Elena Guanter, Iberian country head, Candriam and Maria De Lorenzo Alvarez, national manager of corporate alliances, of the Asociación Española Contra el Cáncer (Spanish Association Against Cancer), discuss Candriam’s partnership with the Association, which provides practical support for cancer sufferers, in addition to supporting research and prevention initiatives.
Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for nearly 10 million deaths in 2020, according to the World Health Organization. The disease is no respecter of age, national origin or socioeconomic status.
Ongoing research, coupled with early diagnostics and ever more sophisticated treatments, have raised survival rates for some forms of cancer, including lung and breast cancer.
Leading the fight against cancer in Spain is non-profit Asociación Española Contra el Cáncer, which focuses on four main areas: Prevention; Awareness; Patient care; and Research.
The Association, which has 52 offices across Spain, supports a number of Spanish-based and international research projects, working with organizations such as Cancer UK. Part of that research involves providing advanced training for talented young researchers in Spain. “Our goal is to increase cancer survival rates from 56%, where it currently stands, to 70% by 2030—which we believe can be achieved,” says Alvarez.”
Free assistance for those affected by cancer
But what makes the Association truly unique is the practical day to day support it provides to cancer sufferers, from help with accommodation to income support. For example, if someone needs cancer treatment and lives close to a hospital in Barcelona or Madrid, it is relatively straightforward for them to attend appointments. But what happens if that person lives in a small village, hundreds of miles from an urban center?
“Having learned more about the Association, I knew it was the kind of program that our clients would want to support,” says Guanter, “not only because it fits into the support for oncology initiatives that is one of the pillars of Candriam’s Institute for Sustainable Development,* but because it recognizes the very human face of cancer and the real-life challenges that sufferers have to contend with.”
&The Association also addresses preventative aspects of cancer by helping to raise awareness of the need for healthy eating and exercise, reduction of alcohol consumption and for children not to be exposed to smoking.
Maria De Lorenzo Alvarez, national manager, corporate alliances, Asociación Española Contra el Cáncer
Cancer sufferers often have their lives turned upside down following diagnosis of the disease. Many end up being made redundant from their jobs, leaving them to agonize over how they will pay their mortgage, bills, and other indirect costs that make patients with low incomes and their families more vulnerable. This is where the Association steps in. “We can help to alleviate some of the worries patients face,” explains Alvarez, “by providing financial assistance to cover these practicalities and find solutions for everyone, regardless of their socioeconomic background.”
Financial support from private donors and businesses account for most of the Association’s funding, along with limited support from the government. “There is no doubt that without the support of businesses like Candriam, we would not be able to provide the services that we do—all free of charge,” says Alvarez.
Prioritizing palliative care also continues to be high on the Association’s agenda as part of its current strategic plan. The Association has long been the leading social entity in providing end-of-life care and assistance to both patients and their families and works with authorities to improve palliative care in the Spanish national healthcare system.
“We see the work of the Association as vital for continuing to help cancer research and treatment programs achieve their objectives,” says Guanter, “and view Candriam’s partnership with it as a very collaborative union. We were delighted to promote the work of the Association this past February as part of World Cancer Day. Their mission is very much aligned to our client priorities, which is to invest for the long-term in a meaningful way.”