Popular Health Education, Primary Health Care and Mouth Cancer, Pernambuco / Brazil

Popular Health Education, Primary Health Care and Mouth Cancer, Pernambuco / Brazil


University of Pernambuco1

Research Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacy-2d Code

Oral cancer remains a public health problem. Smoking, alcohol and sun exposure (lower lip) isolated or associated, act as important risk factors, lifelong and therefore preventable, even with the participation of viruses such as human papilloma virus (HPV), nutritional deficiencies, immunological and genetic alterations that contribute to cancer development. Early diagnosis and in particular the identification of the presence of risk factors for the development of the disease extend considerably the possibility of prevention and cure. Thus, it is necessary to ensure the active involvement of the population, making it responsible for their own decisions and able to develop conjoint activities with health professionals. The objective of this university extension work is the popularization and dissemination of technical and scientific knowledge in favor of reducing morbidity and mortality due to oral cancer, with empowerment of the population about the disease, risk factors, prevention, diagnosis and treatment as well as the humane training of health professionals and technical / preventive / diagnostic professional training of primary health care. Through the Program to Combat Mouth Cancer, extension activity at the University of Pernambuco, theoretical short courses / practical training with the staff of Primary Health for the prevention and pursuit of differential diagnosis and early cancer mouth are performed. Educational / preventive activities with the population are developed with support folders, banners, videos, pamphlet literature and educational spots aired by local radio in association with the State Government; along with attendance in partnership with professional / population resident in the State of Pernambuco. Undergrad students and collaborators undergo intra and inter calibration process. For each action of the course, the amount of people participating is recorded and their impressions (testimonies) on the activity performed and relevance of university extension activities are collected. The undergrad students in Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Biological Sciences and Speech Therapy involved build a report every 60h completed, containing: introduction (literature review on the subject), development (discrimination of activities, location, load-time and quantity of people who participated) and conclusion (statement containing insight into the positive and negative aspects experienced during the development of activities of this program and professional training and assistance to the population). Furthermore, field of research and interventionists papers are produced, characterizing the extension-research-action format. From January 2002 to March 2015, 1,200 students from UPE and 300 from other higher education institutions of the State of Pernambuco collaborated with the development of educational / preventive activities. 8,600 professionals, among Dentists, Oral Health Assistants, Oral Health Technicians and Community Health Agents of 63 municipalities of Pernambuco were trained. 58,000 people took part in educational / preventive activities for the sake of self-care, prevention and early diagnosis of oral cancer. As a product of this program the “Week Against Mouth Cancer” (18 to 25 October) was made official in the state of Pernambuco by Law No. 13,411 (14/04/2008), whose project had been submitted in 2002, and the Federal Dental Council was unanimously in favor of its implementation, as well as the National Coordinator of Oral Health of the Brazilian Health Ministry. This program received recognition and appreciation of their shares by the Oral Health Coordination of the State of Pernambuco, and nationally by the Department of Dentistry of the National Cancer Institute of Brazil / Ministry of Health (INCA / MS), including the publication of material on New guidelines for the early detection of oral cancer, 2012. Nonetheless, earned several awards: Finalist of Health Journal, 2006; 1st place for Extension Work – UPE, 2009; Merit by the Federal Council of Dentistry, 2004 and 2005 and by the Pernambuco Dentistry Regional Council in 2012 and 2013. Another impressive and unprecedented result of this program, in northeastern Brazil, is the Dental Residency in Dental Oncology at the University of Pernambuco, 2015. The production of free-licensed audio, video and educational leaflets material is maintained, which helps the continuity of popular health education. The need for more training of professionals, their integration in the services of institutionalized network and their efficiency in multidisciplinary teams boost the activities of this Extension Program, which helps to fill the gaps above indicated and promotes humane training for health professionals, contributing to the change of the Health Unified System (SUS) technical assistance model, with critical-reflective professional, based on scientific and intellectual rigor, to act in a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach in primary, secondary and tertiary care in different modalities, with ethical, legal and humanistic scope in their activities for the care, education, research and management, regarding the needs of the SUS, considering the social, cultural, subjective, spiritual and also epidemiological aspects. The experience of this program in its various faces evidences that knowledge is a basic tool for the prevention, and following Freyre’s teachings, knowledge is being built / shared among the population, students and professionals in health and education areas, as the humanized learning produces shared benefits and the development of this program reinforces the possibility of action inter/trans/multi-disciplinary as an agent capable of modifying epidemiology of the disease, strongly associated with external factors – population habits and lifestyle. The oral cancer constitutes a public health problem whose prevention and control should be prioritized. The University, through this program, takes part in solving local problems with service delivery and promoting events that complement and disseminate the knowledge generated in it. It contributes to the humane training of health professionals experienced in the Unified Health System – SUS and favors the accurate and early diagnosis of oral lesions by stimulating self-care and theoretical training / practice professionals.

Keywords: primary health care; cancer; mouth; prevention; diagnosis

Free Full-text PDF


  1. Brasil. Ministério da Saúde. Instituto Nacional do Câncer. Estimativa da Incidência e Mortalidade por Câncer no Brasil – 2014. http://www.inca.gov.br/cancer/epidemiologia/estimativa2014. Access in October 2nd, 2015.
  2. Vidal, AKL; Ximenes, LM. In: Queiroz Marques, CLT; Barreto, CL; Morais VLL, Lima Júnior, NF. Oncologia uma abordagem multidisciplinar. Recife. Ed Carpe Diem, 2015; 291-309;
  3. Silva, MGM. Extensão universitária no sentido do ensino e da pesquisa. In: Faria DS, organizador. Construção conceitual da extensão na América Latina. Brasília, DF. Universidade de Brasília, 2001; 91-105.
  4. Freire, P. Pedagogia da autonomia: saberes necessários à prática educativa. São Paulo, SP: Paz e Terra, 1996; 32-33.
  5. Atty, A.; Pontes, J. R. M.; Torres-Pereira, C; Lemos Junior, C. A; Vidal, A. K. L; Kulcsar, MA. Novas diretrizes para a detecção precoce do câncer de boca. Rede Câncer, Rio de Janeiro/ RJ, 2012; 28 – 30.