A VEJA, Simone Zucato talks about the current treatment of the disease diagnosed in 2018, shortly before the recording of the television series “O Sétimo Guardião”
Yes, you are cured! My chemotherapy ends definitively in February 2023, but I have already received news from my breast pathologist that I can consider myself 100% cured. (The treatment protocol for breast cancer is five years, without recurrence).
I discovered breast cancer in 2018. Since I was 25 years old, I had regular check-ups because I discovered that I had breast dysplasia, until one day a suspicious result came out. It seemed strange to me, I went to the beauticians who did not say anything, to repeat the test in six months. But besides being an actress, I’m also a doctor and I have a flea behind my ear. A few days later, I met a gynecologist friend and asked for a recommendation to a good breast specialist. She referred me to Joaquim Teodoro. My exam was done and she didn’t need to see any report: she told me at the checkout that it looked like breast cancer. Of course he was afraid. I left the office very worried, I made a trip to Portugal the following week and the next day I received a call from Aguinaldo Silva inviting me to do a television series “O Sétimo Guardião”. It was Tuesday and on Thursday the result of the biopsy came out. I don’t usually open the scans in front of the doctor, but I opened it and the diagnosis was on the first page: it’s breast cancer. At that moment, my world collapsed. It’s funny that you never get that idea: I have cancer, and you think this is never going to happen to you. He was 42 years old. I remember falling on the couch, picking up the phone and calling the doctor. I explained that I had been invited to the series and that I had six months to recover. He calmed me down and I went straight to the office. There he explained to me the type of cancer and what the surgery would be like and everything else. It was in April and I was going to start recording in November. But even though he called for urgency, he blocked the deal.
I went to Portugal, a trip already scheduled, where I stayed 15 days and immersed myself in work. At least I tried because of course I can’t get it out of my head. I wondered all the time why this was happening to me at that point in my life, with a job I really wanted to do. I was scared because cancer in a 42-year-old woman is not a good sign. I wondered if she would die and how long she would live. I was afraid of death. I was worried, but I had the courage to know that when I came back, I would go straight to surgery. But that was not what happened. I had bureaucratic problems with the agreement, I waited several days, until I requested an injunction to allow the surgery. In the meantime, know that time is running out and that you have a disease growing within you. Until my surgery, on July 13, 2018, I hardly slept, I cried a lot, thinking that I could die from this delay. The process took 9 hours. They removed two quarters of my left breast, where the tumor was, and they did the reconstruction. Soon, she began radiation therapy. It was 30 sessions, on the eighteenth day, my skin fell off my breasts and I was raw. I can say that the radiotherapy was the worst part of my treatment, I didn’t have the strength to do anything and I still had this skin reaction.
I made the decision not to tell, only my family knew. And contrary to what they said, I made this decision to say, not out of fear of being kicked off the station, but because I didn’t want the team to worry too much about me. I wanted to do the job to the best of my ability, but there isn’t much interest or people who want to do without me because I’m sick. Of course, during the recordings, I was a little afraid of getting sick because I had finished my radiotherapy and switched to chemotherapy. I had moments of nausea and insomnia, but I was very happy with the work (Simon played Blessed Lillian) and, thank God, everything went well. While preparing the character and the recordings, I didn’t think about that. I avoided changing in front of my classmates so they wouldn’t ask me for a big mole on my chest. I can say that the series was also important not to fall into depression. And I decided, then, to talk about it because I knew that it was my role, as a woman, an actress and a doctor: to give this information and be an example for people. At that time, I adapted the novel into a play “Sylvia”, which I brought from Broadway and intend to perform again in early 2023.
In 2020, I took another hit. My father passed away in July at the age of 68. Suddenly he was healthy, but he died of a heart attack. It was the greatest pain of my life. After that, my mother became more resistant to leaving the house due to Covid-19. She is still a 63 year old, but at this time she too was diagnosed with breast cancer. I remember being in the fitting room with her, seeing her cancer on her screen, while talking to fundraisers for my next theater project, who was giving me good news. I didn’t know whether to cry or celebrate, but I ended up crying in the room. Then I understood that the fact of having discovered my right before, helped in his process since we also discovered it in the initial stage. I saw the same doctor and he did the same surgery, but with the advantage that four years later she needed 15 radiotherapy sessions. She is now undergoing chemotherapy like me, and her chances of getting better from her are about the same as mine, which makes me doubly happy. At the moment, I am trying to encourage women to take the exams. I know many people who say that they are afraid to seek and find, but that is wrong. The sooner you know, the better your chances of healing and recovery. Not just breast cancer, but any other type of cancer. Today it is a treatable disease, and in some cases, like mine, it is treatable. My treatment was 100% successful and as I said, today I can say that I am completely cured!