“It can change your life” or “In 2021 it touched 276,239” are some of the messages of the campaign that the National Cancer Research Center (CNIO) has launched to make people aware of the importance of cancer research


María Blasco, director of the National Cancer Research Center (CNIO), during the presentation of the campaign “The Lottery that touches you the most”, on the occasion of World Cancer Day/ EFE/Rodrigo Jiménez

The campaign, launched on the occasion of World Cancer Day, February 4, bears the slogan “The lottery that touches the most” and has been presented in a lottery administration in the center of Madrid in which throughout the day of February 3 The CNIO has informed citizens of the importance of donations in the work of this cancer research center.

“Cancer is one of the most prevalent diseases. One in three people, men and women, will have it. That is why we are here, because we want to raise awareness about the importance of research and because the more research, the more treatments, more cures and less fear,” the researcher and director of the CNIO, María Blasco, told EFE.

With these donations, which are managed through the “Friends of the CNIO” initiative, 100% of the proceeds will be dedicated to hiring researchers who work on different projects to understand “the molecular origin of cancer, which is common to many types of tumours”, points out Blasco.

Today, half of cancer cases can be cured but another 50% do not have effective treatments. “There is a long way to go in research to be able to control them all” and to understand metastasis, “a process associated with cancer that continues to be the greatest cause of death and that is still largely unknown”, points out María Blasco.

Donations can be made on the ‘CNIO Friends’ website, through the telephone line that the CNIO has set up for this purpose or through the BIZUM code 03427.

Also within the framework of World Day, for the next 12 months, the CNIO is exhibiting the piece Intra-Venus at its facilities in Madrid, a sculpture made of Carrara marble that aims to give visibility to the personal and emotional journey that women who have or have had cancer.

“Cancer is a disease wrapped in metaphors, a disease that is not shown as it is but is hidden behind expressions of war such as ‘winning the battle’ or ‘fighting the scourge’ and that is a mistake and a problem”, has denounced Maria Blasco.

The work, made by the visual artist from Granada Marina Vargas, shows the author’s real body after going through a cancer process, in an attempt to look at the disease head-on and to show all that it entails.

Real reality of cancer

The sculpture represents a woman showing the true reality of cancer: she is missing a breast and shows the effects of chemotherapy on her body. Her raised arm, as a sign of her activism. “It bears witness,” sums up Vargas.

«I wanted to make this process visible with my body, as a generator of knowledge. To show what is there, make it lighter for those who suffer from this disease and talk about it without sweetening the process, “explains the author.

In the presentation of this work, Vargas stressed that artists have an essential role in making cancer visible, a disease that is diagnosed in one in three people and that does not end with treatment but “goes much further “, has warned.

And it is that only 53 percent of women who have suffered cancer return to their jobs after therapy, because in many cases, they are fired for fear of a relapse.

This disease also causes economic problems and delays the professional career of women, among other factors, recalled Marian Fernández Cao, professor and expert in gender imbalance.

Research, cancer and art

For all these reasons, Fernández Cao, together with Marina Vargas and a dozen artists who have had or have the disease, have created the Intra-Venus Association, a non-profit organization proposed as a collaborative network to make cancer visible.

Its name, Intra-Venus, is inspired by the North American artist Hannah Wilke (1940-1993) -a pioneer of the art approach who recorded the process of her illness on video tapes to show the true face of cancer-, and her goal It is to act as a platform for social activism, to favor the labor reintegration of female creators, to make cancer visible and, above all, to accompany women in this process.

“The CNIO had to be part of all this. Intra-Venus and the CNIO had to share a common space”, stressed María Blasco, because research and art are two great ways of generating knowledge and “avoiding metaphors”, concluded the director of the CNIO.

Every day, more than 400 scientists work in the CNIO in cancer research.

María Blasco (left) next to the sculpture and the artist Marina Vargas/Courtesy photo

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