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Avon Foundation Brings Together Breast Cancer Experts in Houston to Report Significant New Data

2008 Breast Cancer Forum Will Address Advancing Prevention and Access to


NEW YORK, Feb. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Underscoring its continued commitment to advancing access to care and finding a cure for breast cancer, the Avon Foundation will bring together nearly 275 breast cancer experts from all 50 states at the annual Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Forum, held February 4-6 in Houston, TX. This year's Forum, titled "Advancing Prevention and Access to Treatment" will report the latest research studies and examine programs that link breast cancer prevention, screening, and treatment for underserved and minority populations. The purpose of the annual Forum is to foster collaboration, share best practices and disseminate the most recent breast cancer clinical trials information that organizations can immediately apply and use to improve their patients' lives.

This year, the Avon Foundation, in coordination with the Sinai Urban Health Institute of Chicago, will release the results of a comprehensive epidemiological analysis of breast cancer mortality rates for African-American women and white women in Houston. Researcher and health care expert Steve Whitman, Ph.D. will detail the findings of his commissioned study, discuss lessons learned from his hometown of Chicago, present the implications of his findings and make recommendations for action. The disparity in mortality between black and white breast cancer patients in both Chicago and Houston is far above the national average.

In response to the findings, and to expedite solutions, Marc Hurlbert Ph.D., Avon Foundation Scientific Director, will announce the members of the city-wide task force in Houston, including task force Chair Lovell A. Jones, Ph.D., Director, Center for Research on Minority Health and Professor, Department of Health Disparities Research, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. The objectives of the task force will be to further define the problem and propose solutions in March 2009.

"The Avon Foundation Forum is unique in that it encompasses the spectrum of breast cancer specialists, from outreach workers, patient navigators and nurses, to physicians and renowned research scientists," noted Hurlbert. "It is uncommon for representatives of these diverse communities to come together and learn of research such as the black:white disparity findings. The Avon Foundation's goal is to foster collaboration and bring the latest results from the laboratory to those who are on the front lines of educating the public about breast cancer early detection and treatment options."

Other important presentations in the three-day Forum include Dr. Wendie Berg, Study Chair, American College of Radiology Imaging Network, who will present new results from ACRIN-6666 and discuss the use of ultrasound in addition to mammography for breast cancer screening, and Dr. Polly Newcomb, Program Head, Cancer Prevention, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Seattle) will present results of a new study examining how pregnancy alters future risk of breast cancer. Dr. Susan Love, President and Medical Director, Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation (Pacific Palisades, CA) and author of numerous books on breast cancer and menopause, will close the Forum with a presentation on ongoing research into novel new ways to detect breast cancer risk with the ultimate goal of preventing the disease altogether.

In addition to sponsors including GlaxoSmithKline Oncology, Novartis Oncology, and Genomic Health, funding for the Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Forum is provided in part from the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer series. The first-ever Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Houston is slated for April 12-13, 2008. Baylor College of Medicine will be serving as the Medical Sponsor for the inaugural Avon Walk in Houston. For more information on the event: (888) 541-WALK or visit

About the Avon Foundation

The Avon Foundation, an accredited 501(c)(3) public charity, was founded in 1955 to improve the lives of women and their families. The Avon Breast Cancer Crusade launched in 1992, and Avon now supports breast cancer programs in some 50 countries. While advances have been made, breast cancer remains the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women worldwide, and in the US there is a new diagnosis every three minutes. Through 2007, more than $525 million has been raised and awarded by the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade worldwide, and funding supports five areas: awareness and education; screening and diagnosis; access to treatment; support services; and scientific research, with a focus on the medically underserved. Beneficiaries range from leading cancer centers to community-based non-profit breast health programs, creating a powerful international network of research, medical, social service and community organizations focused on defeating breast cancer and ensuring access to care. For more information, including a free printable Breast Health Resource Guide in English and Spanish, visit

SOURCE Avon Foundation
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