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Introducing American Cancer Society Vital Statistics

​Have you ever wanted to quote the number of cancer survivors in the U.S., the number of Relay For Life events we have, or perhaps the number of Hope Lodges we operate, but didn't because you were unsure of the number?

No doubt a fact or two has eluded all of us. But now, thanks to the work of many staff members, we have ONE document we can turn to for answers: American Cancer Society Vital Statistics.

This document is the authoritative source for frequently used ACS and cancer statistics for all staff. It will help ensure accuracy and consistency and help protect our reputation as a fact-based organization. Remember, one of our new core values is integrity: driven by truth, ethics, and fact of science.

Statistics help staff demonstrate our impact, and it's imperative that we get them right. No guessing or estimating!

Because this is a "living" document, meaning it will be updated regularly, it's important to bookmark the resource rather than print it out. 

A companion piece to Vital Statistics is the ACS Brand Strategy: Elevator Pitch and Proof Points, created to explain the A-B-C-D of attacking cancer from every angle.

  • A recap of our live colorectal cancer awareness event - watch the replay!

    Did you watch our March 8 Colorectal Cancer Screening Coast to Coast: Driving toward Prevention event, broadcast live from Smashbox Studios in Los Angeles? If not, a replay of this informative awareness-raising event emceed by Desiree Berenguer-Carton can be viewed on the Society's Facebook page. Make sure to like it and share it! You also can watch it on YouTube.

    The full show was shared 129 times on ACS Facebook page, including by partners with broad reach, such as Katie Couric, Stand Up to Cancer, National Alliance for Hispanic Health, the American College of Gastroenterology, Telemundo star Chiquibaby (who has 600,000 followers), and many others.

    We're now in 2018 – the year we aimed to get 80% of U.S. adults 50 and over screened for colorectal cancer. Did we make it? We actually don't know for sure because of a lag in the data. We do know that we reached 67.3% in 2016, with more than a 150 health systems, clinics, and localities actually reaching 80%, and hundreds more seeing substantial rate increases. That 67.3% figure is new data from CDC.

    Rich Wender, MD, our chief cancer control officer, said between 2014 and 2016, an additional 3 million people got screened, and that follows a three-year plateau reported by CDC, when screening rates did not budge. That is great news!

    As Rich said, "no skeptics allowed. We are doing this, we are making a difference, and screening rates are going up around the country." And, of course, we will continue to act with urgency through 2018 – and beyond. (For answers to questions you might have about what happens after 2018, read this.)

    The core message of the event was clear: colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in U.S. when men and women are combed, but it does not need to be! Getting screened and having precancerous polyps removed can prevent this cancer. And, there is a test for everyone. 80% by 2018 is not a colonoscopy campaign. There are simple take-home tests that people can use, if that's what they are most comfortable doing. The best test, we always say, is the one that gets done.

    Two other facts we learned on this program: 

    • There are now more than 1 million survivors of colorectal cancer in the U.S.
    • 1600 organizations have signed the 80% pledge, and they are not stopping their efforts after 2018 

    The event was a collaborative partnership among the American Cancer Society, the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, and Fight Colorectal Cancer, in partnership with the Mayo Clinic, Exact Sciences, UPS, and others.

    Here is a list of some of the guests interviewed on the show: 

    • Anjee Davis, president, Fight Colorectal Cancer
    • Country singer Craig Campbell, whose dad died from colon cancer at age 36. Craig performed a song he co-wrote with Rose Hausmann, who died in 2016 after a 12-year battle with stage IV colorectal cancer. It is called "Stronger Than That," and serves as an anthem for colorectal cancer survivors.
    • Lisa Richardson, MD, MPH, director of CDC's Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, who said the biggest challenge is getting people in their early 50's screening. Less than half of people between ages 50 and 55 have been screened, she said. 
    • Stephanie "Chiquibaby" Himonidis, host of Telemundo 52's Acceso Total program, which provides viewers with lots of health information.
    • Teri Griege, a stage IV colon cancer survivor who completed the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii while still undergoing chemotherapy. Screening is better than treatment, she said, adding: "Don't die of embarrassment."
    • Samuel Pace, MD, a longtime gastroenterologist in Tupelo, Mississippi and two-time colorectal cancer survivor. He is a 2018 80% by 2018 National Achievement Awards honoree in the Survivor/Physician Champion category. "The best medicine" for survivors, he said, is to become an advocate, and educate others on the importance of getting screened.
    • Robyn Sunday-Allen, CEO of the Oklahoma City Indian Clinic, this year's 80% by 2018 National Achievement Awards grand prize winner. The clinic serves 20,000 Native Americans and its colorectal cancer screening rate jumped from 14% in 2007 to 64% in 2016. Tactics included systematizing patient and provider reminders, improving tracking in the electronic health record, offering incentives for completing screening at health fairs, and providing navigation to patients in need of follow up care. Read more about all of the awardees here.
    • Thomas Lopez, who urged people not to do what he did – wait nine months to go to the doctor after finding blood in his stool. People in the Latino community often go to the doctor too late, he said. "I prayed to God every night to let me live long enough to see my son graduate from high school." 

    Shout outs from Luke Perry and Katie Couric

    Actor Luke Perry was busy filming Riverdale, the TV show he appears in, but called in on his smart phone.  Journalist Katie Couric, who underwent a colonoscopy on-air in March 2000, two years after her 42-year-old husband died of colon cancer, also sent her regrets for not being there in a pre-recorded video. She said this month she is taking a 50-year-old mystery date to his first colonoscopy. Look for that on social media!

    This event, which was national, is just one of many colorectal cancer awareness events going on across the U.S. Find other events around the country and submit your local events to be added to the map. 

    PHOTOS: Pictured in the top photo are all of ACS staff involved in the event, including staff from Global Headquarters and West Region. The smaller image shows some of the 150 audience members who filled the studio.

  • Tobacco Atlas: Big tobacco is targeting the world's most vulnerable to increase profits

    The sixth edition of The Tobacco Atlas and its companion website finds the tobacco industry is increasingly targeting vulnerable populations in emerging markets, such as Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, where people are not protected by strong tobacco control regulations. The report was released at the 17th World Congress on Tobacco OR Health in Cape Town, South Africa.

    The Atlas, co-authored by ACS and Vital Strategies, graphically details the scale of the tobacco epidemic around the globe. It shows where progress has been made in tobacco control, and describes the latest products and tactics being deployed by the tobacco industry to grow its profits and delay or derail tobacco control efforts. In response to an evolving tobacco control landscape, the Sixth Edition includes new chapters on regulating novel products, partnerships, tobacco industry tactics and countering the industry. 

    In 2016 alone, tobacco use caused more than 7.1 million deaths worldwide (5.1 million in men, 2.0 million in women). Most of these deaths were attributable to cigarette smoking, while 884,000 were related to secondhand smoke. The increase in tobacco-related disease and death has been outpaced by the increase in industry profits. The combined profits of the world's biggest tobacco companies exceeded $62.27 billion in 2015, the last year on record for all the major companies. This is equivalent to $9,730 for the death of each smoker, an increase of 39% since the last Atlas was published in 2015, when the figure stood at $7,000.  

    "Every death from tobacco is preventable, and every government has the power reduce the human and economic toll of the tobacco epidemic," said Jeffrey Drope, PhD, co-editor and author of The Atlas and our vice president, Economic and Health Policy Research. "It starts by resisting the influence of the industry and implementing proven tobacco control policies." (Jeffrey is pictured in the top image.)

    "Tobacco causes harm at every stage of its life cycle, from cultivation to disposal," said Dr. Neil Schluger, Vital Strategies' senior advisor for science and co-editor and author of The Atlas. "It is linked to an ever-increasing list of diseases, burdens health systems, and exacerbates poverty, especially when a breadwinner falls ill and dies from tobacco use. . . The only way to avert this harm is for all governments to vigorously implement the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and to enforce the proven strategies that reduce tobacco use."

    Tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke costs the global economy more than two trillion dollars every year – equivalent to almost 2% of the world's total economic output. Low- and middle-income countries represent more than 80% of tobacco users and tobacco-related deaths, placing an increased share of tobacco-related costs on those who can least afford it. A growing proportion of that burden will fall on countries across Africa in the future, if governments do not implement tobacco control policies now.

    Africa is at a tipping point

    The Sixth Edition of The Tobacco Atlas reveals that the tobacco industry deliberately targets countries that lack tobacco control laws and exploits governments, farmers, and vulnerable populations across Africa. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, consumption increased by 52% between 1980 and 2016 (from 164 billion to 250 billion sticks). This is being driven by population growth and aggressive tobacco marketing in countries like Lesotho, where prevalence is estimated to have increased from 15% in 2004 to 54% in 2015. Economic growth has increased consumers' ability to afford tobacco products and there is a lack of tobacco control interventions to deter tobacco use. Furthermore, in countries like Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Senegal, smoking is now more common among youth than adults – potentially increasing the future health and economic burden of tobacco in these countries. 

    Yet Africa has seen real successes recently. Ghana and Madagascar have introduced comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship. Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Kenya, and Madagascar have implemented graphic warnings on cigarettes, an important intervention in countries with multiple dialects and for citizens in those countries who have low levels of literacy. South Africa has implemented consecutive tobacco tax increases to deter consumption, and Kenya has implemented a highly effective track-and-trace system to track and reduce illicit trade. These countries are setting an example to others across the world.

    Other examples of effective tobacco control policies

    In spite of the tobacco industry's efforts to impede progress, global cigarette consumption and tobacco use prevalence have declined recently thanks to an overall increase in the adoption of proven and innovative tobacco control measures. Tobacco taxes alone could deliver a 30% relative reduction in smoking prevalence by 2025. This would save 38 million lives and $16.9 trillion, just from former smokers becoming healthier.

    • In 2013, the Philippines implemented one of the largest tobacco tax increases in a low- and middle-income country, leading more than 1 million smokers to quit.
    • Turkey's comprehensive tobacco control strategy reduced smoking prevalence from 39.3% in 2000 to 25.9% in 2015.
    • Analysis by Australia's government found that plain packaging alone resulted in 108,228 fewer smokers between December 2012 and September 2015.
    • Brazil has banned all tobacco additives such as flavors used to attract children. WHO predicts that there will be 3 million fewer smokers in Brazil between 2015 and 2025.


    Tobacco Atlas - Tobacco Use in Africa

    Tobacco Atlas - Tobacco Industry's Actions 

    Tobacco Atlas - Successful Policies

    Photos courtesy of Photo©Marcus Rose/The Union

  • Hope Lodge news: $1M gift in Cleveland and topping off ceremony in Jackson, MS

    We have two bits of good news to report regarding our Hope Lodge program:

    • In Cleveland, University Hospitals has pledged a $1 million gift to support the renovation and expansion of the Joseph S. and Jeannette M. Silber Hope Lodge in the heart of Cleveland's University Circle, and
    • On Feb. 28, ACS and Yates Construction held a "topping off" ceremony for The Gertrude C. Ford Hope Lodge in Jackson, MS. A construction-site tradition, the "topping off” celebrates the placement of the structure’s last beam during construction. 

    The Hope Lodge in Cleveland, located near specialized cancer care at world-class hospitals like University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center, almost always has a waiting list. With the expansion, the number of rooms will increase from 31 to 41.

    "We are happy that we are able to provide this support for the American Cancer Society to help more families. We have enjoyed a wonderful relationship with them over the years, and are proud that we can work together for the benefit of patients," said Thomas F. Zenty III, University Hospitals chief executive officer.

    The American Cancer Society's goal is to raise $6.3 million to fund the expansion and renovation, as well as support the operation of the Lodge. The plan is to break ground when we reach $4.4 million.

    In Jackson, MS, the final beam was displayed on the road adjacent to the construction site during the days leading up to the ceremony, and residents who have been touched by cancer were encouraged to sign the beam.

    The 32-room facility is located adjacent to the main campus of the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Its capital campaign is rapidly approaching its $10.9 million goal, but the American Cancer Society still needs help to push it to the finish line. We are hoping to open the facility in the spring of 2019. For more information, visit

    Here is some TV coverage of the topping off ceremony:

    WAPT 6 p.m. news 


  • $10M grant to help fund new Hope Lodge facility matched by Houston supporters

    ​Houston-based foundations and organizations, along with donors from across the nation, have matched a $10 million challenge grant offered by the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation to help build an American Cancer Society Hope Lodge facility and to fund its operating endowment.

    Having access to free lodging is an essential part of beating cancer for patients who must travel to Houston to seek care. When you combine mounting medical bills and interrupted employment with the expense of hotels, meals, and local transportation, it can become overwhelming. Sadly, many patients who could be treated successfully either put off treatment until it is too late, or forego treatment altogether because they have no place to stay.

    When the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation American Cancer Society Hope Lodge opens in Houston, the $30 million facility will be the largest in the U.S, with 64 patient suites. At full occupancy, it will provide 23,000 nights of free, temporary lodging for cancer patients and their caregivers each year.

    "Reaching our goal of opening this American Cancer Society Hope Lodge is closer to becoming a reality, thanks to the generosity of partners and individuals in Houston and around the country. They have stepped up to help the thousands of patients who travel to the Texas Medical Center for life-saving cancer treatments each year," said Gary Reedy, ACS CEO. "Without the continued contributions of community and business leaders, we are not able to provide a home away from home to cancer patients who shouldn't have to worry about where they stay while undergoing treatment."

    Houston Texans owners and cancer survivors Bob McNair and his wife Janice chair the capital campaign. A donation from The Robert and Janice McNair Foundation, as well as support from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, contributed to reaching this fundraising milestone. Other top donors include the Huffington Foundation, Phillips 66, CEOs Against Cancer – Gulf Coast Chapter, the Hope Lodge Houston Volunteer Leadership Council and the Women of VICTORY.

    The American Cancer Society operates 32 Hope Lodge facilities in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Each Hope Lodge offers cancer patients and their caregivers a free place to stay when their treatment is far away from home. Since 1984, the American Cancer Society has provided more than 5 million nights of lodging to patients across the country.

    The Houston Hope Lodge campaign is only $4 million away from raising the total funds needed to support the construction and operating costs. For more information on the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation American Cancer Society Hope Lodge and to make a gift, please visit

  • THIS THURSDAY: ACS co-hosting live broadcast from LA to raise awareness about colorectal cancer screening

    The American Cancer Society, Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC), and the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT) will kick off Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month on Thursday, March 8, at Smashbox Studios in Los Angeles with a live event featuring survivors, partners, experts, and celebrity guests, including country singer Craig Campbell and reporter and host of Accesso Total on Telemundo-52 Stephanie Himonidis, also known as Chiquibaby. Unfortunately, actor Luke Perry had to cancel his appearance.

    Desiree Berenguer Carton, our Society Talk host, will be the emcee for the entire event. Guests will share their personal connections to the disease. As you may remember from our Countdown to 2018 event last March at the Hard Rock Café in Manhattan, Campbell lost his dad to colon cancer when he was 11 years old, and his father was just 36.

    The theme of this event is Colorectal Cancer Screening Coast to Coast: Driving to Prevention, as it is part of a coast-to-coast effort to increase the use of life saving screening tests, and support the national goal of regularly screening 80% of adults age 50 or older for colorectal cancer. 

    It will be broadcast live on from 4 - 4:20 p.m. ET, and the panel discussions will be broadcast on from 4:30 – 5:00 p.m. ET.

    "I am honored to stand shoulder to shoulder with our partners to focus our energy on the common message that colorectal cancer screening saves lives," said Rich Wender, MD, our chief cancer control officer, and chair of the NCCRT. 

    Watch parties are being held across the U.S. Click here and scroll down to the map to see where they are.

    Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. when men and women are combined. About 140,250 people will be diagnosed with the disease in 2018, and more than 50,000 people will die from it.

    Men and women at average risk for colorectal cancer should begin screening at the age of 50. Screening can prevent colorectal cancer through the detection and removal of precancerous growths, as well as detect cancer at an early stage, when treatment is usually less extensive and more successful. 

    About 1 in 3 adults age 50 or older, nearly 38 million people, are not getting the recommended testing.

  • ​National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable recognizes leaders in colorectal cancer screening efforts with 80% by 2018 National Achievement Award

    The National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT), an organization co-founded by the American Cancer Society and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is recognizing seven honorees with the 80% by 2018 National Achievement Award, a national honor recognizing leadership in the ongoing effort to increase colorectal cancer screening rates across the U.S.

    Award winners will be recognized during the Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month kickoff event on March 8 in Los Angeles. The event will feature celebrities, survivors, and medical experts. The event will be broadcast live on from 4 - 4:20 p.m. ET, and the panel discussions will broadcast on from 4:30 – 5:00 p.m. ET.

    The grand prize winner receives $3,000, and each honoree receives $1,000 to support their continued efforts in the fight against colorectal cancer. Honorees also have the option to designate a non-profit of their choice as the recipient of the award funds.

    “We are honored to recognize these extraordinary awardees for their dedication and efforts to continue to increase awareness that colorectal cancer screening saves lives, but only if people get tested,” said Richard Wender, MD, our chief cancer control officer.

    Grand Prize Winner: Oklahoma City Indian Clinic
    Category: Community Health Center

    Oklahoma City Indian Clinic (OKCIC), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit clinic providing services to nearly 20,000 American Indians in central Oklahoma from over 200 federally recognized tribes every year, has implemented many practice changes to increase colorectal cancer screening rates. These include forming a quality improvement committee that meets quarterly to analyze and review evidence-based practices and current initiatives, systematizing patient and provider reminders, improving tracking in the electronic health record, offering incentives for completing screening at health fairs, and providing navigation to patients in need of follow up care. OKCIC also implemented a multidisciplinary approach to provide patients in need of screening with a fecal immunochemical test (FIT) which included public health, pharmacy, and registration staff, and improved access to screenings by offering a Flu-FIT clinic in the fall. As a result, OKCIC has increased colorectal cancer screening rates among age-eligible patients from 14% in 2007 to 64% in 2016, while patient volume increased by 27%.

    Honoree: AltaMed Health Services
    Category: Community Health Center

    As the nation’s largest federally qualified health center, AltaMed Health Services provides care to nearly 300,000 Southern California residents at 35 accredited sites in largely Latino, multi-ethnic and underserved communities. Screening rates have increased from 39% in 2012 to 67% in 2017 among age-eligible patients. To increase rates, the health center offers ongoing provider and staff training, automated point of care reminders, standing medical orders, incomplete colonoscopy referral follow up, patient outreach phone calls, sets quarterly targets and creates provider incentives for meeting performance goals. AltaMed also delivers colorectal cancer screening information to patients through its internal and external channels such as in-clinic TV screens, newsletters, and social media. In 2014, AltaMed piloted direct mailing FIT tests to patients who are due or overdue for screening, a practice that is now enterprise-wide. Patient messages and materials are translated and culturally tailored for patients.

    Honoree: Ameren
    Category: Employer

    St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation powers the quality of life for 2.4 million electric and more than 900,000 natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area through its Ameren Missouri and Ameren Illinois rate-regulated utility subsidiaries. Ameren's mission, "to power the quality of life," includes a long-standing commitment to the well-being of its 8,600 co-workers. In 2016, Ameren signed the 80% by 2018 pledge and began partnering with the American Cancer Society to encourage colorectal cancer screening and awareness among co-workers. The company works with its health plan to send targeted mailings to employees and spouses ages 50 and older who have not been screened. Ameren also encourages screenings at employee health fairs, in its newsletter, in digital message boards, and by inviting co-workers to sign a pledge to demonstrate their personal commitment to get screened. As a result, screening rates have increased from 58% to 72% in just two years.

    Honoree: Ohio Academy of Family Physicians
    Category: Medical Professional Society

    Since 2008, the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians (OAFP) has organized a physician-led practice improvement project to increase colorectal cancer screenings in family practices across Ohio. The goal of the project is to assist family physicians and their care teams to increase colorectal cancer screening rates through a multi-stage, quality improvement initiative that focuses on a systematic approach to enhanced primary care. To date, nearly 100 primary care practices across Ohio have participated in the colorectal cancer screening practice improvement project, with more than half of all participating practices exceeding or achieving the 80% screening rate goal. Even practices that did not achieve 80% reported significant improvement in colorectal cancer screenings. The program not only improves patient health outcomes, but also helps strengthen practice efficiencies, and team communication. Partner organizations include: Ohio Department of Health, American Cancer Society, North Central Region, Ohio Association of Community Health Centers, and the New Jersey Academy of Family Physicians.

    Honoree: The Ohio State University
    Category: Health System

    Since 2015, the Ohio State University’s (OSU’s) Provider and Community Engagement (PACE) Program for Health Equity in Colorectal Cancer Prevention, led by Dr. Darrell Gray, has promoted colorectal cancer screening in Central Ohio and beyond. Activities include guided tours through an inflatable colon, community lectures and cooking demonstrations, “Walk with a Doc” grocery store tours, an annual colorectal cancer phonebank hosted with a local news station, and an annual cancer disparities conference for healthcare providers, researchers and advocates. The PACE Program also provides low-to-no cost colonoscopies to uninsured and underinsured Ohioans. Screening rates among some OSU primary care practices have reached 72%. Additionally, screening rates among neighboring federally qualified health centers are steadily increasing. The program is a collaborative and multidisciplinary initiative involving patient navigators, financial counseling and marketing staff, doctors, students, endoscopy nurses and technicians, community partners, and many volunteers. Learn more about the PACE Program’s work in this short video:

    Honoree: Samuel C. Pace, MD
    Category: Survivor/Physician Champion

    Samuel Pace, MD, started his career in gastroenterology in 1986, later serving as Governor for Mississippi for the American College of Gastroenterology. It came as a surprise when in 2011 he received his own diagnosis of colorectal cancer. Since then, he’s taken a leadership role in promoting colorectal cancer awareness across the state of Mississippi, where residents experience some of the highest incidence and mortality rates, yet the lowest screening rates. He was an early leader and “Physician Champion” in Mississippi’s 70x2020 Colorectal Cancer Initiative, which seeks to increase screening among age-eligible Mississippians to 70% by 2020. He secured legislative approval for a specialty automobile license plate, the first of its kind in the country. He also champions awareness efforts, including Dallas Cowboys’ Dak Prescott colorectal cancer PSAs, “Blue Tie Affair”, "Run for Your Buns 5K" and a “Barbershop Talk” program.

    Honoree: Partnership for a Healthy Lincoln
    Category: Community

    Partnership for a Healthy Lincoln leads the Nebraska Physicians Cancer Screening Initiative, a community-based practice improvement project that aims to increase breast and colorectal cancer screenings in primary care practices, federally qualified health centers, and a family practice residency program in Lincoln and across Nebraska, a state in which residents experience a higher incidence of colorectal cancer than in other states, yet the screening rate is below the national average. Since 2016, the initiative has brought together 32 primary care clinics and seven Federally Qualified Health Centers representing more than 179 primary care providers to implement systematic changes that will allow them to identify and screen more patients for breast and colorectal cancer. To date, nearly all the participating practices are reporting significant colorectal cancer screening rate increases, with four clinics already reaching or surpassing the 80% screening rate goal, and many others close to reaching the goal.

    The 80% by 2018 National Achievement Award recognizes individuals and organizations who dedicate their time, talent and expertise to advancing needed initiatives to reach the national goal of regularly screening 80% of adults age 50 or over for colorectal cancer. More than1,600 organizations, including medical professional societies, academic centers, survivor groups, government agencies, cancer coalitions, cancer centers, and payers have signed a pledge to make this goal a priority.

    To learn more about the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, visit

  • March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

    Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. when men and women are combined, but it doesn't have to be. When adults get screened for colorectal cancer, it can be detected early when treatment is most likely to be successful, and in many cases, it can be prevented altogether. 

    About 1 in 3 adults ages 50 and older – about 38 million people – are not getting tested as recommended. Compounding the problem is that there is an alarming new trend in which colorectal cancer is rising in adults under 55. 

    Screening can save lives but only if people get tested.  We know screening is working. Deaths from colorectal cancer have dropped by over 30% in the U.S. among adults 50 and older in the last 15 years, in large part due to screening.  Further, people need to know that symptoms such as weight loss and blood in the stool – regardless of age – are a cause for concern and must be reported to their doctor, along with any family history of the disease. Read more about the signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer.

    You also can do other things to reduce your risk: eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; maintain a healthy weight; don't smoke; exercise regularly; and limit alcohol (no more than 2 drinks a day for men, 1 for women). 

    What can you do to save lives in March? 

    Spread the word that there are several screening options available, including simple take-home options. If you are 50 and older, or have a family history of the disease, talk to your doctor about which test is best for you. The most commonly used screening tests are: Fecal Occult Blood Testing (FOBT) or Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) every year. or colonoscopy every 10 years (or more often if adenomatous polyps (adenomas) have previously been found). Newer tests such as Stool DNA and CT Colonography are also now among recommended options. Learn more here about each test. You also can find videos on that explain various tests.

    Preventing colon cancer or finding it early doesn't have to be expensive. There are simple, affordable tests available and most health insurance plans cover lifesaving preventive tests. If you experience symptoms, such as blood in your stool or unexplained weight loss, see your doctor as these could be signs of colorectal cancer.

    Sample social media posts

    On pages 5 - 7 of this resource guide on NCCRT's website, you'll find sample Twitter and Facebook posts. Better yet, our social media team is creating ACS-specific posts soon, and we will share them on Society Source as soon as they are available. Even if you are not close to 50, and have no family history, you can still spread the word about colon cancer screening to friends and family members. You just might save a life! 

    Stay tuned for more information on how you can get involved in saving lives from colorectal cancer. 

  • Please share 'Matthew's Story' about the importance of HPV vaccination

    Last November, during the internal kick off of our Mission: HPV Cancer Free campaign, American Cancer Society staff had the opportunity hear Jon Scharingson, an HPV oropharyngeal cancer survivor, speak about his grueling treatment . The Iowa resident proclaimed that "cancer prevention is better than cancer treatment."

    Because of their experience, Jon and his wife Kris are strong advocates of HPV vaccination. Now their son, Matthew, is following in their footsteps by sharing his his experience in a story bank created by the California Immunization Coalition.

    "Matthew's Story" appears online in Shot by Shot: Stories of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases, which delivers first-hand accounts of people who have been affected by vaccine-preventable diseases, like HPV. With the success of vaccines, we don't see diseases like meningitis, polio, and hepatitis as often as our parents or grandparents did, but the diseases still touch people in our own communities and cause a huge amount of suffering and death worldwide. These personal stories use an emotional appeal to educate and remind us of the value of prevention through vaccination. 

    Please share "Matthew's Story" on your social media sites. To make it easy, here are some posts you can use as-is or edit. Perhaps you have your own HPV story to tell.

    • "Read Matthew's Story, about a kid who learns about his dad's HPV throat cancer and watches the toll the grueling treatment takes on his dad's body. At the same time, he understands that his HPV vaccination will prevent him from suffering like his dad. It's a powerful perspective!" [link to:]
    • "Stories like this are why I am proud to volunteer for the American Cancer Society, which is working hard every day to create a world free from HPV cancers. We have the tools now to make sure future generations never have to experience what Matthew and his dad experienced. Read their story and share it. [link to:]
    • "Stories like this are why I am proud to volunteer for the American Cancer Society.  HPV vaccination prevents cancer and is a powerful tool we can use right now to ensure future generations never have to experience what Matthew and his dad experienced." Please read and share their story. [link to:]

    For more information about HPV, read this article on For more details about HPV vaccines, click here.


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