Cuts to SUS funds are already affecting cancer patients – Gerais

Dinalda was diagnosed with large B-cell Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of leukemia, a rarer cancer. At the time, he was living in Ipatinga, Vale do Ao, and moved to Juiz de Fora, which had more hospital resources.

“I was working at home, I had to give up everything to be able to occupy myself and continue the treatment. I managed to ‘touch’ the INSS at the time,” recalls Dinalda.

The housewife recovered from cancer in 2012. However, two years later the disease returned. In 2017, he needed a bone marrow transplant, a procedure he performed again in 2020.

From that year, the scenario is totally different. Dinalda struggled to find doctors, schedule exams and get medicine to treat her cancer.

“A lot of difficulties with the doctor, with the exams. When I went to do the first [quimioterapia], I had the original treatment, this cocktail for lymphoma. In 2020, I couldn’t take it anymore. I have another chemotherapy [mais agressiva]. I had to be hospitalized,” says the housewife.

Dinalda reports that as of 2020 the cancer has spread to the intestine. With great pain, he spent days in urgent care units for treatment. “It took a long time, there was no room for examinations and doctors. At the time of admission, you have to go through the UPAs. I had to sit for four days to wait for the job offer came out. Sometimes I didn’t even have pain medication. It took six months to get a response,” he reported.

And when I spoke to the doctors and nurses about the delay, the response was always the same. “The government does not provide conditions to buy the drugs, this is the justification that the employees gave,” Dinalda recalled.

Unable to obtain the drugs through the SUS, Dinalda’s son, Lucas Gabriel, had to bear the cost. A journalist, the boy spent around R$20,000 over three months on medicine alone. “I borrowed money to pay for most drugs in installments,” he said.

Despite the difficulties, Dinalda managed to follow the treatment. However, the sequel remained. Now, at 53, she has difficulty hearing and moving her upper limbs.

Dona Dinalda suffered from the cuts in the SUS in
Dona Dinalda suffered from SUS cuts in cancer treatment (photo: Personal Archives)


To irrigate the secret budget, the Jair Bolsonaro (PL) government cut the funds of several ministries. This is at least what the draft budget sent to the National Congress shows.

Among the different haircuts, the one that catches the eye is the one related to cancer. For next year, R$97 million is programmed for the “Chronic Disease Care Network – Oncology”. The amount is 45% lower than that applied in 2022, which was BRL 175 million.

The scissor reaches the transfer of money from the Ministry of Health to state governments, municipalities and non-profit entities to implement, equip and expand inpatient and outpatient health services.

In Juiz de Fora, one of the references in the field of cancer surgery was the University Hospital. However, in 2022 he stopped performing the procedure. According to HU, the hospital was unable to obtain accreditation from the state Department of Health. In addition, the facility did not receive the values ​​from the oncology service chart from the Ministry of Health.

“Without accreditation and receipt by the Ministry of Health of the values ​​​​of the Oncology Services Table, the continuity of cancer surgeries may compromise the sustainability of the institution, even threatening other essential services provided to the population of Juiz de Fora and the region”, he said in a note to the HU.

Even before the end of the service, the number of oncology surgeries at HU was declining. In 2016, there were 453 procedures. In 2018, there were 624, the highest in the historical series published by the institution’s advisory board. In 2021, there were 287 surgeries, the lowest number recorded. In 2022, until the decision to suspend the service, 219 procedures had been carried out.

“Patients cared for at HU-UFJF were referred for continuity of treatment in approved centers,” the body informed.

cut the worries

For Lourival Oliveira, professor at the Federal University of Juiz de Fora (UFJF), the budget cuts announced by the federal government are worrying precisely because they affect an important area. In 2020, the latest year for which data is available, 225,839 Brazilians died of cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute (INCA).

“We have enormous pressure and accumulated demand. What you would get for health programs were not cuts, but expansion. We know what this means which depends on this treatment. You must have all the preventive activity to try to detect cancer in advance. After detecting it, it should be tracked as soon as possible. People with problems must have access to treatment. The longer it takes, the worse the situation only gets, ”lamented the professor.

For Lourival, whoever will become president in 2023 will have to find budgetary solutions for the territory. “Any government that takes power next year will have to reverse the trend, with great difficulty, because the impact you have will reduce the quantity and quality of care. This is for a population that comes from a pandemic, who needs SUS to fight sequelae and other problems,” he pointed out.

And for those who suffer from the problems of skin cancer, they know that it is a disease that cannot wait. “[os cortes] I am very worried, because many [pacientes] may worsen due to lack of medication. Cancer does not wait,” concluded Dinalda.

The Ministry of Health has been contacted to respond to the subject of budget cuts in the program “Care Network for People with Chronic Diseases – Oncology”, but until the closing of this report has not responded.

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