Working (and Walking)
to End Breast Cancer
In the United States, we have been able to link nearly 2.7 million women to mammograms and clinical breast exams. We have educated more than 11 million women and men through our extensive program of grants to underwrite community outreach and public education efforts aimed at raising awareness about breast cancer and the importance of early detection.
In 2011, the Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Crusade awarded more than 268 grants to local, regional and national breast cancer organizations around the country totaling almost $34 million. Roughly 40 percent of those funds were dedicated to research seeking the causes of breast cancer and ways to prevent it, while 60 percent is directed to funding access to quality breast health care for everyone. The Foundation’s goal is to allocate equal funding to research and access to care, but the proportions vary based on the funding proposals received.
Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Season
During the 2011 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer season, nearly 18,000 participants supported by hundreds of thousands of donors raised tremendous awareness of the need to eradicate breast cancer as well as important funds for U.S. breast cancer research and access to care organizations. On stage at the nine Walks, the Avon Foundation presented 76 grants to local and national breast cancer organizations to put walker donations to work immediately. In addition, another 192 grants were awarded throughout the year. Since the Avon Walks began in 2003, they have raised more than $423 million through the dedication of nearly 160,000 participants, including women and men ranging in age from their teens to their 80s, from every walk of life.
Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Research Forum
The 2011 Avon Foundation Forum, which focused on breast cancer research, gathered experts from the Foundation’s more than 300 active breast cancer beneficiaries, including advocates and renowned scientists and physicians representing major cancer centers, academic medical centers and universities, including the eight Avon Comprehensive Breast Cancer Care Centers of Excellence. Research presented at the Forum included:
- Research from the University of California, San Francisco and University of California, Berkeley on viruses with the capacity to cause cancer that have been found in breast cancer tissues;
- Research from the University of Colorado Denver and Fox Chase Cancer Center that showed immediately following pregnancy there is an increased risk of breast cancer for up to five years or even longer, but that women who undergo their first full-term pregnancy before the age of 30 have a greatly reduced risk of breast cancer after menopause
- Research from Emory University/Georgia Cancer Center for Excellence that showed African-American women experience higher breast cancer mortality than white women, which is partly attributable to their development of poor prognosis tumors, as well as differences in access to treatment.
Avon Breast Cancer Global Congress
In October 2011 at the Breast Cancer Global Congress, the Avon Foundation partnered with the U.S. Department of State to convene nearly 150 participants from 57 countries that are global leaders in breast cancer research, detection, treatment and advocacy to discuss the latest trends in breast cancer incidence and mortality, screening, prevention and treatment. The program facilitated the sharing of best practices so each attendee could improve their breast cancer outreach, screening and treatment services, and updated attendees on the latest clinical options so they provide accurate and current information about patient options to improve breast cancer outcomes. At the closing session of the 2011 Breast Cancer Global Congress, Avon Foundation Honorary Chair Reese Witherspoon announced the Avon Global Breast Cancer Clinical Scholars Program, which will fund scholarships for breast cancer specialists from outside the United States to receive advanced training at leading U.S. breast cancer centers beginning in 2012.
Reducing Breast Cancer-Related Lymphedema
The Avon Foundation for Women, in partnership with the Lymphatic Research Foundation and the National Lymphedema Network, convened a group of leading scientists, clinicians, and advocates in April 2011 to discuss recent advances in early detection and early intervention to treat upper extremity lymphedema. The expert panel produced several recommendations, shared in a white paper, "Recent Advances in Breast Cancer-Related Lymphedema Detection and Treatment." The paper examined new evidence that shows early detection and intervention hold the greatest promise for reducing breast cancer-related lymphedema, which can affect up to one-third of the 180,000 newly diagnosed breast cancer patients annually and 2.3 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.