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 has been launched.

The Love/Avon Army of Women – whose celebrity ambassadors include Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross, Daisy Fuentes, Erin Daniels, Leisha Hailey, Danica Patrick, Suze Orman, and Olympic figure skating champions Emily and Sarah Hughes – has been set up by the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation and the Avon Foundation to serve as an online resource providing researchers much-needed and unprecedented 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 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.”

More information can be found at www.armyofwomen.org.

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