Background Cancers figure among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in Brazil, with approximately 576,000 new cases and around 200,000 cancer related deaths in 2013.
According to the Brazilian National Oncological Policy (Decree GM/MS 2.439/2005) cancer control, like other chronic diseases, must involve all actions and health services available in the National Health System (SUS): health promotion, rehabilitation and palliative care, following the principles of the SUS: Universality, Equity and Completeness of health care.
Aim 1) Outline the profile of all cancer patients admitted to the hospitals of the Unified Health System (SUS) between 2008–2013; 2) Estimate the number of cancer patients with palliative care needs in the population.
Method The present methodology has a quantitative approach, with descriptive exploratory, retrospective and observational studies of hospitalised cancer patients. Data was collected from the hospital information system of the Unified Health System (SIH/SUS), obtained from the database of the Health Information Department of SUS (DATASUS).
Results Between 2008 and 2013, there were almost 4 million hospitalizations (3,705, 024) of patients with cancer in Brazil. From this total 2,661,118 (71.8%) had malignant cancer and 286,566 (7.73%) resulted in hospital death.
Conclusion Estimating resources and specific parameters to structure and tailor palliative care assistance in countries whose health policies do not provide this mode, as the case of Brazil, has been a difficult task, considering the existing diversities between curative and palliative assistance and understanding regarding the combination of different types and criteria of care.
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