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Philadelphia Cancer Patients to Benefit from Expansion of the American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program
Date:6/16/2009

Program Will Provide Personal Guide to Help Local Cancer Patients Better Navigate Their Cancer Experience Thanks to Support from AstraZeneca

PHILADELPHIA, June 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Cancer Society today launched its Patient Navigator Program at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson in Philadelphia, thanks to support received from AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP. This is the first site to launch in Pennsylvania as part of a strategic nationwide effort to significantly extend the reach of this innovative program and assist individual cancer patients in negotiating the health care system.

"A cancer diagnosis can be a life-changing experience for patients, their families and their caregivers," said Garry Pincock, CEO, American Cancer Society Pennsylvania Division. "Our patient navigator is able to provide support every step of the way, from explaining what to expect with chemotherapy, to making sure patients have transportation to and from appointments. Fighting cancer is a difficult, challenging journey; but with the help of trained American Cancer Society patient navigators, people don't have to go through it alone."

The American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program directly connects cancer patients to a cancer education and support specialist -- known as a "patient navigator" -- who, through one-on-one relationships, serves as a personal guide to patients and caregivers as they face the psychosocial, emotional and financial challenges that cancer can bring. The service is free and confidential, and places an emphasis on assisting the medically underserved.

AstraZeneca's support will enable the launch of a full-time American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson. According to American Cancer Society estimates, over 70 thousand people in Pennsylvania were diagnosed with cancer in 2008. The gift is part of a $10 million pledge by AstraZeneca to the Society to accelerate development of at least 50 new Patient Navigator Program sites over a five-year period in communities throughout the United States.

"With funding from AstraZeneca, the American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program will enable us to assist patients with personalized community resources and support," said Richard G. Pestell, M.D., Ph.D., director, Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson. "This program proactively reaches patients who are most in need of specialized services and support, providing the critical link to local resources that will improve their outcomes and quality of life."

As no cancer experience is the same, American Cancer Society patient navigators connect patients and caregivers with the most appropriate programs and services to help improve each individual's access to health care and quality of life. Whether it is getting patients and caregivers the information they need to make treatment decisions and better understand their disease, helping them deal with the day-to-day challenges of living with cancer, such as transportation and insurance issues, or connecting them with community resources such as support groups, American Cancer Society patient navigators can provide help throughout the disease continuum -- from the time of diagnosis, through treatment, into survivorship. Furthermore, navigators are able to increase treatment compliance and follow-up care.

"AstraZeneca is thrilled to be the first company to give nationwide, large-scale support to the American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program," said Lisa Schoenberg, Vice President of Growth Specialty Care, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP. "This new program site at Jefferson is a testament to our commitment to help provide cancer patients with personalized cancer care. We are proud to support the American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program in its mission to improve patient outcomes, not only in Philadelphia, but in communities throughout the country."

About the American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program

The American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program provides guidance for cancer patients, survivors and caregivers to help them navigate the cancer experience, with a focus on eliminating barriers to cancer care for the medically underserved. Formally launched in 2005, the Patient Navigator Program, in collaboration with community-based hospitals and cancer centers, links those affected by cancer to patient navigators who serve as personal guides for patients as they face the psychosocial, emotional and financial aspects of their unique cancer experience. Patient navigators receive national-level training through the American Cancer Society, in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute Patient Navigation Research Program, as well as localized training and opportunities for ongoing education.

There are currently more than 100 American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program sites across the U.S. The American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program is a component of the American Cancer Society Cancer Resource Network, a comprehensive offering of free resources to help patients, their families, and caregivers manage the impact of cancer on their lives by providing information, day-to-day help, and emotional support.

About The American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation's largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing more than $3.4 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us any time, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.

About AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca is engaged in the research, development, manufacturing and marketing of meaningful prescription medicines and in the supply of healthcare services. AstraZeneca is one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies with global healthcare sales of $ 31.6 billion and is a leader in gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory, oncology and infectious disease medicines. In the United States, AstraZeneca is a $13.5 billion dollar healthcare business.

For more information about AstraZeneca in the US or our AZ&Me Prescription Savings programs, please visit: www.astrazeneca-us.com.

About Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson

Kimmel Cancer Center (KCC) at Jefferson is one of the leading cancer research facilities in the country. A National Cancer Institute designated center, KCC is home to internationally renowned physicians and research scientists dedicated to all aspects of cancer. Cancer treatments at KCC utilize leading edge technology, along with world class therapeutics and more than 100 clinical trial options. KCC is the cornerstone of the Jefferson Cancer Network, a consortium of more than 20 institutions dedicated to improving cancer care and clinical research.


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SOURCE AstraZeneca
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