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#Time4Change: Spain

Published on 29 March 2018 back to previous

Spain is among the most advanced countries in terms of the fight against colorectal cancer, with a very effective national health system and an excellent National Cancer Plan, which was created in 2003. It has seven principal aims: promoting and protecting health, early detection, adults care, children and adolescents care, palliative care, quality of life, and research.

However, colorectal cancer is still responsible for the second highest number of deaths from cancer in Spain after lung cancer, and issues around inequality across the country remain.

For example, colorectal cancer screening is established in all 17 regions in Spain, but there are disparities among them. While some regions start screening from the age of 50, others do not start until 60. Regions such as the Basque Country, Catalonia and Valencia have high screening rates whereas others – surprisingly including Madrid – are much lower.

Empowering patients and their families through positive thinking

EuropaColon Spain was founded in 2006 by Carlos Hue and several other colorectal cancer patients. One of their key current focuses to enable change is empowering patients and their families through conferences and lectures focusing on positivity, hope and improving quality of life.

“Is happiness possible with cancer? Yes, of course!” says Carlos. “First of all, cancer is equal to life; cancer is life, because when you have got a cancer you are alive; and, when you die, you haven’t got any cancer at all. So, cancer is life. Moreover, when you have cancer, you have all your life in front of you, as nobody knows exactly when they will die. Consequently, when you have a cancer, you must enjoy your own life and people around you must be conscious of this.”

For Carlos, it is #Time4Change in terms of boosting patients’ self-esteem, resilience, motivation and emotional communication level.

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