Moffitt Cancer Center Receives $50K Grant from Pfizer and the Avon Foundation for Women to Support Patients Living With Metastatic Breast Cancer

February 19, 2015

TAMPA, Fla. - Moffitt Cancer Center has been chosen as one of 23 grant recipients for the Avon-Pfizer Metastatic Breast Cancer Grants Program: Identify-Amplify-Unify. Moffitt’s Breast Program is the only institution in Florida that not only promotes targeted therapy, but also conducts the level of genomic translational research that holds promise for breast patients with advanced disease.

The program, run by Pfizer Inc. and the Avon Foundation for Women, granted a total of $1 million to 23 organizations nationwide to support and educate more than 5,000 metastatic breast cancer patients, their caregivers and their communities. The program was created in June 2014 to support advocacy, academic and other nonprofit organizations that provide information and services to help people with metastatic breast cancer navigate the medical and emotional challenges associated with their disease.

“To date, the majority of public attention on and funding for breast cancer has centered on early-stage disease – such as screening strategies and survivorship – not on late-stage diagnosis. As a result, the Avon-Pfizer Metastatic Grants Program was established to  address the gaps in support available to women and men living with metastatic disease, and to create  new services  for metastatic patients so they do not have to face this disease alone,” said Marc Hurlbert, executive director of the Avon Foundation for Women Breast Cancer Crusade. “Our hope is that one day, all patients can access the unique care and support services they need, regardless of their ability to pay.”

Metastatic breast cancer is the most advanced stage of breast cancer and occurs when cancer spreads beyond the breast to other parts of the body, including the bones, lungs, liver and brain. Nearly three in 10 women who have had early breast cancer will eventually develop metastatic disease. There are no cures currently available, and continuous treatment is needed to control the spread of the disease and its symptoms.   

“Pfizer is proud to join the Avon Foundation in supporting these 23 important projects and the organizations driving them,” said Maya Martinez-Davis, regional president, North America, Pfizer Oncology. “With the public breast cancer conversation focused primarily on early breast cancer, there is a need to foster greater understanding of metastatic disease and increased support for metastatic patients and their caregivers. Our hope is that the projects being funded by the Avon-Pfizer Metastatic Breast Cancer Grants Program will make a meaningful difference to the metastatic breast cancer community.” 

Moffitt’s breast program is dedicated to caring for the whole person, offering a wide range of support and wellness services addressing the social, emotional and financial consequences of the disease and treatment. Moffitt’s team members are committed to reaching as many patients with metastatic breast cancer as possible and addressing cancer disparities for vulnerable populations.

“The treatment of metastatic breast cancer requires intervention on many levels. Chemotherapy and targeted therapy is just a small part component in treating the breast cancer patient with advanced disease. Patients will need physical, emotional and strong social support. Often, the very fine balance of work, family, friends and life is disrupted by their diagnosis of advanced disease,” explained Roohi Ismail-Khan, M.D., medical oncologist specializing in breast cancer at Moffitt. “In addition to this, some patients may need to face the possibility of death and then end of life issues are brought into the forefront. For these strong women, it is imperative that they have the ability to reach services that can help them deal with all these various aspects of living with advanced disease. We are thankful to the Avon Foundation and Pfizer for helping us come closer to the goal of treating the whole patient.”

Moffitt will use the grant to implement a local metastatic breast cancer support group, a web-based group for remote patients, peer-to-peer support and mentoring, support for families affected by metastatic breast cancer and weekend retreats for patients in a wellness and healing setting, among other initiatives.

About Pfizer Oncology
Pfizer Oncology is committed to the discovery, investigation and development of innovative treatment options to improve the outlook for cancer patients worldwide. Our strong pipeline of biologics and small molecules, one of the most robust in the industry, is studied with precise focus on identifying and translating the best scientific breakthroughs into clinical application for patients across a wide range of cancers. By working collaboratively with academic institutions, individual researchers, cooperative research groups, governments, and licensing partners, Pfizer Oncology strives to cure or control cancer with breakthrough medicines, to deliver the right drug for each patient at the right time.  For more information, please visit www.Pfizer.com.

About the Avon Foundation for Women
The Avon Foundation for Women is the world’s largest corporate-affiliated philanthropy focused on issues that matter most to women.  Since its inception in 1955, the Avon Foundation has promoted or aided charitable, scientific, educational, and humanitarian activities, with a special emphasis on activities that improve the lives of women and their families. Through 2013, Avon global philanthropy, led by the Avon Foundation, has donated more than $957 million in more than 50 countries for causes most important to women. Today, Avon philanthropy focuses on funding breast cancer research and access to care through the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, and efforts to reduce domestic and gender violence through its Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program. Visit www.avonfoundation.org for more information.

About the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade
The Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, which launched in 1992 and is led by the U.S.-based Avon Foundation for Women, has placed Avon and the Avon Foundation for Women at the forefront of the fight against breast cancer; today, Avon is the leading corporate supporter of the cause globally. Avon breast cancer programs in more than 50 countries have donated more than $815 million for research and advancing access to care, regardless of a person’s ability to pay. Avon awards funding to beneficiaries ranging from leading cancer centers to community-based grassroots breast health programs to support breast cancer research and access to care. The Crusade has enabled more than 18 million women globally to receive free mammograms and breast cancer screenings, educated more than 145 million women about breast cancer, and funded promising research into the causes of breast cancer and ways to prevent the disease. The Avon Foundation raises funds for the Crusade through the sale of Avon “Pink Ribbon” products.

About Moffitt Cancer Center
Located in Tampa, Moffitt is one of only 41 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, a distinction that recognizes Moffitt’s excellence in research, its contributions to clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. Moffitt is the top-ranked cancer hospital in the Southeast and has been listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of the “Best Hospitals” for cancer care since 1999. With more than 4,500 employees, Moffitt has an economic impact in Florida of nearly $1.6 billion. For more information, visit MOFFITT.org, and follow the Moffitt momentum on FacebookTwitter and YouTube.

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