Pfizer and the Avon Foundation for Women announce $1 million grants program

PfizerDespite the high level of public attention devoted to breast cancer awareness, more than 60 percent of respondents in a new national survey commissioned by Pfizer Inc. say they know little to nothing about metastatic breast cancer.(1) The survey is the first of its kind to examine the general public's understanding of metastatic breast cancer, which affects up to 250,000 women and men in the U.S. today.(2) The survey results reveal widely held misperceptions about the causes, treatments and outcomes related to metastatic breast cancer, underscoring the need for better efforts to educate the public about the disease.(1) To help encourage these efforts and drive greater support for people living with metastatic breast cancer and their caregivers, Pfizer and the Avon Foundation for Women have partnered to establish the Avon-Pfizer Metastatic Breast Cancer Grants Program.

In total, the unprecedented partnership will award up to $1 million in grants to advocacy, academic and other not-for-profit organizations who serve the metastatic breast cancer community. The program will support initiatives to provide information and services that help people with metastatic breast cancer navigate the medical and emotional challenges associated with their disease.

"To date, the majority of public attention to breast cancer has centered on early disease, highlighting screening, early detection and survivorship, and leaving those living with metastatic breast cancer feeling isolated from the broader breast cancer movement," said Andy Schmeltz, regional president, North America, Pfizer Oncology. "By partnering with the Avon Foundation for Women on the Metastatic Breast Cancer Grants Program, we hope to move the needle on metastatic breast cancer education across a variety of audiences - patients, their loved ones, the broader breast cancer community, and the general public."

"The Avon Foundation is pleased to partner with Pfizer on this new grants program to harness our collective energy, improving the lives of those with metastatic disease," said Marc Hurlbert, executive director of the Avon Foundation for Women Breast Cancer Crusade. "This new Avon-Pfizer partnership will address the gaps identified in the Pfizer survey and launch recommendations and reports into action to further support for people living with the disease. Our hope is that one day, all patients with metastatic breast cancer can access the unique care and services they need."

Metastatic breast cancer occurs when cancer spreads beyond the breast to other parts of the body, including the bones, lungs, liver and brain.4Nearly three in 10 women who have had early breast cancer will eventually develop metastatic disease.(3) There are no curative therapies currently available, and continuous treatment is needed to control the spread of their disease and symptoms.(4) The median survival following a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis is three years.(5)

The Pfizer survey suggests that the lack of public attention to metastatic breast cancer has left people - including those with breast cancer and their loved ones - without adequate information and education to address the complexities of the disease.(1) Seventy-two percent of respondents believe that breast cancer in the advanced stages is curable if diagnosed early, suggesting both the pervasiveness of public awareness efforts focused on early detection and lack of knowledge about medical outcomes associated with the disease.(1) Another key misperception surfaced by the study is that people with breast cancer experience disease progression because they either did not take the right medicines or preventative measures (50%), signaling the potential stigmatization of people with metastatic disease.(1) These are among the misperceptions the Metastatic Breast Cancer Grants Program is designed to address.

"For decades, the full story of breast cancer, particularly facts about metastatic breast cancer, has not reached the public or many within the breast cancer community," said Shirley Mertz, president, Metastatic Breast Cancer Network (mbcn.org). "The Pfizer survey findings indeed reflect what metastatic patients across the country and around the world feel daily - alone, misunderstood and isolated. As mothers, daughters, wives and grandmothers, we welcome Pfizer's and Avon's commitments to encourage and advance focused metastatic research and supportive services for patients and their caregivers."

About The 2014 Avon-Pfizer Metastatic Breast Cancer Grants Program
To initiate the Metastatic Breast Cancer Grants Program, Pfizer and Avon will jointly issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for programs meeting the following goals:

  • Improve the lives of women and men living with metastatic breast cancer
  • Address gaps in services and information for the metastatic breast cancer community
  • Eliminate barriers to care, information and services for underserved metastatic breast cancer patients
  • Increase the public's understanding about metastatic breast cancer

Advocacy, academic and other not-for-profit organizations are invited to submit proposals. For more information on the Avon-Pfizer Metastatic Breast Cancer Grants Program, or to submit a proposal, please visit: www.avonfoundation.org.

About the Pfizer Survey
The Pfizer Survey assessed breast cancer knowledge in 2,090 men and women in the United States, aged 18 or older, who were representative of the U.S. population across various socioeconomic, geographic, educational and ethnic backgrounds. Pfizer commissioned Kelton to conduct the online survey and responses were collected in April 2014.(1) The survey results will be made available later this year.

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.

About the Avon Foundation for Women
The Avon Foundation for Women, the world's largest corporate-affiliated philanthropy focused on issues that matter most to women, was founded in 1955 to improve the lives of women. 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. The Avon Breast Cancer Crusade 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, and through events such as the U.S. Avon Walk for Breast Cancer series, which is the Avon Foundation's largest fund-raising event.

1. Breast Cancer Survey, sponsored by Pfizer Oncology. April 2014.
2. AdvancedBC.org. Silent voices: women with advanced (metastatic) breast cancer share their needs and preferences for information, support and practical service. Available at: http://www.advancedbc.org/node/26. Accessed on May 27, 2014
3. O'Shaughnessy J. Extending survival with chemotherapy in metastatic breast cancer. The Oncologist. 2005;10:20-29. http://theoncologist.alphamedpress.org/content/10/suppl_3/20.long. Accessed May 15, 2014.
4. American Cancer Society. Breast cancer: what is cancer? www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003090-pdf.pdf. Accessed May 15, 2014.
5. Metastatic Breast Cancer Network. Most Common Statistics Cited for MBC. http://mbcn.org/education/category/most-commonly-used-statistics-for-mbc. Accessed on May 19, 2014

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