Frecciarosa 2023: prevention travels by train

The initiative is promoted by Fondazione IncontraDonna and Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane with the patronage of the Ministry of Health and the Presidency of the Council of Ministers. Medical consultations on board and information desks are planned all throughout October. The new “Health Guide” is available (in Italian and English). More than 55,000 new breast cancer cases were diagnoses in Italy in 2022 alone.

Rome, 2 October 2023 – The breast cancer “prevention train” returns in October. Setting off is the thirteenth edition of Frecciarosa, an initiative of Fondazione IncontraDonna and Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane having the patronage of the Ministry of Health and the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, with the participation of the Italian Association of Medical Oncology (AIOM) scientific society, organisations and institutions. This edition was also augmented by a prestigious award, the Medal of the President of the Republic commending the high social and national value of the initiative. Last year saw 25,000 passengers involved, 15,000 Health Guides distributed and more than 1,000 services conducted on board trains. The aim of the project is to promote the prevention of breast cancer – the most common cancer in Italy – through a series of initiatives.

Until 31 October – the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month – doctors and volunteers will be aboard high-speed InterCity and regional trains to reach a broad and diverse audience. The aim is to carry out consultations on board the trains, whilst in the FrecciaLounge at Roma Termini and Milano Centrale, an information desk manned by volunteers shall provide information on the importance of prevention and early diagnosis. For the first time, Frecciarosa also includes activities under the patronage of the Lazio Region. From 19 to 21 October, an awareness-raising campaign dedicated to three screenings (mammography, pap-test, faecal occult blood) will take place at the Ostiense Station. Another new feature of the 2023 edition is the distribution of the Vaccination Disc, an easy-to-consult tool for promoting a culture of vaccination at all ages. The distribution on board the train of the Health Guide remains a strong point, with the guide containing information about the best lifestyles for cancer prevention. This year, the booklet has been translated into English and is available on the website, where there will also be teleconsultations two days a week for the entire month. The campaign was presented at a press conference held in Rome today at the headquarters of Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane, led by RAI Journalist Alberto Matano and Mauro Boldrini, Communications Director of AIOM.

“Trenitalia’s commitment to Frecciarosa underlines how crucial health initiatives are for us. We are proud to unite with Fondazione IncontraDonna and the institutions, in particular the Ministry of Health, to be able to offer citizens and our passengers a service for health protection. Also thanks to our trains, the journey towards the well-being of the Italian population, and especially women, continues. With the Frecciarosa project,” emphasises Trenitalia President Stefano Cuzzilla, “we thus want to consolidate and spread a common culture in favour of oncological prevention, in particular against breast cancer, offering extensive medical support and specialist activities at the service of the entire country.”

“For 13 years now, the Frecciarosa initiative has represented a consolidated model of community awareness and proximity to the population aimed at conveying health and prevention messages throughout the country for the benefit of a greater awareness of issues concerning health and well-being for the benefit of society as a whole,” emphasises Prof. Adriana Bonifacino, President of Fondazione IncontraDonna. Through the distribution of the Health Guide on trains, and thanks to the support of our doctors and volunteers, we encourage and involve families, women, men, children and the elderly, in taking care of themselves, we contribute to strengthening the value of our National Health System by providing information and we spread the culture of prevention. This year, the initiative is enriched by the Pilot Stage scheduled to take place on 19, 20 and 21 October in Rome at the Ostiense Station, where the mobile outpatient clinic for the Lazio Region will be set up, in collaboration with Aslroma2 and IDI IRCSS Rome, offering mammograms and ultrasounds to women aged 45 to 49 years, also raising awareness about and taking bookings for the three screening sessions. Our volunteers and medical staff will be at the complete disposal of the travelling and non-travelling population to provide guidance and support.”

In the preface to the Guide, Health Minister Orazio Schillaci is quoted, “I firmly believe that the fight against cancer can only be won through major investments in prevention activities. Since the early days of my term, I placed the promotion of healthy lifestyles at the top of my agenda, and immediately re-launched the awareness-raising activities regarding the available screening programmes, also to make up for the waiting times accumulated during the pandemic. Now more than ever, we understand that investing in prevention and health education is the key to building healthier societies and improving everyone’s lives.”

Says Saverio Cinieri, National President of the Italian Association of Medical Oncology (AIOM), “In 2022 alone, more than 55,700 new cases of breast cancer were registered throughout the Peninsula. In the last 10 years, we have witnessed a real revolution on the treatment front. Personalised medicine, immunotherapy, genomics, more in-depth molecular investigations and more specific drug treatments have brought about important results. At the same time, we are able to better safeguard the patient’s quality of life. There are still lags in the approval of the most innovative drugs and strong cultural resistance to enrolling patients in clinical trials. Overall, however, we are seeing improvements in combating a disease that is steadily growing throughout the country. The cure rate stands at 66% and the five-year survival rate at 88%. But too few women adhere to screening campaigns, such as mammograms, especially in the southern regions. We must promote secondary prevention – this is also why AIOM and the AIOM Foundation continue to support the Frecciarosa.”

“Prevention,” says Francesco Vaia, Director General of Prevention in the Ministry of Health, “must be our eleventh commandment, starting with lifestyles. Promoting the culture of prevention and early diagnosis is indeed fundamental and the Frecciarosa initiative has the benefit of actively bringing these issues to the attention of citizens. The campaign is all the more important because it involves women, who can be the real protagonists of prevention, through the strategic role they play in society in relation to the adoption of healthy lifestyles.”

“We are proud to stand alongside the IncontraDonna Foundation again this year,” emphasises Enrica Giorgetti, Director General of Farmindustria, “for the 13th edition of the Frecciarosa project. Around the world today, thanks to the commitment of the pharmaceutical industry, hundreds of drugs are being developed for diseases that exclusively or predominantly affect women, with a commitment to research (in Italy, now totalling close to 2 billion euro, of which over 700 million euro goes to clinical trials) that is growing also in gender issues. Progress in treatment very often depends on women, who are the majority in R&D in our country.”

“One of the greatest responsibilities of Sport e Salute and our entire world is to unite sport with health and prevention,” says Diego Nepi Molineris, CEO of Sport e Salute. “Sport that heals. Sport that prevents. Sport that helps you live better. If we all do something together, the results will be our reward. A healthy lifestyle, which Sport e Salute pursues as written in its charter, is certainly a theme that can travel as well on trains and on the tracks as on the field and in the gym. An example of this is the Frecciarosa, the campaign by IncontraDonna and Ferrovie dello Stato for the prevention of breast cancer this October. It is seen, it is understood and it sends a clear message. It raises awareness of oneself and one’s body. Just like sport.”

The press conference was also attended by Manuela Tamburo De Bella – Head of Simple Operating Units of the Hospital Clinical Networks and Monitoring per Ministerial Decree 70/2015 AGENAS, Paolo Azzi – President of the Italian Fencing Federation, along with the faces of the 2023 edition, Luca Ward, Elena Sofia Ricci, Patrizia Mirigliani and Lucrezia Guidone. The project is supported by unconditional contributions from several companies, including Gilead and Seagen.