account estimates of the disease detection rate on digital mammograms (average of 5 cases detected per 1,000 examinations).

“The message we want to leave behind in Pink October is that it is time to take care of yourself again. We need to get back into healthcare and, increasingly, value self-care, self-love, and life, today,” emphasizes the radiologist and medical director at Lucilo Avila Diagnostic Center, Mirella Avila. Pink October was created in the early 1990s by Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, an international movement for breast cancer awareness. It is celebrated annually with the aim of promoting the fight against breast cancer, exchanging information and promoting awareness of the disease; Providing greater access to diagnostic and treatment services, which contributes to reducing mortality. When detected in the early stages, the chance of a cure for breast cancer is 95%.

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During the month of October, it was Lucilo Avila It implements the “Time to Live” campaign, emphasizing that it is time to take care of yourself and return to screening tests, in addition to caring for others, sharing information about the importance of preventive measures and striving to expand access to diagnosis for all women. As part of the campaign, the Diagnostic Center will donate 50 tests (30 mammograms and 20 ultrasounds) to Instituto Cristina Tavares, an NGO in Pernambuco that supports cancer patients, in partnership with Social Action “Preventivo Móvel”, which will conduct tests Preventive (gynecological and breast diseases) for women from disadvantaged communities.

Lucilo Ávila will donate 30 mammograms to the social activities of Casa Rosa, a non-governmental organization that provides assistance to socially vulnerable women in the interior of Pernambuco who need to undergo radiotherapy and chemotherapy for breast cancer at public hospitals in Recife. Free mammograms will also be donated to women from families assisted by the JCMP Institute in Pena. In addition to contributions to the Calendar of Warriors, to help purchase mammograms for Oswaldo Cruz University Hospital (HUOC) and the Pink Lunch event, which aims to raise funds for improvements in the HUOC’s oncology and oncology sectors.

Social activity

Instituto Cristina Tavares, with the support of Lucilo Avila, implements the “Preventivo Movil” in the month of October. The procedure will conduct preventive examinations for women at the Supply and Logistics Center of Pernambuco (Ceasa-PE): employees, traders, regulars. Subsequently, medical care specific to the itinerary will be implemented in other communities and neighborhoods in Recife. The first procedure will be held at Assucere headquarters, in Ceasa, on October 8, from 8:00 AM to 12:00 noon, and will be repeated every two weeks. Preventivo Móvel also has a partnership with the Integrated Center for Cytology and Colposcopy (CICC).

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The procedure will be taken to the Recife Cervical Prophylaxis (Papanicolaou) and Clinical Breast Evaluation communities. The examinations will be performed by volunteer physicians on site, and upon awareness of a change or the need to continue screening through mammography examinations (mammography and/or ultrasound), women will receive a voucher for referral to a health unit. Lucilo vila Diagnostic Center to perform the above-mentioned tests for free. The woman must schedule the exam in advance, following the directions on the voucher received. They will have up to a month to take the tests.


MRI is the most sensitive method for detecting invasive cancer, and it has been increasingly indicated in the investigation of lesions. Like mammography and ultrasound, it is one of the tests used to evaluate the breasts. Among the differences, however, are the absence of radiation and the use of intravenous contrast, which allows for greater accuracy and increases the detection of lesions. From October, women residing in Pernambuco and neighboring states who undergo an MRI as a breast examination, if a lesion is detected, can undergo a biopsy according to this method. Previously, the state had ultrasound-guided biopsies or mammography-guided biopsies.

According to radiologist Mariana Falcao, of the Lucilo Avila Diagnostic Center team, the examination is performed with a resonance device, with the patient placed inside a tube, in a prone position, with the breasts suspended without pressure. The process takes about 20 to 30 minutes. “For a study to be effective in evaluating breast tissue, it must be performed by intravenous contrast injection, allowing the detection of the most active areas or lesions, i.e. those that may represent very early tumors or even before precancerous lesions that end up only appearing on resonance in the This early stage,” he explains.

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With a medical staff of more than 40 specialists and 42 years of experience, Lucilo Avila Diagnostic Center It works in the field of breast disease prevention and diagnosis, being the only center in Pernambuco that has all kinds of imaging and intervention to identify breast diseases. Lucilo Avila has pioneered many procedures in this specialty in the region, bringing innovations such as 3D mammography (computed tomography) in 2013, breast screening in 2014, and MRI-guided breast biopsy in 2021. He leads the breast imaging segment Radiologist Mirella Avila.