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The leading role of women in the fight against cancer

March 16th, 2021 – Throughout time, acting as scientists, health professionals, care providers or patients, women have played a vital role in the role against cancer. Although the gender inequities do remain, women have been occupying more roles in leadership and increased activism in the areas of health and science, bearing potential to impact on a positive manner attention, care and access to information among women who are patients or who accompany relatives, spouses of friends undergoing cancer treatment.

Bearing in mind how much the female participation in this area can inspire other women to tell their stories and to raise the flag of scientific research, we share below inspiring initiatives of some women working towards a common objective: combatting cancer and improving the quality of life of oncologic patients.

Scientists at USP (University of São Paulo) develop an immunotherapy against HPV

Luana Moraes, Bruna Porchia and Mariana Diniz, researches at the Institute of Biomedical Sciences (ICB) – USP, are developing an immunotherapy drug named Terah-7. Such treatment is directed to tumors caused by the HPV virus, such as cervix and uterus cancer. Terah-7 directs and activates the immunological system itself, thus inducing a specific answer to combat the tumor, without damaging the healthy cells of patients. Source: Jornal da USP.

Queer Activist Ericka Hart has been promoting debates addressing breast cancer

After being diagnosed, at age 28, with breast cancer, the same disease that killed her mother, Ericka Hart was shocked and decided to act. In 2016 she attended a musical festival and exposed the scars of her mastectomy on the stage to caught attention for that disease. Such act had an important coverage in the press media and social networks. Since then, Ericka, who is also an educator on human sexuality, has been using her fame to raise awareness, especially among African American queer and trans individuals, regarding medicine, gender, sexuality and racism.

A member of Instituto Projeto Cura who has won two types of cancer is dedicated to raise awareness and to deliver education on that disease

Paula Dutra joined the team of Instituto Projeto Cura since 2017. She is an advertising professional specialized in design and takes care of our social networks! Paula has faced one breast cancer and one ovarium cancer and due to those diagnoses she was benefitted by clinical researches, thus becoming a great advocate of incentives to researches addressing cancer. Since her initial diagnosis, in 2011, Paula decided to share with other women her history, as well as the step-by-step of her treatment. As a consequence, she created a network to provide support and share experiences at the blog named Mão na Mama @maonamama, where she posts clues for health and self-care.

Dr. Angélica Nogueira is oncologist, researcher and has been playing leading roles at different institutions that encourage didactic and preventive approaches to combat cancer

Dr. Angélica is an example of assertiveness and leadership. She conceived the Brazilian Group on Gynecological Tumors (Grupo EVA), which aims at promoting awareness and research of gynecological cancer. Additionally, that group advocates the rights of oncological patients and supports them during the cancer treatment. Currently, in addition to being the president of Grupo EVA, Dr. Angélica is also a director at the Brazilian Society on Clinical Oncology (SBOC), Chair Gynecology at the Latin American Cooperative Oncology Group (LACOG) and faculty member and researcher at the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the Federal University of Minas.