CVS Foundation Awards Grant to Hollings Cancer Center to Help Cancer Patients Quit Smoking

Contact: Heather Woolwine

April 24, 2017

CHARLESTON, SC – The MUSC Hollings Cancer Center (HCC) has received a $100,000 grant from the CVS Health Foundation to address smoking cessation for oncology patients in the greater Charleston area. The grant will help serve unfunded or medically underserved cancer patients by providing tobacco treatment medications, cessation support, and outreach services to those unable to travel to HCC for repeated in-person visits.

“The commitment from the CVS Health Foundation to promote tobacco cessation for our cancer patients is an extremely positive move that will improve their cancer treatment outcomes,” said Graham Warren, M.D., Ph.D., a board-certified radiation oncologist who helped lead the development of the Tobacco Treatment Program at HCC and MUSC. “The 2014 Surgeon General’s Report clearly demonstrates that continued smoking by cancer patients decreases survival and is associated with increased cancer treatment toxicity. Quitting smoking is the best method to prevent these adverse effects.”

MUSC Hollings Cancer Center is one of eight cancer centers across the country to receive this grant through a partnership between the CVS Health Foundation and the National Cancer Institute. The new program will give nearly $1 million in financial support to build new smoking cessation programs or expand existing ones across the country, enabling each cancer institute to reach more at-risk patient populations.

Nine years after a cancer diagnosis, nearly 10 percent of survivors still smoke cigarettes – and more than 80 percent of them smoke daily, according to the American Cancer Society. The 2014 study from American Cancer Society researchers say the findings underscore the tenacity of tobacco cravings and the need for better long-term help. 

"Addressing smoking among at-risk populations, including cancer patients, is a priority for us,” said Eileen Howard Boone, CVS Health Foundation president. “We’re proud to support the Hollings Cancer Center as they offer an innovative smoking cessation program and access to tobacco control experts to lead the improvement of cancer treatment outcomes for patients, and bring us one step closer to the first tobacco-free generation.”

The award is part of CVS Health’s Be The First initiative, a five-year, $50 million commitment to help people lead tobacco-free lives and in turn, deliver the nation’s first tobacco-free generation through anti-smoking education, tobacco-control advocacy, and healthy behavior programming. For more information, please visit Be The First

About the Hollings Cancer Center

The Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina is a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center and the largest academic-based cancer research program in South Carolina. The cancer center is comprised of more than 120 cancer scientists with a research funding portfolio of $44 million and a dedication to reducing the cancer burden in South Carolina. Hollings offers state-of-the-art diagnostic capabilities, therapies, and surgical techniques within multidisciplinary clinics that include surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, psychologists, and other specialists equipped for the full range of cancer care, including more than 200 clinical trials. For more information, please visit Hollings Cancer Center.

About the CVS Health Foundation

The CVS Health Foundation is a private charitable organization created by CVS Health that works to build healthier communities, enabling people of all ages to lead healthy, productive lives. The Foundation provides strategic investments to nonprofit partners throughout the U.S. who help increase community-based access to health care for underserved populations, create innovative approaches to chronic disease management and provide tobacco cessation and youth prevention programming. We also invest in scholarship programs that open the pathways to careers in pharmacy to support the academic aspirations of the best and brightest talent in the industry. Our philanthropy also extends to supporting our colleagues' spirit of volunteerism through Volunteer Challenge grants to nonprofits where they donate their time and fundraising efforts. To learn more about the CVS Health Foundation and its giving, visit Social Responsibility.

Media Contacts:
Joe Goode, CVS Health

About MUSC

Founded in 1824, the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) continues the tradition of excellence in education, research and patient care. MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and nearly 800 residents in six colleges and has more than 17,000 employees. As the state’s only integrated academic health sciences center and largest non-federal employer in Charleston, the university and its affiliates have collective annual budgets in excess of $3.2 billion, with an annual economic impact of nearly $4 billion and annual research funding in excess of $284 million.

As the clinical health system of the Medical University of South Carolina, MUSC Health is dedicated to delivering the highest quality patient care available, while training generations of competent, compassionate health care providers to serve the people of South Carolina and beyond. Comprising some 1,600 beds, more than 100 outreach sites, the MUSC College of Medicine, the physicians’ practice plan, and nearly 275 telehealth locations, MUSC Health owns and operates eight hospitals situated in Charleston, Chester, Florence, Lancaster and Marion counties. In 2019, for the fifth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report named MUSC Health the No. 1 hospital in South Carolina.