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Vall d’Hebron promotes research against women’s cancer with the fourth edition of the ‘Solidarity Kerchief’

Mocador Solidari 2021
Thursday, 4 March, 2021

All the profits raised will be used to finance research in women’s cancer by two researchers from the Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) and the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO).

It is estimated that, during 2021, more than 117,000 women will suffer from cancer in the State, the most common being breast cancer and, also to a large extent, gynecological cancers such as uterine body, ovary and cervix. With the aim of advancing cancer treatments for women, as well as improving the quality of life of patients, today, Vall d’Hebron presented the fourth edition of the ‘Solidarity Kerchief’ campaign within the framework of the International Day of the Woman, celebrated on March 8.

‘Solidarity Kerchief’ is an initiative promoted by Vall d’Hebron with the collaboration of Natura, which is responsible for producing and distributing the kerchief in its stores and online, and donates all the profits from the sale of these kerchiefs supporting the research in women’s cancer through the funding of two pre-doctoral researchers from the Vall d’Hebron Resarch Institute (VHIR) and the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO). Since the first edition, presented in 2017, Judit Mascó has been the ambassador of the initiative, and the artist Clàudia Valsells has made the different designs.

In this fourth edition, the new kerchief is XXL, versatile and unisex. “This is the fourth edition and the project does not stop growing! That is what we wanted to symbolize by creating an XXL kerchief”, says Judit Mascó, ambassador of the campaign. “We started four years ago and, along the way, behind each kerchief, we have seen incredible stories of growth, stories of women fighting with extraordinary attitudes. Doctors, researchers and patients of Vall d’Hebron have helped us to put ourselves in their shoes and understand that the fight against cancer is also a fight agains the fear that this disease generates in us. A fear that we can overcome, together”, she affirms.

Two projects for the treatment and well-being of cancer patients

In previous editions of this initiative, which started in 2017, more than 16,000 kerchiefs have been sold and more than €150,000 has been raised. The sale of the ‘Solidarity Kerchief’ allows the financing of two research projects, which are already underway, of two researchers from Vall d’Hebron. “The campaign represents a true example of help, generosity and solidarity with women suffering from breast and gynecological cancer. This initiative of Natura has become a symbol of the fight against cancer, and allows research to continue to find the best results”, highlights Dr. Antonio Gil, head of the Gynecology Service of Vall d’Hebron University Hospital and head of the Biomedical Research group in Gynecology of the VHIR.

On the one hand, the research line of Carina Masferrer, a predoctoral researcher in the Biomedical Research group in Gynecology of the VHIR, is based on the development of new therapeutic strategies for the treatment of endometrial cancer. Specifically, she studies the effectiveness of the ABTL0812 molecule, which has shown good results in this type of cancer, together with immunotherapy, which could especially help patients with aggressive subtypes.

For her part, Alejandra Cano, pre-doctoral researcher in the Breast Cancer group at VHIO, focuses on the STEPS (Therapeutic Support for Survivors) project, which aims to expand the resources of psychological support offered by the hospital to treat anxiety and emotional distress after breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, and empower patients to cope with full reincorporation into their lives, both personally and professionally. It is considered that the patients are especially vulnerable due to the physical and psychological consequences of the disease and it seeks to continue healthcare at a time when visits are less frequent. The implementation will also take into account the exceptional circumstances due to the covid-19 pandemic. “We have known for a long time the need to act as an institution on the physical and psychological impact that women suffer after breast cancer, but until now we have not had the resources to implement an evidence-based online and group psychological intervention, also attending to the current needs derived from the pandemic. STEPS is a resource that serves to help not only to better deal with the situation but also to find a space for mutual support because patients share their experience. We greatly appreciate the trust of all those who have supported the project to make this a reality in our hospital today”, says Dr. Cristina Saura, head of the Breast Cancer Unit of the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital and Principal Investigator of the Breast Cancer group at the VHIO.

To help these projects continue to advance, you can buy the solidarity kerchief physically in Natura stores and also through its online store. You can also make a donation directly through the website www.mocadorsolidari.com or www.pañuelosolidario.com. We invite you to join the initiative by sharing your photos with the kerchief on social networks with the hashtag #SumaContraElCancer.

Cancer of women

In 2021, it is estimated that 276,239 tumors will be diagnosed in the State, of which 117,372 will be suffered by women. They are estimates from the Red Española de Registros de Cáncer (REDECAN). The most frequent types of cancer will be, as usual in recent years, breast cancer, with 33,375 new cases (with represents 28.4% of all cancers in women). Despite its high frequency, the implementation of early diagnosis campaigns and advances in therapies have allowed the survival of patients to have increased significantly in recent years. In 2020, 6,600 women died of breast cancer with a survival of 85.5% at 5 years.

Other types of cancer in women, such as gynecological, also have an impact on the lives of many patients. Specifically, it is estimated that 6,923 uterine corpus tumors (5.9% of women cancers), 3,659 ovarian (3.1%) and 1,924 cervical (1.7%) will be diagnosed in 2021.

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