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Life stories to break the stigma of cancer

Cancer is a prevalent disease and one of the leading causes of death, but it is still stigmatized. The #HistoriasdeVida campaign was born with the purpose of breaking taboos and promoting research.

#Històriesdevida to boost research and end the stigma of cancer

Image from the video #HistoriasdeVida

How does a person receive their own cancer diagnosis? And the next of kin? How does an oncologist prepare to deliver this news? What concerns does a cancer survivor have? What personal experience leads a psychologist to specialize in psycho-oncology?

These and other questions, in relation to cancer, are the ones we often ask ourselves but are usually relegated to the private sphere or more segmented.

In order to answer all these questions, the pharmaceutical company MSD next to the Foundation for Excellence and Quality in Oncology (ECO Foundation)have promoted the #HistoriasdeVida campaign, where they show the testimony of different people who share stories close to cancer.

“For MSD, this collaboration is essential to continue advancing research and scientific progress against cancer and continue to provide innovations that save and improve life,” says the doctor and medical director of MSD in Spain, Joaquín Mateos.

The campaign also has the collaboration of the MORE THAN IDEAS Foundationthe Spanish Oncology Nursing Society and the Spanish Cancer Research Association.

Cancer, a very present disease

Cancer continues to constitute one of the main causes of mortality in the world.

In Spain, the number of cancers diagnosed in 2023 will reach 279,260 casesaccording to the estimates of the Spanish Network of Cancer Registries (REDECAN).

In addition, the general number of cancers diagnosed in Spain has increased in recent decades.

They indicate as a cause different factors:

  • Population increase.
  • The aging of the population.
  • Exposure to risk factors such as tobacco or alcohol.
  • Increasing early detection.

“Starting from each of the diagnosed people, if we also take into account their relatives, friends and health professionals who will accompany them on a daily basis during this journey, we are facing a very significant part of society that will live together , in one way or another, with the disease”, explains Dr. Mateos.

End the stigma of cancer as a goal

For #HistoriasdeVida the final goal is to end it cancer stigma and that society gets involved in the fight against this disease.

For this reason, eleven people were interviewed, including family members, health professionals and caregivers who accompany people with cancer on a daily basis.

And it has given rise to seven audiovisual pills which reflect anecdotes, feelings and learning told firsthand and which will guide the viewer through the path lived.

The project will have continuity over time and will continue to incorporate new testimonies and stories, as well as actions that serve to normalize experiences of those who live with cancer in their day-to-day life and thus be able to put an end to stigmatization.

In this way, talking about cancer from multiple perspectives is an important step to break with the taboo that lurks around this disease.

“The “Life Stories” initiative highlights the experience of people with cancer. This disease goes far beyond the medical aspects. Each person has a different reality and it is important to convey that there is no single way to live with cancer”, he concludes Diego Villalón García, social worker and co-founder of the MÉS QUE IDEES Foundation.

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