Member Spotlight

American Cancer Society

The mission of the American Cancer Society (ACS) is to save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer. ACS serves the public as well as cancer care providers, researchers, and other health professionals in the US and across the world. ACS is proud to have contributed to the work that has resulted in a twenty-nine percent drop in the overall cancer death rate in the United States. That drop equates to 2.9 million fewer cancer deaths between 1991 and 2017. Progress continues and is currently estimated at 500 fewer cancer deaths each day. Currently over 1008 research grants with an investment of $417 million are in effect at 180 institutions.

History of the American Cancer Society

ACS was founded in 1913 by ten doctors and five lay people in New York City. In 1946, philanthropist Mary Lasker and her colleagues helped to raise more than $4 million for the Society – $1 million dollars of which was used to establish and fund the Society’s groundbreaking research program. ACS advocacy later contributed to the passage of the National Cancer Act in 1971, which granted special funds and authority to expand the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and revolutionized the war on cancer. With the development of the NCI, ACS also had to adapt to a new role – that of filling in the gaps of the federal government’s focus in areas such as cancer prevention and education. Likewise, as National Institutes of Health funding for young investigators has diminished, the Society has allocated more research grants to that generation, helping promising young medical researchers enter the cancer field. Today, ACS is a global leader in the fight against cancer; working tirelessly to save lives by helping people stay well and get well, by finding cures, and by fighting back against the disease.

HPV prevention through vaccination

The American Cancer Society’s Mission: HPV Cancer Free is a public health initiative to eliminate vaccine preventable HPV cancers as a public health problem, starting with cervical cancer. ACS’s goal is to reach an annual vaccination rate of 80 percent of 13-year-olds in the United States by 2026. To do this they are:

  • Facilitating provider training and education.
  • Engaging critical stakeholders and partners to drive vaccination rate improvement.
  • Influencing stakeholders to use relevant data to drive planning and impact.
  • Leading and supporting HPV vaccination interventions with health systems.
  • Increasing parental knowledge about the vaccine through news, digital, and social media platforms and by mobilizing our ACS volunteer network and ACS CAN volunteers to share science-based information about the vaccine.

The Society is proud to have supported an increase in HPV vaccination rates since 2015, when increasing HPV vaccination rates became a focus for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and other organizations around Massachusetts. Until the COVID-19 pandemic, Massachusetts saw strong increases in HPV coverage. In 2019, coverage for boys and girls with one dose of the HPV vaccine increased to 87.9 percent, while coverage for boys and girls who completed the entire HPV vaccine series rose to 74.3 percent.

In Massachusetts, the Society is a partner organization supporting the Massachusetts HPV Coalition.  For the past 8 years, ACS has participated with the coalition in organizing and supporting an annual conference.  In 2020, the conference will be held virtually over two days on December 4, 2020 and December 11, 2020, from 1-4pm EST.  Please visit the 2020 HPV-Related Cancer Summit website for more information and to register.

Flu Vaccine

Another project the American Cancer Society has supported is FluFIT, an evidence-based program aimed at increasing colorectal cancer screening rates by pairing the annual flu shot with a stool-based colorectal cancer screening test (gFOBTs or FITs).

While successful program implementation requires advanced planning, it may be an innovative way to help ensure patients are up to date for cancer screening while the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts routine preventive care. More information is available at  cancer.org, nccrt.org or fluFIT.org

 

For more information about the work of the American Cancer Society in Massachusetts, please contact:

Korey Hoffman, MPH
Cancer Control Strategic Partnerships Manager
American Cancer Society, Inc | Northeast Region
3 Speen Street, Suite 250
Framingham, MA 01701
(774) 314-9046
korey.hofmann@cancer.org

For information about promoting HPV vaccination during the COVID-19 pandemic, please click HERE.

 

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