SUS: Law enacted to expand cancer prevention in women

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Law No. 14,335 was enacted, which expands the prevention, detection and treatment of cervical, breast and colorectal cancers in women by the Unified Health System (SUS) regardless of age.

Women from puberty onwards will be entitled to undergo mammography, cytopathology and colonoscopy exams free of charge. Previously, these procedures were only offered to women aged 40 and over.

The publication took place in the Official Gazette (DOU), last Tuesday (10/5), and the law comes into force in 180 days.


Previous law vs current law

The previous law ensured that women with disabilities had adequate conditions and equipment to deal with these diseases. With the changes, this right is also extended to elderly patients.

The text expands the list of procedures that must be offered for the diagnosis of cancers and does not refer specifically to cytopathological and mammographic exams.

The colorectal cancer exam, which was not among the prevention actions for women, has now been included in the SUS.

Another important achievement is that the law grants the doctor the permission to request the replacement or complementation of the exams of his patients.

Read too: Colorectal cancer screening updates — what do the new guidelines say?

Importance of early diagnosis

These types of cancers have a high incidence in the female population, especially in the Southeast and South regions. In addition to including attention to colorectal cancer among the actions provided for by the law, it promotes other relevant changes, such as guaranteeing access to colonoscopy and eliminating age references.

According to experts, with the new law it will be possible to carry out an early diagnosis. And, thus, treatment tends to be simpler and more effective for women, as well as guaranteeing a reduction in expenses for the SUS with complex procedures, necessary in cases of advanced levels of cancer.

Senator Marcelo Castro (MDB-PI), who is a doctor and was once the minister of health, highlighted that colorectal cancer is the second that most affects women, after breast cancer. Also a doctor, Senator Zenaide Maia (Pros-RN) highlighted the importance of early diagnosis. The initial proposal (PLS 374/2014) is from former senator Vanessa Grazziotin (AM) (PL 6.554/2019).

“The enactment of Law No. 14,335 creates a screening policy for prevalent cancers that are a cause of preventable mortality among Brazilian women. This modification of the law creates conditions for an expansion of diagnostic possibilities of these diseases within the scope of the Unified Health System. The use of the medical professional’s autonomy to use the expansion of coverage of this law must always be reinforced by the use of Evidence-Based Medicine, to properly indicate the tracking of these diseases for the target populations, not unnecessarily investigating asymptomatic populations that do not benefit from these tests. . On the other hand, the possibility of using these tests for diagnosis in populations that previously would have difficult access because they are not allocated in the age group of availability of the test contributes enormously to the programming of better structured care plans throughout the country within the scope of of the SUS”, said the family doctor, Marcelo Gobbo, professor at IMEPAC Centro Universitário and columnist for PEBMED, in an interview for the portal.


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