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Recently it was made known through the international study: “Facts and figures about cancer in 2018” of the American Cancer Association, that Costa Rica was the leader in the Latin American region with a better percentage of breast cancer survival.

The study based its results on official mortality statistics from breast cancer after five years of the diagnosis, in which the nations of the world that obtained a higher survival rate than 85% to 90% were taken as a successful range.

In this study, Costa Rica obtained 87% survival, which positioned it as the country with the best record in the region of Central and South America. For its part, the United States has the highest survival rate in the world with 90%, followed by Israel and Canada with 88%.

Timely breast cancer prevention.

According to the general manager of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS), Dr. Roberto Cervantes Barrantes, this study motivates the institution to continue carrying out comprehensive preventive and follow-up approaches for patients to use mammography as an early detection method. Similarly, Vice President Epsy Campbell Barr said in recent statements that the Costa Rican Social Security Fund “is one of the best health systems in the world, which certainly presents challenges, but that makes us proud as Costa Ricans”.

Another highlight of the Costa Rican health services is the one produced by the study of the Integrated System of Epidemiological Surveillance in Cancer (VICA) in which, according to epidemiologist Roy Wong, “this system offers relevant data related to mortality associated with breast cancer: during the last years premature mortality has been reduced, that is, mortality in people before the age of 69”.

These positive results are thanks to the education of the Costa Rican population about the importance of early detection of breast cancer, as well as a greater awareness in performing periodic examinations to detect this disease.

Actions to improve early cancer detection.

Below we will mention the two main actions being carried out by the Costa Rican Social Security Fund to improve the early detection of breast cancer:

a) Preventive campaigns by health teams focused on the importance of mammography and its benefits, aimed at women between 45 and 60 years of age.

b) Dissemination of the “The 12 Signs of Suspicion” campaign, which is a campaign for women to be alert to common signs and motivate them to attend consultations.

The institution currently has 37 mammographers distributed as follows: national and specialized hospitals: two, Women’s Hospital and National Hospital of Geriatric and Gerontology). In the South Network, ten, in the Eastern Network: nine and in the Northwest Network: sixteen.

Regarding hospital consultation, the approach of each case is done through an interdisciplinary team where the best therapeutic route for each case is decided. The comprehensive approach includes psychological support to the patient and family when needed.

Permanent follow-up for five years.

Recently, the training and implementation of the rehabilitation consultation before, during and after surgery have been fully implemented in all the Costa Rican Social Security Fund System.

In the event that the breast is removed in its entirety as a measure to save lives and cannot be reconstructed, either by the patient’s decision or for external reasons, the patient is offered two special bras a year. In addition to a prosthesis every two years to avoid suffering from back problems due to imbalance in weight all this to help normalize the social projection of the patient’s physical image and self-esteem.

Very important worldwide data.

Although the survival percentage of overcoming breast cancer is encouraging, it is important for all women to know the following data:

1. Currently, of every one hundred women with cancer, 29 have breast cancer, 13 have thyroid cancer and 10 colons and rectum cancer.

2. Of every one hundred women who die from cancer, 14 die from breast cancer, 12 from colon and rectum cancer and 11 from stomach cancer.

3. 1 in 19 women will have cancer and 1 in 77 women will die from this disease.

4. Cancer increased its global impact by 24% from 2000 to 2017 and by 14% in mortality from 2000 to 2015.

In the words of the general manager of CCSS, Dr. Roberto Cervantes, “This data represents a call to our personal care and take advantage of the benefits offered by our national health system”.

The timely prevention of breast cancer depends primarily on the commitment that each person has with their health that is why we recommend you visit your trusted doctor and perform your corresponding check-ups.

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