Learn about the history of AC Camargo, a reference hospital in cancer treatment

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Learn about the history of AC Camargo, a reference hospital in cancer treatment

Hospital AC Camargo, a reference in cancer treatment, announced that it will no longer serve patients through the SUS (Unified Health System) as of December, when its current contract with the City of São Paulo ends.

Founded in 1953, the hospital was born from the marriage between surgeon Antônio Prudente Meireles de Moraes and journalist Carmen Annes Dias, who was the daughter of President Getúlio Vargas’ personal physician. The two met in 1938, in Berlin, during a trip to see the medical centers of Germany.

The following year, already married, the two had the idea of ​​transforming the APCC (Paulista Association for the Fight against Cancer), which had existed since 1934, into a hospital. Moraes wanted to expand the association’s role, creating a place to offer hospital care for cancer patients, expand the knowledge of oncologists and disseminate information about the disease to the population.

As the couple did not have enough capital to put the idea into practice, several donation campaigns were necessary. Commander Giuseppe Martinelli (1870-1946), a patient of the surgeon Moraes, made an initial bid of 100 contos de réis in 1943.

The campaigns themselves began in 1945, near the end of World War II. On May 1 of that year, Dias launched the first Campaign Against Cancer, which shared information about the disease through 25,000 posters pasted on the walls of São Paulo.

In 1946, the journalist created the Women’s Network to Combat Cancer, an organization that had the proposal to enlist more than 31,000 people to help fight tumors. The volunteers were distributed in 200 centers whose mission was to carry out regional campaigns and transmit knowledge to the population.

The action was a success and in the same year APCC managed to make its first Tumor Clinic possible, through an agreement with Hospital Santa Cruz, located in Vila Mariana, in the south zone. The clinic would operate in the outpatient clinic of the hospital, and the APCC would be responsible for installing all the necessary equipment. From 1946 to 1953, the site offered surgery, physiotherapy and radiation therapy to the sick.

In the meantime, with the donations, Moraes bought two plots of land in the Liberdade neighborhood, close to the Vergueiro street tram line. There, the first unit of AC Camargo was built, finally founded on April 23, 1953.

And so the first hospital in São Paulo was born, built only with the money given by the population itself, without financial support from religious organizations or from an immigrant colony or links with official health institutions in the country, as was common at the time.

Currently, the AC Camargo Cancer Center has five units and an international tumor research center and is maintained by Fundação Antônio Prudente, formerly APCC.

Origin of the name AC Camargo

Originally called the Cancer Hospital, the AC Camargo Cancer Center was renamed in honor of the professor and great mentor of the institution’s founder.

Antônio Cândido de Camargo (1864-1947) was a clinical surgeon and taught at FMUSP (São Paulo University School of Medicine). In Brazil, he was a pioneer in neurosurgery and made important contributions to the treatment of brain and spinal cord tumors. He presided over the APCC, but died before the opening of the hospital that now bears his name.

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