In recent years, efforts to combat cervical cancer have increased. Everything stems from the fact that it affects more and more women and occurs at younger ages. It used to appear after the age of 40 and now cases have been reported as young as 25. That is why prevention is essential, but also timely attention to reported cases.
Care for this type of patient must be carried out from a multidisciplinary approach. It must complement the actions aimed at raising the physical and emotional well-being of patients during their diagnosis and treatment to maximize their quality of life.
The comprehensive approach established by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2020 for the eradication of cervical cancer is made up of three pillars. It deals with the prevention, effective detection and treatment of precancerous lesions. While in our country it has been adopted by the Model for the Care of Locally Advanced and Advanced Cervical Cancer (MICAELA) of the National Cancer Institute (INCan).
Individualized, protocolized and comprehensive care is the fundamental axis of the MICAELA program, which offers its incorporated patients treatment in the areas of medical oncology, nutrition, psycho-oncology and algology, actions that contribute to improving the therapeutic approach of patients.
How does the treatment work?
Oncology support allows the individualization of treatment schemes in this area, according to the profile of each patient, with and without comorbidities, with and without renal impairment or geriatric age.
Nutritional care focuses on identifying patients at risk of malnutrition or malnourished before, during or after cancer treatment because this condition is common in cancer patients and ranges between 40 and 80%. As well as carrying out screening and nutritional evaluation in patients who come to the consultation for the first time, using anthropometric, clinical and dietary methods for an accurate nutritional diagnosis.
While psycho-oncology care allows the detection of risks of emotional distress to identify patients and their primary caregivers who require psychological care due to anxiety, depression or maladaptive coping, consultation to strengthen therapeutic adherence.
On the other hand, the algological support, allows to monitor the pain and symptoms caused by the oncological treatment or by said condition, which allows an optimal quality of life.
Currently, MICAELA has 1,170 patients with cervical cancer incorporated, from different states of the Republic and who do not have social security. In 2021 alone, they received more than 17,000 consultations in the areas covered by the Program, such as oncology, clinical nutrition, pain management, and psycho-oncology.
Among the actions of the MICAELA program, primary prevention through health promotion aimed at reducing the risk of infection by HPV (Human Papillomavirus) stands out, providing relevant information on healthy sexuality and reduction of risk factors, as well as training professionals of the health of various states; secondary prevention, through screening and treatment of precancerous lesions, care and treatment of cervical cancer.
Since its creation, the MICAELA Program has granted 24 thousand 727 consultations. It has contributed to continuing medical education by training more than three thousand health professionals from state health services, where updating in entities with a high prevalence of cervical cancer was prioritized. The objective is to collaborate in the training of human resources in health specialized in the care of these cases, strengthen their capacities to diagnose patients in a timely manner, raise awareness about the use of the HPV vaccine to promote it among the population and standardize multisectoral cancer treatments .