Breast cancer ranks among the most common cancers worldwide and nationally. In Spain alone, over 30,000 cases are diagnosed annually, with an incidence expected to increase by over 40% by 2040, according to data from the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM).

The MELIORA project, an initiative by the European Union (EU) aimed at achieving the ‘Prevention and Early Detection’ objective for breast cancer, seeks to revolutionize breast cancer care in Europe.

The project introduces a Virtual Coach, an application designed to provide recommendations for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and attending screenings and medical check-ups. By adopting healthy habits and undergoing regular medical check-ups, about 30% of breast cancer cases could be prevented, as per INCLIVA’s data.

Aligned with the European Cancer Plan, MELIORA aims to combat breast cancer by actively involving patients and their families in intervention studies and promoting a support network to enhance overall well-being.

The project employs educational resources, personalized digital guidance, and feedback from medical professionals to encourage healthy habits and improve physical activity levels. Virtual Coach utilizes data collected over a trial period to provide tailored nutritional and exercise recommendations to women.

Over the next two years, MELIORA will be implemented in six pilot centers across urban and rural areas in four European countries—Spain, Greece, Lithuania, and Sweden—with 2,080 participants. The project aims to assess its progress and impact comprehensively, with a focus on improving physical activity levels and healthy habits.

One of the main challenges is ensuring participant adherence and feedback to refine the tool, as explained by Hernando. The project also aims to address disparities in breast cancer detection, including age, culture, and access to healthcare, particularly between rural and urban areas.

Translating MELIORA’s benefits to rural areas is crucial for reaching all segments of the population, especially in screening efforts, remarks Cristina. Encouraging healthy lifestyles, including regular physical activity, is essential in combating sedentary behavior, a significant risk factor for cancer.

By promoting adherence to healthier lifestyles, MELIORA endeavors to reach as many patients as possible, emphasizing the importance of community engagement and personalized support in breast cancer prevention and early detection efforts.

Article written by LAURA ORTEGA