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ACS stands allied against cancer with the LGBTQ+ community

June is not only the start of summer, it is also a month to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community’s contributions to science, art, culture, and so much more. It is a month rooted in advocacy for equity for this community. While we have come far in achieving equitable treatment thanks to those who began this movement, we know there is still work to do.

The American Cancer Society stands, allied against cancer, with the LGBTQ+ community. We believe everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to live free from cancer. That’s why ACS is using Pride Month as an opportunity to share information about getting screened and to celebrate LGBTQ+ employees, volunteers, and collaborators. The theme of the month is “allied against cancer.”

Messaging in June will appear on ACS master brand social channels, on cancer.org, and in regional and partner organization social channels.

We know disparities exist for LGBTQ+ people: they are often diagnosed later as a result of lower or no insurance, and there is a bias among health care providers or a lack of understanding that impacts outcomes. ACS is taking action. Look for proof points on social media about the work the organization is doing focused on this community. You can also learn more about ACS CAN’s work in this area at fightcancer.org.

  • ACS releases position on COVID-19 vaccines

    ACS “strongly recommends” cancer patients be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, including three mRNA doses of the primary vaccination series, plus two additional booster doses, according to a statement released this week, included below. The position supports a recommendation from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

    Due to COVID-19’s disparate and excessive impact on patients with cancer and continuing waves of subvariants, the American Cancer Society (ACS) supports the National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s recommendation that all specified immunocompromised patients receive three mRNA doses of the COVID-19 primary vaccination series, plus an additional two booster doses. 

    “Because vaccines have been shown to be a safe, effective way to protect against COVID-19, we strongly recommend patients with cancer be fully immunized with the recommended booster doses. This particularly includes those patients who have received cancer treatment in the last year, have a blood cancer, or have undergone stem cell transplant.  With that said, the most effective protection for vaccinated immunocompromised patients is a reduction in community spread through widespread vaccination and the wearing of masks.  It is specifically important that those living or interacting with these patients also practice these recommendations,” said Dr. Arif Kamal, chief patient officer at the American Cancer Society.

    Patients with cancer often have weakened immune systems from cancer itself or cancer treatment. This creates an increased risk for COVID-19 complications and less protection from vaccines. ACS recommends that fully vaccinated patients with cancer continue to wear masks, maintain social distancing, avoid crowds, and follow additional pre-vaccine recommendations for COVID-19 prevention.

    Read updated National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Covid-19 vaccination guidelines on their website


  • Tawana Thomas Johnson participates in White House Black History Month dialogue

    In honor of Black History Month, Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Tawana Thomas Johnson participated in a dialogue on cancer disparities in the Black community with Cedric Richmond, Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. 

    With a focus on the Black History Month theme of Black Health and Wellness, Tawana and Director Richmond discussed key findings from the newly released Cancer Facts and Figures for African American/Black People, noting that Black people are more likely to die from most cancers and live the shortest amount of time after a cancer diagnosis than any other racial or ethnic group. They also discussed how the Administration, ACS and ACS CAN are working to address the unequal burden of cancer in the Black community, including the Administration’s prioritization of health equity in the recently reignited Cancer Moonshot initiative.

    You can view dialogue highlights on ACS and ACS CAN social media.

    The dialogue is one of several events the White House has hosted during Black History Month. Earlier in the week, ACS CAN Board Vice Chair and The Links, Inc. National President Kimberly Jeffries Leonard moderated a panel discussion during the White House virtual forum, Cancer in Color: Equity Care for Our Communities. To learn more about ACS and ACS CAN’ s work to reduce cancer disparities and advance health equity in the Black community, visit cancer.org.


  • Hope Lodge in Oklahoma ‘topped off’

    Last week our Chad Richison Hope Lodge facility in Oklahoma City celebrated a major milestone with a traditional Topping Off Ceremony at the construction site commemorating the structural completion of the building’s frame. The $16.5 million facility will be the only one of its kind in Oklahoma to offer free, temporary lodging for adult cancer patients whose best chance for a cure is far from home. 

    During the event, a symbolic last beam, adorned with cancer survivor stories, donor signatures, and a spruce tree to signify hope and prosperity for all who stay at the facility, was placed atop the newly constructed building.

    Located at 800 NE 7th St., near the University of Oklahoma’s Stephenson Cancer Center, the Chad Richison Hope Lodge community is expected to provide more than 14,600 nights of free lodging each year, representing an estimated $2 million in savings to patients per year. It will also help to reduce health disparities that exist for the state’s underserved populations, including rural and Native American communities.

    "State-of-the-art facilities, treatments, and clinical trials draw patients who do not have these resources in their own home communities to this great city, but without lodging assistance like the Hope Lodge community many cancer patients can’t afford to stay here,” said Jeff Fehlis, ACS executive vice president. “The American Cancer Society is committed to breaking down these barriers and ensuring all people have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer.”

    Designed by architectural firm Miles Architecture and constructed by GE Johnson, the facility was built thanks to many community volunteer leaders, organizations, and corporate partners. A $5 million gift from Paycom Founder and Chief Executive Officer Chad Richison is the largest financial contribution to the campaign. In recognition of his generosity, the facility was named after him. The University of Oklahoma has also been a valuable partner in helping ACS bring this community to Oklahoma City. Other major donors include the Presbyterian Health Foundation, Chickasaw Nation, Penny L. Norman Estate, E.L. and Thelma Gaylord Foundation, the J. E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation, Inc., and the Charles and Peggy Stephenson Foundation. The Hope Lodge capital campaign, chaired by Chairman Scott Meacham and Chair Emeritus Gene Rainbolt, raised more than $16.5 million.


    Center is expected to save cancer patients $2M annually and reduce health disparities.

  • HEALED to highlight reimagined Hope Lodge

    Pat Croce's weekly American Cancer Society HEALED Community Gathering live on Wednesday, February 23 at 11 a.m. ET will focus on plans for the future, new, 30 percent larger capacity Hope Lodge Baltimore and the Capital Campaign to fund it. The campaign goal is to raise $10 million to create a completely reimagined 34-guest room Hope Lodge in a currently vacant facility across the street from the present Hope Lodge, which is 35 years old.

    HEALED stands for Health and Energy through Active Living Every Day. Led by Pat Croce (pictured above), former Philadelphia 76ers owner, entrepreneur, and TV personality, the HEALED Community Movement is an outgrowth of Pat's spiritual journey that guided him through his experience as a cancer patient. The HEALED Community Gathering features expert guests on topics related to physical, mental, and spiritual health. It can be seen on www.facebook.com/acshealed or www.youtube.com/cancernortheast, and is also posted on 6abc.com, as well as featured on its new live streaming rotation.

    On February 23, Pat's guests will be the dynamic duo leading the Hope Lodge Baltimore Capital Campaign. They are Campaign Chair Dr. William Regine, chair of Radiation Oncology at the University of Maryland and executive director of the Maryland Proton Treatment Center, and Campaign Co-Chair Lt Col (ret.) Julie Walker, a cancer survivor, former Hope Lodge guest, and Wounded Warrior Ambassador/Mentor. You can watch her Hope Lodge testimonial on YouTube.

    Hope Lodge Baltimore, which provides approximately 13,000 free night stays annually, consistently operates at full capacity. It requires a complete update to more effectively meet the needs of cancer patients who come from all over the U.S. and other countries for access to world-class, life-saving treatment at Baltimore facilities.

    The future Hope Lodge will help address barriers to care by providing an additional 2,920 night stays annually along with many modern amenities.

    Thus far, the Capital Campaign has raised more than $3.6 million. The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation pledged a $2 million challenge match for the future Hope Lodge that requires ACS to raise $2 million in funds by December 31, 2022, in order to receive the funds.

    Author, business leader, and philanthropist Pat Croce has raised $2M for the American Cancer Society's cancer research program. As a cancer survivor, Pat is passionate about sharing the value of gratitude, living joyfully in the moment, and mindfulness. The donations raised thus far have funded the work of American Cancer Society researcher Dr. Erika Rees-Punia. Dr.Punia designed an online physical activity intervention specifically for cancer survivors. Her scientific study has expanded from the original pilot tested by 85 cancer survivors to 400 participants.

    You can tune in every Wednesday live at 11 a.m. ET for the ACS HEALED Community Gathering.

  • ACS launches new global patient navigation initiative

    BEACON Initiative will strengthen health systems and organizations in LMICs to improve outcomes.

    On Feb. 10, the American Cancer Society (ACS) launched a pilot of a new global patient navigation initiative called the Building Expertise, Advocacy, and Capacity for Oncology Navigation (BEACON) Initiative. 

    The initiative is led by our Global Capacity Development and Patient Support team and funded by the Merck Foundation (called the MSD Foundation outside of the United States.) It aims to strengthen health care facilities, health care systems, and cancer organizations in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to improve health outcomes and the patient experience during the cancer journey. 

    The launch event featured Dr. Arif Kamal, our new chief patient officer, as well as Dr. Harold P. Freeman, the founding father of patient navigation and a former ACS president. The event recording is now available.

    The BEACON Initiative is made up of two key components:

    • The global patient navigation toolkit is filled with practical resources to help users lead key processes and complete specific activities to design, launch, implement, sustain, and grow patient navigation programs uniquely suited to their local context, the needs of their patients, and their resource base. Click here to for a six-minute tour of the toolkit.
    • The peer learning collaborative invites users to join an online platform for sharing experiences and take part in virtual events that will introduce them to others working in patient navigation who are facing and addressing similar challenges.

    Ten organizations in eight countries will pilot the Global Patient Navigation Toolkit during the next 15 months, including: 

    • Haematology Center after Professor R. Yeolyan (Armenia)
    • City Cancer Challenge (C/CAN)—Porto Alegre (Brazil)
    • Instituto Oncoguia (Brazil)
    • Baheya Foundation for Early Detection and Treatment of Breast Cancer (Egypt)
    • Hospital General San Juan de Dios (Guatemala)
    • Indonesian Cancer Information and Support Center (Indonesia)
    • National Cancer Center Dharmais Cancer Hospital (Indonesia)
    • National Cancer Society of Malaysia (Malaysia)
    • University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (Nigeria)
    • Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA)

    For more information about the BEACON Initiative, visit cancer.org/globalpatientsupport or email acs.beacon@cancer.org.


  • American Cancer Society National Consortium announce recommendations to increase cancer screening rates to pre-pandemic levels

    Today, the American Cancer Society’s National Consortium for Cancer Screening and Care (ACS National Consortium) announced nine consensus recommendations to accelerate recovery from the pandemic and improve the nation’s ability to provide quality cancer screening and care for all.

    The ACS National Consortium convenes leading organizations dedicated to the safe and equitable recovery of cancer screening and treatment services. The group committed to work together throughout 2021 and those joint efforts have culminated into the new report, Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Improving Cancer Screening and Care in the U.S.

    “On February 2, President Biden reignited the nation’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative, calling for an all-hands-on-deck approach to end cancer as we know it,” said Dr. Arif Kamal, M.D., Chief Patient Officer of the American Cancer Society. “The development of these recommendations demonstrates that sense of shared responsibility and showcases the cancer-fighting community at its finest - collaborative, undaunted, and relentless in our pursuit of improved and equitable outcomes for all.”

    The nine consensus recommendations include:

    1. National Partnerships: Accelerate the collective action of partnerships, coalitions, and roundtables to influence the adoption of evidence-based cancer screening interventions and policies.
    2. Coordinated Messaging: Accelerate a coordinated, innovative campaign to promote cancer screening as a public health priority.
    3. Proven Programs: Accelerate screening efforts by supporting and expanding proven programs that effectively reach communities that are historically excluded and underserved.
    4. Quality Measures: Accelerate the adoption of improved quality measures, accountability measures, and institutional goal-setting that prioritize equitable outcomes.
    5. Pandemic-Related Innovations: Accelerate innovations and interventions that better expand equitable access to cancer screening and care. 
    6. Public Trust: Strengthen the trust in public health and healthcare systems by using a forward-looking, whole-person approach
    7. Comprehensive Preparedness Plans: Strengthen health system and community preparedness plans for health disruptions by including cancer and other chronic disease care in the plans
    8. Transdisciplinary Teamwork: Strengthen transdisciplinary teamwork in support of healthcare delivery.
    9. Document and Understand Cancer Disparities: Strengthen the understanding of outcomes in cancer screening and care by collecting and utilizing demographic and social determinants of health data.

    The timing of the release of the report is significant. Now two years into the pandemic, cancer screening rates still fall below historical baselines, and catching up on missed cancer screenings is an incredible challenge.

    “Cancer screening is an essential public health priority, but not everyone is benefitting equally,” said Dr. Laura Makaroff, Senior Vice-President, Prevention and Early Detection for the American Cancer Society. “Disruptions in cancer services due to the pandemic are more significantly affecting communities with a disproportionate cancer burden, and the urgency to address our nation’s cancer burden and unequal outcomes is undeniable.”

    The ACS National Consortium is committed to taking action and advancing key recommendations in 2022, while also aligning with the President’s Cancer Panel’s latest report, Closing the Gaps in Cancer Screening: Connecting People, Communities, and Systems to Improve Equity and Access. Immediate activities will aim to activate national and local organizations to implement consensus recommendations.

    Learn more at consortium.acs4ccc.org.


  • National breast and cervical cancers roundtables launched

    ACS to drive greater progress, answering President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot call.

    The American Cancer Society has launched two national roundtables – one focused on cervical cancer, the other breast cancer – to bring together leading organizations and experts to drive progress and improve the lives of cancer patients and their families. Read more about the news here. ACS has established this convening model as a proven structure for collaboration and impact for more than two decades.

    The National Breast Cancer Roundtable and National Cervical Cancer Roundtable will build upon the successful history of ACS-led roundtables that began in 1997. In partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ACS established the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, which was followed by the addition of national roundtables focused on HPV vaccination, patient navigation, and lung cancer. Roundtables succeed by bringing together leading advocacy organizations, professional societies, government agencies, cancer centers, community organizations, academic institutions, health plans, and other key partners to share resources and expertise to drive progress on cancer priorities that are most challenging. In expanding its commitment to national cancer roundtables to include breast and cervical cancer, ACS will provide additional leadership to prioritize cancer prevention and screening as essential public health priorities more comprehensively and aggressively.

    Veteran staff to lead roundtables 

    Debbie Saslow, PhD, managing director, cancer control interventions-HPV/GYN cancers (pictured above at left,) will lead the National Cervical Cancer Roundtable, while Sarah Shafir, MPH, managing director, national partnerships and innovation, (pictured above at right,) will lead the National Breast Cancer Roundtable. 


  • D.C. buses share message to Get Screened

    An impactful #GetScreened campaign just got rolling in Washington, D.C. 

    Buses travelling through neighborhoods with some of the lowest cancer screening rates have exterior signs and interior cards. 

    This is grant-funded campaign that also has messages being broadcast on Radio One, a radio station with a largely Black audience, and El Zol 107.9, a station with a largely Hispanic listener base, to reach diverse audiences.


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