Mays Cancer Center receives life-saving gift from American Heart Association to support cancer patients


Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center, has partnered with the American Heart Association to support patients with breast cancer undergoing treatment. The American Heart Association has contributed a $2,000 grant for hypertension and food insecurity clinical programs, 75 blood pressure monitors, and 100 $25 Healthy Rewards Coupons for boxes of fresh produce to be delivered to patients’ homes.

This initiative will give cancer patients an opportunity to regularly monitor their blood pressure at home and to assist in purchasing nutritious food while receiving care.

“We are grateful for the relationship we have with the American Heart Association and their support for the Mays Cancer Center,” said Ramon S. Cancino, MD, MBA, MS, FAAFP, executive director of the UT Health Primary Care Center and co-chair of the Mays Cancer Center and UT Health San Antonio Joint Cancer Prevention and Screening Committee. “Their heartfelt gift to our patients will make a significant difference in reducing the burden of cancer while managing their overall health, including the burden of social determinants of health.”

The program stems from a collaboration between The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and the American Heart Association. It is an opportunity to recognize the need to address overall health and nutrition of breast cancer patients, and the challenges they may face during their care.

Certain anticancer drugs and therapies, like chemotherapy, radiation and hormone therapy, can impact one’s cardiovascular health. Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a common side effect. Patients who regularly monitor their blood pressure can detect issues promptly and provide this information to their providers.

“The work being done at the Mays Cancer Center is nothing short of inspiring, and we are honored to contribute to such a meaningful cause,” said Theresa Spies, executive director of American Heart Association San Antonio. “At the American Heart Association, we believe in the power of community and the importance of equitable access to health resources. Our partnership to provide blood pressure monitors, healthy rewards coupons, and financial aid underscores our commitment to supporting breast cancer patients in their journey towards better health. We are proud to stand with our community in this vital effort.”

To mitigate food insecurity, breast cancer patients who identify as lacking adequate quality or sufficient food, will be given Healthy Rewards Coupons from FoodRx, a program supported by the American Heart Association and local partner River City Produce. Access to nutritious food will help patients maintain their energy and boost their immune system while undergoing treatment.

“Food insecurity continues to be an underrecognized risk factor for patients with cancer,” says Cynthia Cantu, DO, FACP, medical director of the Medical Management Program at Mays Cancer Center. “This gift will help a lot of patients and potentially positively impact their cancer outcomes.”

With each $25-coupon, patients will be able to pick up a 15-pound box of fresh fruits and vegetables at any Mercado por tu Corazon Produce Market, or have the box delivered to their home.

With nearly a century of lifesaving work, the American Heart Association has grown into the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. A shared focus on cardiovascular health unites the more than 35 million volunteers and supporters to the more than 2,900 employees. To learn more about the organization, visit or call 210-810-3100.

The Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center, offers specialized programs for a broad range of cancer diagnoses and provides exceptional cancer care close to home. To learn more about programs at the Mays Cancer Center, visit or call 210-450-1000.

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