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Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 1:20 EDT

Love/Avon Army of Women Breast Cancer Research Initiative to Launch Today

October 1, 2008

NEW YORK, Oct. 1 /PRNewswire/ — The Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation and the Avon Foundation today launched the Love/Avon Army of Women, a groundbreaking initiative that will partner women with breast cancer researchers to find the key to what causes breast cancer and take science beyond a cure to prevention. Women have taken personal action to raise millions of dollars by walking, running, and donating to the fight against breast cancer. These dollars have helped advance breast cancer treatment and move us closer to a cure. But there is still no prevention. Now the Love/Avon Army of Women offers a singular new opportunity — a simple but revolutionary call to action for one million healthy women of all ages and ethnicities to join the “Army” and be available to take part in the research that will help scientists understand the causes of breast cancer–and how to end it once and for all.

Current breast cancer research is concentrated primarily on improving imaging devices that can detect tumors early, developing drugs to kill cancer cells, and understanding why cancer cells become resistant to existing drugs. The Love/Avon Army of Women is the visionary dream of Dr. Susan Love to change the paradigm, and through this new program, the Avon Foundation and the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation will:

   --  Encourage researchers to expand their focus from treating cancer to       understanding what causes normal breast cells to become cancer cells.   --  Shift the focus from finding breast cancer early and treating it once       it occurs to preventing it in the first place.   --  Provide researchers with timely and easy access to women volunteers so       that they can shift their focus from the lab to real women   --  Empower women to take the next step in breast cancer research.     How Does it Work?  

The unique impact of the Love/Avon Army of Women is that it serves as an online resource providing researchers much-needed and unprecedented, timely access to healthy women — a critical component to prevention research. At the same time, the program offers women the opportunity to play a significant, direct role in helping eradicate breast cancer. Virtually all women not currently undergoing breast cancer treatment, including healthy women, breast cancer survivors, and women who are high risk for developing breast cancer, can enroll in the Love/Avon Army of Women online at http://www.armyofwomen.org/, providing basic information and indicating their willingness to consider participation in future research studies.

Scientists apply to the Army of Women for the opportunity to recruit volunteers for their research. Their studies undergo a thorough scientific, safety, and ethical review. An email about approved research is sent to the Army of Women “members” with information about the study, and those who are interested in participating and meet the criteria are instructed on how to contact the researcher or a designated Army of Women research center. Through this careful, but speedy process, the Army of Women provides researchers access to these volunteers . That process may involve completing a questionnaire, providing blood or saliva samples, or other relatively simple levels of participation on the part of the volunteer. All information is kept strictly confidential, and the women participate on a purely voluntary basis.

“Women have repeatedly demonstrated through fundraising and advocacy their personal dedication to ending this disease,” says Dr. Susan Love, who has been a leader in the breast cancer movement for more than 30 years. “This new initiative gives women the opportunity to take the next steps and be part of the research itself.” Dr. Love, a renowned breast cancer surgeon and respected expert in the field, is also the author of the best-selling Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book and president of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation.

“Avon is itself an ‘army of women,’ and we are committed to being the company and the foundation for women,” explained Andrea Jung, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Avon Products, Inc. who joined Dr. Love for the launch. “The Army of Women is a perfect marriage of our global leadership in the breast cancer cause and our grassroots access to women across the country.”

Who has joined the Army of Women?

“It’s easy to write a check for a worthy cause,” says Joan Young, Army of Women Volunteer. “Being a part of the Army requires a little more effort. Having done both, I know writing a check doesn’t feel as gratifying as being a part of breast cancer prevention research.” The campaign also includes several “celebrity ambassadors” including Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross, Daisy Fuentes (whose mother is a 15-year breast cancer survivor), Erin Daniels, Leisha Hailey, Danica Patrick, Suze Orman, and Olympic figure skating champions Emily and Sarah Hughes and their mother, breast cancer survivor Amy Hughes.

Researchers have partnered with the Army of Women because they believe it will advance their research goals. “Right now, I can only study breast cancer after it’s been detected,” says Thea Tlsty, PhD, a cancer researcher of the University of California, San Francisco. “This has allowed me to learn an incredible amount about what happens after cells acquire the genetic changes that lead them to become cancer cells. Getting tissue from women who have not yet been diagnosed with breast cancer will allow me to gain insight into what is causing these cancer cells to form in the first place.”

The National Breast Cancer Coalition and the American Association for Cancer Research have partnered with the Love/Avon Army of Women in support of the campaign and to further insure its success, providing support in reviewing and identifying research studies for consideration.

To find out more about the Love/Avon Army of Women or to sign on to be “one in a million,” women may visit http://www.armyofwomen.org/ .

The Avon Foundation

The Avon Foundation is a public charity founded in 1955, and today is a leader in the fight against breast cancer, awarding funds for breast cancer education and awareness; screening and diagnosis; access to treatment; support services; and medical research. Avon Products, Inc. is the largest corporate supporter of the breast cancer cause. Since the launch of the groundbreaking Avon Breast Cancer Crusade in 1992, Avon and the Avon Foundation have together mobilized hundreds of thousands of people and raised and awarded $585 million in more than 50 countries worldwide. For more information visit http://www.avonfoundation.org/.

Dr. Susan Love

Dr. Susan Love is known worldwide as one of the founding mothers of the breast cancer advocacy movement and sits on the Boards of the National Breast Cancer Coalition, and the Medical Advisory Board of Young Survival Coalition. She is a Clinical Professor of Surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and was appointed by President Clinton to the National Cancer Advisory Board. She lectures nationally and internationally on breast cancer, menopause and women’s health. She has been awarded six honorary doctorate degrees, as well as numerous honors and citations, and is the author of the bestselling Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book.

The Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation

The mission of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation is to eradicate breast cancer and improve the quality of women’s health through innovative research, education and advocacy. For more information: http://www.dslrf.org/.

The Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation; The Avon Foundation

CONTACT: Melissa Edwards of BNC, +1-310-854-4818, medwards@bncpr.com; orKara Silverman of Avon Foundation, +1-212-282-5666,kara.silverman@avonfoundation.org

Web Site: http://www.armyofwomen.org/http://www.avonfoundation.org/http://www.dslrf.org/