Sign In

Mission Delivery

Breaking News

Missouri voters increase access to Medicaid

The August 4 vote will extend health coverage to more than 230,000 low-income people

Missouri voters stood up for public health on and passed a ballot measure to increase access to health insurance coverage for more Missourians through the state’s Medicaid program, following on the heels of Oklahomans who made the same move at the end of June.

This vote to increase access to the Medicaid program will improve health outcomes and reduce cancer disparities for more than 230,000 citizens who will be able to enroll in coverage in 2021.  

The measure passed with a majority of voters responding "yes" to Amendment 2, which asked if Medicaid should be fully expanded to low-income parents and adults earning less than $17,500 a year as permitted under the federal health law. The actual vote was 672,967 to 590,809. 

The following is a statement from Lisa Lacasse, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) president. 

“This is an incredible victory for public health in Missouri, where more than 1 in 10 residents are currently uninsured. According to American Cancer Society research, uninsured rates in Medicaid expansion states fell from nearly 10 to about 3.5 percent between 2011-2014. This decline in the number of uninsured also resulted in a statistically significant shift toward early stage diagnosis in common cancers like, lung, breast and colon, when cancers are less expensive to treat and survival is more likely. ACS studies have found, for instance, low-income women were 25% more likely to adhere to screening guidelines in expansion states than in non-expansion states. With this vote, Missourians have elected to save lives and long-term health care costs. 

“ACS CAN is grateful to all our staff and volunteers in Missouri who worked tirelessly to encourage their fellow Missourians to vote yes on Amendment 2 and commends the voters for standing up for the health of their neighbors, family, and friends.”  

When the initiative goes into effect, Missouri will join the 37 other states, and the District of Columbia, that have increased access to their Medicaid programs to cover more low-income residents. 


  • RSVP for the national Making Strides kickoff on Aug. 11

    It will be streamed on Facebook, YouTube, and makingstrideswalk.org

    Our commitment to fighting breast cancer is stronger than ever, but how we rally communities and celebrate this fall will look very different.

    Although in 2020 we won't convene crowds of walkers, we will mobilize this movement in several new ways that will still engage our communities and raise critical revenue to sustain research and programming. This will include our kickoff rally.

    You are invited to join past and current participants, team leaders, sponsors, and supporters for the first-ever nationwide Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Kickoff on Tuesday, August 11, at 12 p.m. ET! Northeast Region volunteers are welcome to join the national kickoff in addition to their regional kickoff on August 13.

    Our lineup of guests includes:

    • Host and emcee: Marquetta Bryan, Georgia Area Board Chair
    • Carmen Guerra, MD, MSCE, ACS, Inc. Board Scientific Officer, will speak to breast cancer disparities and the American Cancer Society's health equity work.  
    • Personal stories from breast cancer survivors Latashia Agelink and Shannon Vick.
    • Interview with ACS-funded breast cancer researcher Darren Roblyer, PhD.
    • Kris Kim, chief operating officer, will share an ACS leadership message.

    We know there's a whole lot going on in the world right now, but this fight matters more than ever. The nationwide kickoff rally will inspire and re-ignite your passion to defeat breast cancer.

    How to join

    We envision a future where our daughters – our children – will no longer live with the threat of breast cancer. Unfortunately, their future is at risk. We can't and won't allow progress to be put on hold because of COVID-19. At risk are more and better treatments and discoveries that will improve and save lives.


  • Useful guidance as you consider when and how to safely resume cancer screening

    ​If you have signs or symptoms of cancer, you should consult your doctor or a health provider right away

    At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, elective medical procedures, including cancer screening, were largely put on hold to prioritize urgent needs and reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19 in healthcare settings. One consequence of this has been a substantial decline in cancer screening.

    As states and other authorities re-open businesses and ease restrictions, many healthcare facilities are starting to offer elective procedures again, including cancer screening. Restarting cancer screening requires careful consideration of the risks and benefits of screening, along with ensuring safety for both patients and healthcare personnel.  

    Decisions about restarting screening depend on many factors, and they may not be the same for every person. They will likely vary by community while the pandemic continues.

    Regular cancer screening is still important

    If you had an appointment for screening that was postponed or canceled, talk to your healthcare team about when to reschedule. Your provider can discuss balancing the risks and benefits of being screened now or postponing for a later date, taking into account your personal and family history, other risk factors, and the timing of your last screening test.

    It is also important to keep in mind that we’re focusing here on cancer screening. Screening tests look for cancer in people who don’t have symptoms. These tests are different from tests your doctor might order if you have symptoms that could be from cancer. If you have signs or symptoms that might be from cancer, for instance, a lump in the breast or blood in the stool, you should discuss this with your provider right away, as you will need exams or tests that evaluate those particular signs and symptoms. 

    You may have options for screening 

    Screening recommendations are general recommendations for large groups of people, but there may be flexibility for some screening tests. For example:

    Many women get cervical cancer screening every year. However, no organization recommends cervical cancer screening with a Pap test any more often than every 3 years, and if an HPV test is used, no more often than every 5 years. If you have had normal test results in the past, getting cervical cancer screening at this time is not urgent.

    Many women get an annual mammogram for breast cancer screening.  However, leading organizations that issue screening guidelines recommend that average risk women ages 55 and older can be screened every two years. If you are 55 or older and had a normal mammogram within the last year, you could choose to have your next mammogram up to 24 months after your last one.

    There are several options for colorectal cancer screening for people at average risk. For example, stool tests, such as fecal immunochemical testing (FIT) or a stool DNA test (such as Cologuard), can be done safely at home. If the stool test result is positive, you will need a colonoscopy, and it will be important to talk with your doctor about the safest way to proceed with this. Colonoscopy as a screening test is still an option, but it may be harder to get an appointment now compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Your health care provider can help you determine what screening schedule and which screening tests are best for you at this time.

    Screening needs to be done safely

    As your regular facility for health care returns to providing cancer screening, it’s important that it is done as safely as possible. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommendations for healthcare facilities to reduce the risk of COVID transmission:

    • Screening centers should be available to answer questions from patients via phone or web portal before and/or after the screening procedure.
    • Patients should be pre-screened for COVID-related symptoms before screening appointments.
    • Scheduling of appointments should allow for physical distancing between patients, and longer appointment times, if needed, to avoid crowding in waiting rooms and patient care areas.
    • There should be limitations on visitors other than patients and/or their caregivers into the screening facility.
    • If not done in front of you, the screening center should be able to tell you how often equipment and surfaces are disinfected and cleaned.
    • Everyone, including patients and staff, should wear a face covering or face mask, where appropriate. There should be frequent handwashing and use of hand sanitizer by staff, patients, and visitors.

    Every community has its own unique situation and will need to rely on the judgment of the health care professionals and leaders in the community to make the best decisions possible.

    This information is intended to help you understand the importance of returning to regular cancer screening as soon as it is safe to do so. At the same time, it’s important to remember that if you have signs or symptoms of cancer, or if you have additional risk factors that put you in a high-risk group, you should consult your doctor or a health provider right away for guidance.

    For more about cancer and COVID-19, visit cancer.org/coronavirus.

    As always, ACS is available through live chat or by phone anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345.

    PLEASE NOTE: This information was written by Laura Makaroff, DO, senior VP, prevention and early detection; Durado Brooks, MD, MPH, VP, prevention and early detection; and Bob Smith, PhD, senior VP, cancer screening, in collaboration with cancer.org's medical content team. For a link to this story on cancer.org, where it originated, click here.


  • ACS and Emerson Collective team up to award research grants

    ​The partnership is designed to support new and transdisciplinary collaborations among ACS TheoryLab users; grant recipients will be announced on TheoryLab in December 2020

    The American Cancer Society and Emerson Collective have launched a partnership to support innovative, collaborative research projects using TheoryLab®, our online platform for funded researchers. 

    The TheoryLab Collaborative (TLC) Grant mechanism is designed to support new and transdisciplinary collaborations among TheoryLab users to explore high-risk ideas, including Covid-19 research relevant to cancer or persons living with cancer. Up to 10 pilot grants will be awarded.

    TheoryLab is our online research community for scientists and clinical professionals who have a current or previous relationship with ACS as a grant recipient, mentor, peer reviewer, staff researcher, or adviser. Emerson Collective grantees have been invited to join TheoryLab, which currently includes more than 1,200 scientists working across the cancer research continuum at institutions across the country. The community regularly hosts well-attended online chats and webinars about topics such as mentoring, epigenetics, survivorship, and metastatic breast cancer.

    TLC Grants are open to teams of two investigators who are active on TheoryLab. Applicants will post collaborative ideas to TheoryLab, where community members will provide feedback and vote on the most innovative concepts. In September 2020, selected investigators will be invited to submit a more detailed proposal.

    Once proposals are selected for funding, grant recipients will conduct two virtual research meetings on TheoryLab during their grant term. The purpose of these virtual meetings is to share progress and challenges and to encourage collaboration within the TheoryLab community. The awards also include travel funds for the collaborating investigators to meet face-to-face to generate ideas and advance their collaboration (pending travel recommendations at that time).

    “With this joint initiative, we hope to improve the way cancer researchers share information and to accelerate the pace of progress on behalf of cancer patients,” said Bill Phelps, PhD, our senior vice president of Extramural Research.

    “The global pandemic has laid bare the inequities that exist in our health system and underscored the urgency to creatively leverage the cancer research community, which is why we are proud to partner to with ACS’s online research community” said Reed Jobs, managing director of health at Emerson Collective. “Cancer research must continue to accelerate – patients cannot afford to take a step back.”

    Grant recipients will be announced on TheoryLab in December 2020. Grants will be activated on February 1, 2021. For additional questions about this mechanism please contact: TheoryLabSupport@cancer.org.

    About Emerson Collective

    Emerson Collective is a social change organization that uses a broad range of tools including philanthropy, impact investing, and policy solutions to create the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Established and led by Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, Emerson Collective supports social entrepreneurs and organizations working in education and immigration reform, social justice, media and journalism, conservation, and health through partnerships, grants and investments.




  • Reminder: Post your #ShareTheLight video or image

    Starting July 16 and continuing through October, we’re uniting to Share The Light and raise funds to ensure COVID-19 doesn’t stop cancer patients from receiving the support they need.  

    Share The Light is a digital fundraising campaign that illuminates opportunities to reverse the downward trends in financial support of cancer research and patient services.  

    How You Can Help 

    Share a photo with a caption or shoot a video with your light – a match, a cell phone, a candle – and tell your friends and family why you're sharing this light in the fight against cancer. Then, post it to social media.

    • Example video: You can offer words of encouragement, share your cancer story, or share how you’re fighting cancer. You can find some examples on Facebook, including this one from a staffer in Vermont. Post it to social using #ShareTheLight and tag @AmericanCancerSociety. 
    • Sample social post: I’m helping illuminate the critical need to increase funding for the cancer fight. I challenge (tag your friends/family) to do the same. #ShareTheLight (tag American Cancer Society).
    • Share our Share the Light posts on your own social media channels. Find them on InstagramFacebookTikTok, and LinkedIn.

    Learn more at cancer.org/sharethelight.

  • Something bright is coming!

    ​Join us on Thursday, July 16, at 7 p.m. ET for an hour-long celebration kickoff to a fundraising season of light

    As we all know, financial support for the cancer fight has plummeted due to COVID-19. Share The Light will illuminate the need to reverse that trend now and inspire viewers to fundraise and advocate for the Society by shining a light on this urgent, lifesaving need. 

    Here’s what you can expect: 

    • A look into how the Society provides vital support and services to cancer patients
    • A celebrity-moderated interview with inspiring cancer survivors from across the country
    • A can’t-miss “illumination moment” and sharing of light
    • Performances and words of encouragement and support from celebrities 
    • Ideas on how you can carry your own light forward to help fund a brighter future for all who are touched by cancer

    Help us Share The Light; here’s what you can do right now:

    • Create a video or snap a photo sharing a light, then post it to social using #ShareTheLight and tag @AmericanCancerSociety. Here's an example.
    • Share our Share the Light posts on your own social media channels ( Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and LinkedIn.)

    Thank you for sharing your light as we create a brighter future for patients and caregivers who need our help. Head to cancer.org/sharethelight for more information. 

  • ACS helps make cancer treatments more available in Africa and Asia

    Cancer Access Partnership is expected to result in a 59% savings on cancer medicines

    ACS and the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) today announced agreements with pharmaceutical companies Pfizer, Novartis, and Mylan to expand access to 20 lifesaving cancer treatments in 26 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Purchasers are expected to save an average of 59% for medicines procured through the agreements. 

    The countries included in the agreements are: Botswana, Cameroon, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, in Africa; and Vietnam, India, and Myanmar in Asia. Oncologists, government officials, and nonprofit organizations in many of these countries contributed to these agreements by sharing information and feedback to the CHAI team.

    Medications included in the agreements cover recommended regimens for 27 types of cancer and enable complete chemotherapy regimens for the three cancers that cause the most deaths in Africa—breast, cervical, and prostate. These cancers are highly treatable and account for 38% of cancers in the countries covered in the agreements. The new agreements include both chemotherapies and endocrine therapies aligned to evidence-based guidelines harmonized for sub-Saharan Africa, and expand access to additional formulations, including those essential for treating childhood cancer.

    "With cancer cases increasing at such a rapid rate in sub-Saharan Africa, access to affordable cancer treatment that meets the quality standards set by a stringent regulatory authority is imperative," said Bill Cance, our chief medical and scientific officer.

    In 2018, there were an estimated 811,000 new cases of cancer and 534,000 deaths from cancer in the region. Cancer patients in sub-Saharan Africa are twice as likely to die as those in the United States, often due to late diagnosis and lack of access to treatment. Based on population aging alone, annual cancer deaths in sub-Saharan Africa are projected to almost double by 2030. The new agreements reach 23 countries in Africa, covering 74% of the annual cancer cases.

    This new Cancer Access Partnership is an initiative of Allied Against Cancer and an expansion of the Chemotherapy Access Partnership. ACS and CHAI began working together in 2015 to improve care and treatment of cancer in sub-Saharan Africa, working with governments and cancer treatment institutions to address market inefficiencies, improve supply chains, and increase procurement to ensure quality medications were available at affordable prices. This collaboration has shown that access to high-quality cancer treatments can be expanded in a sustainable way.

    In 2017, Allied Against Cancer members ACS and CHAI announced agreements with Pfizer and Cipla to expand access to 16 essential cancer treatment medications in six countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The market access agreements secured competitive prices, allowing these governments to realize substantial savings and improve the quality and quantity of treatment available. As a result of the agreements, several African governments and hospitals increased their commitment to procuring necessary cancer medicines by using the cost savings to increase the volumes of medicines procured, setting up innovative systems to supply high-quality cancer medications, and increasing budgets for cancer care and treatment. Countries that accessed products through the agreements saved an average of 56%. As a result, patients have new levels of access to quality chemotherapies in nearly all of the countries included in the original agreements. Three new countries were added in November 2019.

    The market access agreements are part of a broader effort to improve access to quality cancer care in Africa. In 2019, ACS, CHAI, the African Cancer Coalition, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), and IBM joined to form Allied Against Cancer. This coalition is leveraging the strengths of each organization to connect with and empower the African oncology community to deliver high-quality cancer care and is working to pursue additional market-based collaborations to increase access to cancer medicines in the region.

    NCCN, ACS, and CHAI are also working with the African Cancer Coalition, which comprises 110 leading oncologists from 13 African countries, to adapt the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) to create the NCCN Harmonized Guidelines™ for Sub-Saharan Africa. These guidelines outline pragmatic approaches that provide effective treatment options to improve the quality of care in resource-constrained settings, and are available free of charge to health care providers. IBM and ACS also developed ChemoSafe, a suite of training resources for regional healthcare personnel to guide the safe transportation, storage, administration, and disposal of hazardous drugs.


  • ACS holds virtual Day of Understanding to address racism

    On our June 16 ACS Day of Understanding Teams Live event, volunteers and staff were urged to be "anti-racist" and to take actions that will help rid our country of hundreds of years of systemic racism, a reference to the systems in place that create and maintain racial inequality in nearly every facet of life for people of color (e.g. housing, education, the legal system, work, health, etc.).

    "When facing race today, one of most important things we need to remember is that it is not enough to be merely not racist," said award-winning author and speaker Dr. Avis Jones-DeWeever. "The opposite of racist is not being not racist, but explicitly anti-racist," she said. "It's not just about being friendly. It is about taking action to create change. That means you show up and speak out when you see something that looks discriminatory and help make sure change occurs."

    When she asked participants, "What will you do to create change going forward?" they said: speak up when I see people being treated unfairly; continue to read and educate myself; actually show up at protests; grow my community to include people of color; not shy away from confronting ignorance and racism; call out my family members; lead by example; challenge staff/volunteers when they exhibit racism; and be a better ally.

    Our CEO Gary Reedy said he is hopeful that "we have finally reached a tipping point" in this country, and that real change will take place. He said he and COO Kris Kim have been checking in with black members of our staff to see how they are doing. He said those conversations have taught him several things: "I have learned that racism has an impact on our staff on a daily basis and adds tremendous stress to their lives. They have grave concerns about their fathers, brothers, and sons. And, I also learned that they are grateful for the work we are doing in health disparities."

    A special thank you to our three ACS staff members who shared personal experiences: Mel Toran, executive director, Southeast Region; Natasha Coleman, senior director, Cancer Control Strategic Partnerships, Northeast Region; and Kyle Brown-Latham, income support specialist, National Cancer Information Center (NCIC).

    Mel said he "often times receives a look and receives less than optimal service" as a customer. He said the sustained energy of the people who have been protesting since the murder of George Floyd makes him optimistic – along "with the willingness of my colleagues to be part of the solution." He recommended a documentary and two children's books, which you can find in the list of resources below.

    Natasha said she worries when her husband leaves their home. What if he is stopped by a police officer? She urged her fellow staffers to address social inequality within their own communities, and even in their ACS events.

    Kyle shared that his dad was killed by a police officer 24 years ago, when he was 12. He asked staff to be introspective: "Are you contributing to this broken system? Look at the things you say and do. You may not feel like you have a part, but you do. We are the future of this country and we have a moral obligation to pull all members of society up and it starts with each and every one of us. Doing nothing accomplishes nothing."

    RESOURCES

    Mel's recommendations

    Mel encouraged staff to educate themselves and recommended the documentary, The African Americans – Many Rivers to Cross. This six-part series by Henry Louis Gates depicts the beginning of the Slave Trade through modern times, covering many topics in between.

    Noting that no one is born racist, Mel said children can be the difference makers. For parents looking for a way to have a conversation with their children, he recommended Let's Talk About Race by Julius Lester and Let the Children March by Monica Clark Robinson.


  • ACS celebrates Supreme Court decision on LGBTQ rights

    June marks Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month, and June 2020 will forever be known as the month the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects gay and transgender workers from workplace discrimination. It was a long-sought and rather unexpected victory.

    Tawana Thomas-Johnson, our VP, Diversity & Inclusion, said: "We are thrilled about this landmark Supreme Court decision which represents a sea change for equality and the civil rights of LGBTQ+ individuals. The decision affirms the belief that civil rights should be enjoyed by everyone, and that the LGBTQ+ people should be protected from workplace discrimination under federal law. This is not only a victory for LGBTQ+ communities, but for all of us."

    As an organization, the American Cancer Society is committed to a workplace free from discrimination. Our Equal Employment Opportunity policy says we are "dedicated to providing equal opportunities to all individuals regardless of race, color, religion, ethnic or national origin, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, veteran’s status, caregiver status, genetic information, or any factor that is a prohibited consideration under applicable law."

    Did you know this community bears a disproportionate burden of cancer? People who are LGBTQ have higher rates of some cancer risk factors and face barriers in accessing health care, including higher uninsured rates and discrimination. 

    Learn more here.


back to top