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The Project

Cancer, as a biological and social phenomenon immersed in relationships that involve policies, institutions, knowledge, practices and representations, demands approaches from the different disciplines that make up the social sciences. From this perspective, historical studies are important for understanding the trajectory and even the contemporary aspects of the disease, and can contribute towards the expansion and improvement of initiatives and programs in the ambit of public health policies.

In 2007, Casa de Oswaldo Cruz began research into the disease with a project in partnership with Instituto Nacional de Câncer José Alencar Gomes da Silva (INCA). The aim was to produce a book, "De doença desconhecida a problema de saúde pública: o INCA e o controle do câncer no Brasil",to commemorate the institution’s 70th anniversary. Based on the studies undertaken for the publication, a new research area was started in the Department of Research into the History of Science and Health, investigating the history of cancer control in Brazil. Its key actions include the editing of a special issue of Revista Manguinhos, carrying papers by the group; the publication of articles on the topic in national and foreign journals with a wide readership; and the active fostering of partnerships with foreign institutions and researchers devoted to the subject. The expansion of this research has also been made possible thanks to the financial support provided by funding agencies, including Faperj and CNPq.

The partnership with INCA was consolidated in 2011 with the creation of a new project, "History of Cancer – actors, scenarios and public policies”, whose main goal is to produce historical knowledge about the trajectory of cancer control in Brazil and to contribute towards the appreciation and preservation of the cultural heritage produced by the institutions involved in controlling the disease.

The project is articulated with a broader effort at Fiocruz to develop a wider array of actions in the field of chronic degenerative and neglected diseases. It also aims to help strengthen the Unified Health System, especially by producing material of relevance to the development of human resources for the national oncology network and participating in a knowledge and technology production network in partnership with INCA. Finally, it should also be seen as a contribution to the history of science and health, especially the history of diseases.



Historical Research

From the perspective of the social history of diseases, the history of public policies and the history of institutions and professional groups, a variety of studies are undertaken, focusing specifically on women’s cancer control in the country. The research findings are published in articles in indexed scientific periodicals and in book form.

Research of Documents

Research of primary sources of relevance for developing a better understanding of actions for cancer control and the history of cancer in Brazil. The documents are first identified in libraries, institutional and personal archives, museums and oral history centers and in some cases obtained for safeguarding. They are then collated into an archive about the memory of cancer in Brazil.

Iconographic Research

Research of images used in campaigns, by institutions and of key figures involved in cancer control and the history of cancer in Brazil. The documents are identified in libraries, institutional and personal archives, museums and oral history centers and then collated into an iconographic archive about the memory of cancer in Brazil.

Image Archive

Oral History

Recordings of the histories given by important figures in the history of cancer control in Brazil. The interviews, recorded in audio and video, are of inestimable value for recovering and preserving the memory of the main actors, institutions and public policies involved in cancer control over the decades.

Archive of Oral Histories

Este sítio foi desenvolvido pela Casa de Oswaldo Cruz | Fiocruz