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Madrid, 8 August 2023-.This weekend, 1-3 September, the A Pulmón Project, a collaboration between the Spanish Association of People Affected by Lung Cancer (AEACaP) and the Ricky Rubio Foundation, begins the fifth ambitious mountain ascent on its program. On this occasion, the expedition will involve a climb by a team of sports patients and a medical oncologist from MD Anderson Cancer Center Madrid to the Pico de Peñalara (2,425 metres), one of the highest summits on the Iberian Peninsula.

The aim of this pioneering initiative is to promote the practice of sports among patients, to make lung cancer visible through mountaineering and eradicate the stigma associated with the disease.

This weekend, the sporting challenge will feature the participation of Dr. Fabio Franco, MD Anderson Madrid oncologist, and four oncology patients. "Sport not only benefits the metabolism and helps regulate circadian rhythms, but it can also encourage better tolerance to treatments and lower toxicity. It can significantly reduce residual adverse events and play a key role in maintaining good ventilatory capacity in patients," explained Franco at the presentation of the latest A Pulmón venture that was held on Thursday at the MD Anderson Cancer Center Spain Foundation Auditorium.

With this objective, throughout 2023 and 2024 a team made up of patients, sports professionals and oncology specialists will attempt to climb some of the highest mountain peaks in Spain to show how things are changing.

As Alberto Urtasun, coordinator of the A Pulmón Project explained, "Our aim is to build a nationwide initiative that shows lung cancer in another way and present it outside the medical field."

Meanwhile Bernard Gaspar, president of AEACAP, insisted on "the need to present sport as a vital part of the oncological process. From our experience, we have seen how physical exercise can have a hugely positive impact on the mood and quality of life of lung cancer patients. "

Bringing visibility to lung cancer

"I became involved in this initiative because I want to tell people diagnosed with lung cancer that they can continue to enjoy normal, happy lives. Projects like A Pulmón are incredibly important because, although we are alone on this path, we need to bring visibility to the disease and meet people who will guide and support us. The burden becomes lighter and the decisions easier if you see that other people are going through the same thing as you”, said Soledad Cardoso, a lung cancer patient at MD Anderson Madrid.

“The lack of visibility of pathologies in general, and of lung cancer in particular, translates into a lack of resources for research or the introduction of new therapies that would benefit patients in terms of both survival and quality of life,” said Dr. Franco. As a result, he insisted, "the implementation of early detection programs and even the development of rapid routes of diagnosis and treatment in patients with suspected diseases is advancing somewhat slower than it could."

After the Peñalara climb, the next mountain on the list for the A Pulmón Project is the Mulhacén (3,482 metres), the highest peak in the Iberian Peninsula. This challenge will take place next October.

Spanish Association of Lung Cancer Patients (AEACaP)

AEACaP is a non-profit organization founded in December 2008 to help people after they receive a diagnosis of lung cancer. It is the only association in Spain dedicated exclusively to this disease. Its objectives include providing psychological and personal support as well as legal advice; defending patients' rights and equal access to health services; promoting prevention and screening programs for early detection; sponsoring research to a wider range of better treatments that improve survival and quality of life; and to organise awareness campaigns to reduce the stigma associated with the disease.