Breast cancer study.jpg

Breast cancer study

THE NUMBER of new cases of breast cancer in the Algarve is running at 175 a year, according to the regional health authority, with 70 of those cases leading to death.

The national figure is around 4,400 new cases every year, with a mortality rate of 1,500.

The figures form part of a provisional study on the regional situation by Administração Regional de Saúde (ARS) to analyse the impact of the Tracing Breast Cancer Programme launched in September of 2005.

The programme is organised under a partnership between the authority, the Associação Oncológica do Algarve, Faro Hospital and the Barlavento Hospital in Portimão.

In the two years since the project was launched, the Algarve Programme has already carried out 15,000 mammograms on women aged between 50 and 65 using a special mobile unit equipped with high resolution machinery and two permanent and experienced radiologists. In the near future, this unit is expected to also start examinations of women aged 70 and over.

According to the study, in each 100 invitations sent to women by letter, about 43 replied and the number is growing. The last cancer tracing operation, which was held in Portimão district, reported 57 replies for each 100 letter sent.

Additional examinations

Since the beginning of the programme, four breast cancers were detected for every thousand mammograms done by the mobile unit, and additional examinations were required for 325 women to confirm the existence of the disease.

Meanwhile, a recent study from the British Medical Association has confirmed that obesity increases the risk of cancer in women. The study mentions that the risk of breast and intestine cancer can really increase after menopause in women carrying too much weight.

The authors examined 45,000 cancer cases in a total of one million women over a period of seven years. The result was that 6,000 of the patients had obesity problems, which the experts concluded to be directly related to the cancer they developed.

The study also said that about 6,000 from the 120,000 new cancer cases registered every year in women over 50 are related with obesity. In those 6,000 new cases, the study concludes that two thirds are breast and uterus related.

Excess weight is quoted as one of the causes for uterus cancer in 51 per cent of the women examined and for 48 per cent of the cancer nodules in the oesophagus.

The experts concluded that amongst preventive measures to fight those diseases the list should start to include more healthy and controlled diets.

Do you have a view on this story? Email: [email protected]