The Bruce Paltrow Oral Cancer Fund is a collaboration between the Paltrow family, represented by actress Blythe Danner (Paltrow) and her children, actress Gwyneth Paltrow, directror/producer Jake Paltrow, and the Oral Cancer Foundation. The foundation is honored to be associated with the family, as they lend their famous names to a worthy cause. Designed to be used with a focus on populations in the US where disparities in healthcare exist, the fund not only memorializes producer / director Bruce Paltrow who was lost to oral cancer in 2002, but continues his vision of helping others less privileged.
A great part of Bruce Paltrow's personal focus was on helping minorities and women get a foothold in a business that had by in large ignored them. For his many efforts he received The Diversity Award presented by the Directors' Guild the first year it was given. He was deeply honored by this award. After his treatments for his own oral cancer, he spent many hours helping new patients behind him on the path understand treatments, work around's for difficulties he had encountered, and offering moral support to them as they fought their battles. He was a humanitarian in the truest definition of that word. It is therefore fitting that the monies accrued for his fund be used in a manner that reflects the value system that was so much a part of this extraordinary man.
Minority and under served US populations bear a disproportionate incidence rate and poorer survival rates in relationship to oral cancers. In the foundation's work in the most distressed inner city neighborhoods and locations in rural America, offering free screening services and disease information to those who have limited or no access to medical care, have no insurance, etc. we find individuals that suffer twice the incidence rate of oral cancer, and twice the death rate. Monies from this fund will work to provide needed disease and risk factor information to these groups, through the dissemination of printed literature, information placed via public service ads in print media, the targeting of these groups in television public service announcements, engage in free public screening events to find the disease at early survivable stages, and other public service endeavors as they relate to reducing their burden from this disease.
At a time when many cancers are experiencing a reduction in incidence and death rates, oral cancers have increased 11% in 2007 alone. The timing and need for funding could not be more urgent. While donations to this fund are deposited in OCF accounts, the use of those funds reflects this mission uniquely.