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ACS supports vaccination mandates for front-line health care workers

Far too many deaths could have been prevented by a COVID-19 vaccine.

As COVID-19 variants cause more sickness and death among those who are not vaccinated across the United States, the American Cancer Society is speaking out in support of vaccination mandates to protect health care providers and cancer patients and their families. Dr. Karen E. Knudsen, CEO of the American Cancer Society and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, issued the following statement:

“We support mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for all health care workers. This is urgent. The evidence clearly demonstrates that cancer patients are more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 and suffering from more severe symptoms and complications, including death.

“Mandatory vaccines for those in health care settings are both appropriate and necessary given the severity of the ongoing crisis and the increasing need for additional action. We are facing a sustained public health crisis that once again is causing COVID-19 and its variants to spread quickly and broadly. The virus is infecting larger and larger numbers of people and leading to far too many deaths that could be prevented with one of the many vaccines widely available nationwide.

“As a public health organization dedicated to improving the lives of cancer patients and their families, we are particularly concerned about the impact on cancer patients, who are at increased risk of complications from COVID-19. ACS is requiring vaccines for its staff and volunteers who interact with cancer patients and their caregivers at its Hope Lodge residential facilities and in its Road To Recovery patient transportation program. We encourage health systems and other public health organizations to implement similar guidelines as well.

“We also continue to encourage vaccination among everyone who is eligible, including cancer patients and caregivers in consultation with their health care providers. We must address vaccination confidence among those who are unvaccinated. We especially must ensure all people have equitable access to vaccinations and care by health care workers who have been vaccinated.”

  • Now open: Hope Lodge facility in Puerto Rico!

    ​Facility opened doors this week at 30%.

    As Dr. Knudsen shared on Q&A with Dr. K today, we are thrilled to announce that the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge in San Juan, Puerto Rico opened its doors to guests this week.

    The facility opened on Tuesday, July 13, with one guest and a caregiver. The facility will initially accommodate about 30% of its total capacity, with capacity increasing as pandemic conditions in the area improve. We are accepting guests via our referral partners only for now.

    We continue to monitor pandemic conditions in Hope Lodge markets around the country and anticipate more facilities will open in the coming weeks and months. We’ll continue to update staff as more Hope Lodge facilities open their doors to guests, so keep an eye on ACS2Go for updates as they’re available.  

    For more on our reopening plans and criteria, check out this ACS2Go story from June, and take a look at our Hope Lodge key messages

    Reminder: Promoting Hope Lodge reopening in the media and on social

    As a reminder, we are taking a careful approach to sharing the good news about Hope Lodge reopening. We are not planning a national press release or Masterbrand social media posts. Instead, local staff are encouraged to work with their Hope Lodge colleagues to share the news in ways that are relevant to their Hope Lodge facility’s unique reopening circumstances. Supporting resources will be made available to communications and marketing staff in the coming weeks. 

     For questions about reopening, contact the Hope Lodge team: 

  • Hope is back in NYC!

    Hope Lodge NYC is set to welcome back guests in the coming weeks at 30% capacity.

    An intimate gathering of supporters gathered at our Hope Lodge facility in Manhattan on June 30 to celebrate its imminent re-opening.

    The Lodge, which has served 25,530 cancer patients and their caregivers from 50 states and 52 countries since opening in 2007, will be opening its doors to guests in the coming weeks at 30% capacity. 

    After being shuttered for 15 months because of the pandemic, supporters celebrated the reopening with a ribbon-cutting and light breakfast. 

    The event was made possible by the Greater New York City Board and several sponsors, Eisai, Acquis Consulting, Northwell Health, Quest Diagnostics, and TD Bank.

    One hundred and twenty thousand dollars in sponsorships were raised for room renovations and improvements, COVID-related reopening costs, and operating expenses.

    The Jerome L. Greene Family Center on 132 West 32nd St., one in a network of 30 Hope Lodges nationwide, has 60 rooms and has saved guests an estimated $69 million in lodging costs.

    Check out one example of the TV coverage: ABC7 New York.

    TOP PHOTO: Pictured, from left to right: Kris Kim, ACS COO; Chloe Lipman, VP, Development, in NYC; David Kaufman, Greater NYC Area Board Chair - Acquis Consulting Group; Andrew Bregenzer, Greater NYC Area Board Member - TD Bank; Lynn Jacobson, Hope Lodge volunteer; Lorraine Katt, senior manager Hope Lodge NYC; Teresa Cronin, Eisai; Sandy Diamond, Hope Lodge volunteer; and Valerie Burger, Northwell Health. 

    SMALLER PHOTO: David Kaufman, Greater NYC Area Board Chair.

  • ACS collaborates with Genentech and patient groups on lung screening campaign

    Campaign aims to double lung cancer screening rates.

    The American Cancer Society and the National Lung Cancer Roundtable (NLCRT) are teaming up with Genentech and lung cancer patient advocacy groups on a new “Screen Your Lungs” public awareness campaign to address the cultural stigma around smoking and encourage people at risk for lung cancer to get screened.

    Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer related mortality. Despite evidence that early detection can improve outcomes, lung cancer screening rates among people considered at risk for lung cancer – people ages 50-80 with a > 20 pack years smoking history – are below 10%.

    The campaign launches today with a new video PSA and website, The PSA seeks to motivate people at risk for lung cancer to get their lungs screened by transporting them back to a time when smoking was often part of everyday life. The creative intentionally avoids judgement about individuals’ smoking history.

    The initiative is a first of its kind joint effort between ACS, the NLCRT, Genentech, the American Lung Association, GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer, and LUNGevity Foundation. 

    For more information about the campaign, connect with Jennifer Lombardo. And for information on the NLCRT, contact Lauren Rosenthal

  • ACS Board member speaking at Essence Festival on July 4

    Session begins at 11:01 a.m. ET on Sunday, July 4.

    Here’s something cool you should know about: Robert Winn, MD, ACS Board member and director of VCU Massey Cancer Center in Richmond, VA, is speaking at the virtual Essence Festival of Culture this weekend. The session is scheduled for July 4 at 11:01 a.m. ET. (And yes, you read that right – it starts at 11:01.)

    It’s free to join. Click here to register.

    The topic will be “Beating The Odds Through Early Screening, Therapies & Lifestyle Changes.” It’ll be moderated by beatboxing pioneer and hip-hop legend Doug E. Fresh. In addition to Dr. Winn, panelists include:

    • Edith Mitchell, MD, clinical professor of medicine and medical oncology at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University and associate director for diversity programs, and director of the Center to Eliminate Cancer Disparities for Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson
    • Kimberly Alexander, patient and caregiver advocate and CEO of Level Health Agency

    The panel is part of the Essence Festival’s Wellness House track, which offers participants a curated collection of self-care resources and sessions designed to help viewers prioritize their nutrition, health, spirit, relationships, and more. The panel is sponsored by Bristol Myers Squibb, an ACS partner. 

    The Essence Festival of Culture is hosted by Essence, the only 100% Black-owned media, technology, and commerce company at scale dedicated to Black women and communities. Last year, the festival shifted its usual multi-day celebration of culture and equity to an online format, which continues this year. It features daytime panel sessions and evening concerts. Click here to find out more.

  • To immunity and beyond! HPV Vaccination Roundtable hosts virtual annual meeting

    Replays now available.

    On June 9-10, the HPV Vaccination Roundtable convened members for the group’s annual meeting with one goal: to get adolescent HPV vaccination back on track. 

    The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a decline in vaccination rates as parents canceled pediatrician visits to avoid being exposed to the virus. As a result, the CDC estimates that HPV vaccinations are down by more than 20% in the public sector alone – or 1 million doses – compared to 2019. 

    Even before the pandemic, the HPV Roundtable was focused on increasing HPV vaccination rates. Now, their work is more important than ever. 

    The two-day meeting used the imagery of the NASA space program to inspire attendees to reach new heights of adolescent vaccination. Speakers explored the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on HPV vaccination and implications for progress toward Healthy People 2030 goals, charted a path toward health equity in HPV vaccination among diverse communities, discussed the impact of other key determinants on adolescent vaccination rates, and featured experts who shared their experiences overcoming challenges to increasing adolescent vaccination. 

    Nearly 500 people from around the U.S. tuned in the first day, with the second day of meetings drawing about 400 attendees. Meeting replays, the agenda, and speaker bios are available here, and recordings of individual presentations are available on the HPV Roundtable YouTube channel

    Contact Jennifer Sienko with questions about the meeting or the HPV Roundtable’s work.

  • Patient groups praise Supreme Court ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act

    Dismissal of the ACA challenge leaves in place protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

    The nation’s leading patient advocacy groups are praising the U.S. Supreme Court ruling today upholding the health care law known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

    The Court ruled the plaintiff states and taxpayers did not have standing to bring the suit. The justices determined that without a financial penalty, the individual mandate does not result in the type of concrete injury required to bring a lawsuit. The dismissal leaves in place protections for people with pre-existing conditions and minimum insurance coverage standards.

    Following is a joint statement from the groups, which include the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, along with more than a dozen others. The groups representing millions of patients with serious illnesses filed a joint amicus brief in support of upholding the law: 

    “This ruling is a victory for people with serious illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung disease, diabetes, neurological conditions, mental illness, and anyone suffering long-term effects from COVID-19. These patients and millions more rely on the law’s critical patient protections to obtain more affordable, comprehensive health coverage.

    “This decision ensures that essential patient protections will remain in place, including those prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage or charging more for coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, requiring health plans to offer essential benefits needed to prevent and treat serious conditions and eliminating arbitrary dollar limits on coverage. Federal tax credits that make health insurance affordable for millions of Americans will continue. The 39 states that depend on federal funding to help provide critical Medicaid coverage to low-income adults will also have funds to continue to offer increased access to that safety-net coverage.

    “Millions of Americans benefit from these fundamental protections. Today’s ruling leaves in place the health care law’s critical access to quality health coverage for more Americans. "

    “On behalf of the millions of patients our organizations represent, we stand ready to assist lawmakers in efforts to strengthen the law and ensure all patients can access the quality care they need.” 

    The decision is a meaningful victory in a years-long effort to defend the protections provided by the health care law on which so many Americans depend. ACS CAN has played a leading role within the patient advocacy community at every step of this legal challenge since early 2018, leveraging expertise through our Judicial Advocacy Initiative to ensure that the cancer voice was strongly represented. 

    Most recently, in May 2020, ACS CAN led 19 patient groups representing millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions to file an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief with the Supreme Court in support of upholding the law, citing ACS research showing the scientific link between health insurance coverage and medical outcomes.  

    "Access to care is a core piece of ACS’s lifesaving mission. ACS CAN will continue to provide influential leadership to the patient community while advocating for stronger patient protections," said Lisa Lacasse, ACS CAN president. "Our work is not yet done. We stand ready to partner with elected officials to strengthen the law and expand access to quality health coverage more equitably."

  • ACS National Consortium hosts first Issue Hub

    ​300 attendees learn how to boost cancer screening rates.

    As part of our comprehensive effort to increase cancer screening rates, we launched a national consortium this spring to engage a diverse and influential group of leaders. 

    On June 1, the consortium welcomed over 300 attendees to participate on our inaugural Issue Hub titled “Accelerating What We Know Works in Cancer Screening and Care.” National Consortium Issue Hubs are facilitated panel discussions with renowned subject matter experts who are challenged to identify, deliberate, and build consensus around the most pressing issues in the recovery and improvement of cancer screening and care nationwide. 

    This was the first of three planned Issue Hubs this year.

    This session explored key areas of national alignment in the implementation of evidence-based and emerging cancer screening activities. Moreover, the information gathered during this Issue Hub is critical to the future conversations and decision-making of the National Consortium. 

    The panel for this Issue Hub reflected the level of thought-leaders and influential voices we hope to continue gathering around our virtual table. Panelists included:        

    • Keysha Brooks-Coley, MA – vice president, Federal Advocacy and Strategic Alliances, ACS CAN
    • Timothy Mullet, MD, FACS – chair, Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons
    • Lisa Richardson, MD, MPH – director, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC
    • Robert Smith, PhD – senior vice president, Cancer Screening, ACS
    • John Williams, MD, FACS – chair, President’s Cancer Panel
    • Discussion Lead: Rich Wender, MD –  chair, Family Medicine and Community Health University of Pennsylvania; chair, National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable

    Throughout the 90-minute session, panelists shared their best thinking on:

    • The factors, big and small, that prevent us from seeing the outcomes we want to see in cancer screening and care.
    • How to accelerate adoption of proven cancer screening and care activities to reach our desired outcomes.
    • The innovations or opportunities necessitated by the pandemic that we could leverage to expand our capacity in cancer screening and care.

    Attendees were invited to engage via virtual meeting tools, including live polling and idea boards. 

    The National Consortium’s next Issue Hubs are tentatively scheduled for August and November. Panelists will rotate so that stakeholders around the country can listen to, learn from, and ideate with a variety of public health leaders, researchers, clinicians, and other thought leaders.  

    Early survey results indicate an appetite for participation on these events: 

    • 97% thought the overall session was excellent or good
    • 99% would like to attend another Issue Hub
    • 97% would like to stay connected with the National Consortium efforts
    • 94% would recommend attending an Issue Hub to a colleague 
    • 92% learned something new and 91% learned something they would consider valuable

    National Consortium members will reconvene on June 17 in a virtual summit to further consider the discussion of our first Issue Hub and look to provide actionable recommendations which are necessary to not just accelerate our recovery from the pandemic, but also accelerate our resilience and overall improvement in providing quality cancer screening and care for all. 

    A recording of the June Issue Hub is available here. A summary report of the Issue Hub will be made available by June 18. For questions about the consortium, contact Sarah Shafir or Caleb Level. View a list of the consortium members.

    About ACS’s National Consortium

    ACS and ACS CAN have organized mission priorities and program work to effectively respond to consequences from the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer screening and care. The National Consortium, which focuses on accelerating, strengthening, and mobilizing, is one component of this initiative. It is an issue-focused, time-bound partnership that is dedicated to the acceleration of a national response to the COVID-19 pandemic in relation to its detrimental impact on our collective progress in cancer screening and care across the U.S. Our overall return to screening effort is supported by Genentech, Pfizer, Merck, and the National Football League. 

  • National Cancer Survivors Day is June 6

    Masterbrand assets coming soon; Relay assets available now.

    On Sunday, June 6, the American Cancer Society will join people in communities across the country to celebrate survivors as part of National Cancer Survivors Day. 

    There are about 16.9 million people with a history of cancer in the U.S., most of whom were diagnosed more than five years ago. The American Cancer celebrates them every day of the year, and is proud to offer them support and guidance as they navigate the ongoing challenges of cancer survivorship. For more on cancer survivorship, including information on living well during treatment and guidance for being healthy after treatment, visit

    National Cancer Survivors Day on social

    Our ACS Masterbrand social channels will post about National Cancer Survivors Day and share survivor stories the week of June 1, and ask supporters to honor a survivor they care about by donating to ACS. 

    Staff and volunteers are encouraged to share and engage with our Masterbrand channels on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Social assets for local and regional use are coming soon. We’ll update this story with a link to the assets on Brand Toolkit when they’re available.

    Additionally, our Relay For Life channels will be celebrating National Cancer Survivors Day by asking supporters to honor a survivor in their lives by purchasing a luminaria. Access our Relay Cancer Survivors Day Local Toolkit here for the resources you need to share on your Relay channels.     

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