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Osvaldo Castillo
El Observador
Breast Cancer is a disease that has affected the lives of many women throughout the world. The good news is that research and treatment have come a long way and many lives have been saved.
Avon has been taking on breast cancer for 20 years and has launched the Global Breast Cancer Clinical Scholars program in an effort to improve global disparities in breast cancer. Twenty-five Global Scholars, comprised of breast cancer specialists hailing from 14 different countries, will begin intense training this month at Avon Foundation-funded breast cancer centers across the U.S.
“We launched the Avon Global Breast Cancer Clinical Scholars this year during the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade’s 20th Anniversary because, although much progress has been made in the fight against breast cancer in the 20 years since the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade launched, disparities in breast cancer outcomes around the globe still exist,” said Dr. Marc Hurlbert, executive director of the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade. The Avon Clinical Scholars program is Avon’s first global initiative aimed at reducing the unacceptably high mortality rates from breast cancer in far too many countries around the globe.  We believe those mortality rates can — and must — be reduced. The incidence of breast cancer is increasing far too rapidly in developing countries, and it is crucial to lower these countries’ historically high mortality rates.”
The competition to become one of the first Avon Global Scholars was intense. A panel of scientists from 14 institutions reviewed the nearly 100 applications from 22 different countries that were received and selected 41 semi-finalists for phone interviews.
After those interviews, the panel selected the first class of 25 Avon Global Breast Cancer Clinical Scholars—with medical interests and expertise that spans breast surgery and reconstruction, radiation and medical oncology, breast imaging, clinical trials and research, screening and prevention programs, and pathology,” Hurlbert said. “In addition to San Francisco General Hospital, 12 Avon- supported comprehensive breast cancer programs, located in some of our country’s finest medical centers, will host these scholars, from Washington DC to Los Angeles, Boston to Chicago, New York to Atlanta. The first Avon Global Scholars class includes breast cancer specialists from 14 different countries: Armenia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Croatia, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Philippines, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela and Zambia.”
Hurlbert added,” There has been remarkable progress made in breast cancer screening and care in the past 20 years. Advances in breast imaging – digital mammography, ultrasound and MRI – has enabled doctors to find tumors before a palpable lump can be felt”.
“Because of such advances, five-year survival rates after a breast cancer diagnosis have improved from an average of 70% in 1992 to greater than 85% today for those with access to care. For breast cancers caught early, five-year survival odds can now be greater than 95%,” Hurlbert said.


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