Howard University Cancer Center Awarded Avon Breast Health Outreach Program Grant

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 24, 2011) – Howard University Cancer Center, in cooperation with the College of Medicine’s Department of Community and Family Medicine, has been  awarded a $50,000, one-year grant by the Avon Breast Health Outreach Program to increase awareness of the life-saving benefits of early detection of breast cancer.

Carla Williams, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine in the Howard University College of Medicine Department of Medicine and director of Community Outreach Core for the Cancer Center will oversee the program as the principal investigator.

“We are pleased that the Avon Foundation for Women has provided the funding to enable us to continue the breast cancer screening that the Cancer Center has been doing with Washington area,” Williams said.  “The grant will provide us with the capacity to reach more women who have been historically underserved, and who, studies show, particularly need these services.”

The program, Creating Healthy Attitudes to Reduce Malignancy (CHARM), will better educate over 1,000 Washington-area women, particularly District of Columbia women covered by the city’s public health insurance, on the importance of getting early screening for breast cancer, Williams said. 

The program will also refer uninsured and underinsured women to low-cost or free mammograms and clinical breast exams.  The goal of the program is empower women to personally take control of their wellness when it comes to breast cancer, Williams said.

“To put it simply, we want to educate, engage and empower these women,” Williams said.

The Cancer Center annually provides about 500 free and low cost mammograms to uninsured and underinsured women in the Washington area as well as providing the full range of surgical, radiation and other services to cure breast cancer.

While advances have been made in prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure, early detection still affords the best opportunity for successful treatment.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women in the United States, and the leading single cause of death overall in women between the ages of 40 and 55.  Nationwide, there is a new diagnosis every three minutes and a death from breast cancer every 14 minutes. While advances have been made in prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure, early detection still affords the best opportunity for successful treatment.

The effort by the Avon Foundation and the Cancer Center will address the disparity in breast cancer outcomes between African-American women and the population as a whole.  While African-American women are less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than their white counterparts, they are more likely to die from the disease.

For more information on CHARM at the Howard University Cancer Center, please contact Cherie Spencer at 202.865.5399 or at 

Since 1993, the Avon Foundation for Women has awarded more than 1,425 grants to community-based breast health programs across the United States.  These programs are dedicated to educating underserved women about breast cancer and linking them to early detection screening services. 

Avon philanthropy, which includes the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, focuses its funding on breast cancer research and access to care, efforts to reduce domestic and gender violence, and efforts to provide relief and recovery in times of major natural disasters and emergencies.

For more information about breast cancer, contact the American Cancer Society at 1-800-ACS-2345 or, or the National Cancer Institute at 1-800-4-CANCER or

To learn more about the Avon Foundation for Women, call 1-866-505-AVON or visit, where you can access free printable Breast Health Resource Guides in English and Spanish.  For information or to register or support the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer events, visit or call 1-888-540-WALK.

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