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Hope Lodge guest room naming comes with a twist

Pennsylvania family gets a surprise on evening of dedication.​​

Do you believe in karma? Fate? If not, this Hope Lodge story may make a believer out of you.

Recently, the Live Like Brent Foundation (LLBF) recently endowed a guest room at the AstraZeneca American Cancer Society Hope Lodge, which is nestled upon a hill in the Cheltenham neighborhood of Philadelphia, PA. Brent Evans was a dynamic young man from Wilkes-Barre, PA, who passed away from lymphoma at age 33 in 2017 after going in and out of remission for seven years. Brent was a young, active individual with a vivacious and friendly demeanor, whose “hellos” quickly turned into lifelong friendships.

During his cancer treatment in New York City, Brent and his mother Karen stayed at the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Jerome L. Greene Family Center in Manhattan. “We felt Hope Lodge was a beacon during the storm – a welcoming place to stay, especially after a long day of treatment. It really helped to lessen the burden,” Karen said.

One of Brent’s closest friends, Josh Frank, LLBF president, recalls, “People loved being around Brent. He had a magnetic personality.” The LLBF website states, “He had the unique ability to bring people together,” and in the most magical ways.

Brent founded an incredible snowboarding fundraiser, Carve 4 Cancer, to help blood cancer patients in need. To honor Brent, his close friends and family created the foundation in his name to continue his work.

This April, Brent’s parents and friends, who live in Pennsylvania, visited Hope Lodge Philadelphia to host a dinner and dedicate room 304 as the Live Like Brent Foundation Room. To their amazement, the guest staying in the room selected by the family to become the Live Like Brent Room was also named Brent. Plus the guest, Brent Ransom, is from the same area of Pennsylvania as the Evanses.

Brent’s mom and dad were incredibly moved by this amazing coincidence. Tears came to their eyes with smiles knowing that their son was clearly working his magic. It seemed like Brent’s magnetic draw was at work. “That was Brent,” said Brent’s father, Ken, during the visit. “He made this happen.” Once again, Brent Evans was bringing people together.

Was this special moment coincidence? A sign? A message from above connecting people when they most needed it? It almost does not matter.

  • ACS leaders lend perspective to Princess Catherine's cancer diagnosis news

    'For everyone facing this disease, in whatever form, please do not lose faith or hope. You are not alone.'​

    A video message posted March 22 to social media by Catherine, The Princess of Wales, confirmed that she undergoing cancer treatment. "In January, I underwent major abdominal surgery in London and at the time, it was thought that my condition was noncancerous," she said. "The surgery was successful. However, tests after the operation found cancer had been present. My medical team therefore advised that I should undergo a course of preventative chemotherapy and I am now in the early stages of that treatment."

    Catherine closed her statement saying, "I am also thinking of all those whose lives have been affected by cancer. For everyone facing this disease, in whatever form, please do not lose faith or hope. You are not alone."

    Members of our American Cancer Society Executive Team have been interviewed by the media to provide perspective on the news. Coverage has included:

  • ACS and Color Health announce expansion of a comprehensive cancer care solution

    Comprehensive program builds on ACS-Color program launched last summer.

    On March 18, the American Cancer Society and Color Health announced an expansion of their program to form a comprehensive cancer solution for employers and labor unions to support their employee and member populations across all stages of the cancer journey. This expansion builds on the work ACS and Color launched in summer 2023 as the “Cancer Screening and Prevention program.”

    ACS and Color have seen positive results from the initial launch of that program, leaders report, while at the same time have heard consistent feedback from employers and consultants there is a need for a holistic cancer care solution that provides support across the cancer care journey.

    Color is expanding the program to be the primary partner for organizations seeking to take control of cancer in large populations. The expansion adds Color medical clinical teams to manage any abnormal screening through confirmed diagnosis, specialized care for high-risk individuals, holistic support for employees in cancer treatment, and integrated clinical and mental health support for survivors. ACS’ role in the program remains the same. 

    The program expansion will include a first-of-its-kind virtual cancer clinic from Color Health. This portion of the program is managed by Color; ACS does not provide medical or clinical care. This virtual cancer clinic includes: 

    • In-house clinical care team that will include practicing physician teams, a specialist oncologist network, high-risk clinical coordinators, and genetic counselors. Every patient has access to a comprehensive care team of cancer experts.
    • Integrated diagnostics and a nationwide imaging network, which will facilitate swift, high-quality screening and follow-up diagnostic care. The imaging network provides appointment availability in less than two weeks, significantly faster than the national average, and integrated at-home screening tests that remove traditional barriers to access.
    • Robust patient support that recognizes cancer is not only about clinical care. The program’s proprietary and evidence-based peer support program, Color Cancer Connect, offers mental health support services, and Color care advocates take on logistical needs such as appointment scheduling and offer support on financial considerations of cancer prevention, detection, and care. 

    “For the first time ever, we are expecting to see over two million new cancer diagnoses this year. While screening guidelines exist for many of the most common cancers, the challenge is ensuring Americans have the healthcare access they need. This doesn’t stop at early detection. When a patient is faced with a cancer diagnosis, they need support at every step of the way,” Dr. Karen E. Knudsen, ACS CEO, said in a media release about the announcement. “ACS is proud to partner with Color Health to put the patient at the center, ensuring they not only have the best chance at a timely diagnosis, but that they also receive the high-quality care with a team of clinicians to advocate for them, and that they still feel this support as survivors.”

    This expanded program brings with it a nomenclature change: the program will no longer be known as the Cancer Screening and Prevention program, and instead will use a more generic “comprehensive cancer solution” to give more emphasis on the broader set of services the program offers in addition to screening.

    Like and share ACS and Color's posts on X (formerly Twitter).


  • ACS NCCRT announces national achievement award winners

    Honor recognizes five partners focused on increasing colorectal cancer screening.

    On March 5, the American Cancer Society National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (ACS NCCRT), founded in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), honored five organizations for their extraordinary work to increase colorectal cancer screening rates across the U.S. with the 2024 80% In Every Community National Achievement Award.

    This honor recognizes individuals and organizations who dedicate their time, talent, and expertise to advancing needed initiatives that support the shared goal to reach colorectal screening rates of 80 percent and higher in communities across the nation. The awards include one grand prize winner and four other honorees, each of whom receives a monetary award to support continued efforts to increase colorectal cancer screening. 

    The award announcement comes following the recent 2024 Cancer Facts and Figures which  revealed there is a growing incidence of colorectal cancer among people younger than 55 years old. Even more concerning the report also showed colorectal cancer is now the leading cause of cancer death in men and the second in women under 50 years old.

    “As the number of new cases continues to rise, it is important to remember that colorectal cancer is treatable and beatable, especially when it is caught early,” said Dr. Arif Kamal, ACS chief patient officer. “While there is a lot to do to increase screening rates for colorectal cancer, I’m grateful for the effort our honorees have made to close the gap nationwide.”

    Interested in learning more about the 2024 awardees? Register to join the NCCRT Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month Webcast on Wednesday, March 13, from 12 noon – 1 p.m. ET.  

    This year's recipients include The Southwest Coalition for Colorectal Cancer Screening (SuCCCeS) program, El Paso, TX; Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, Tallahassee, FL; Unity Medical Center, Grafton and Park River, ND; Family Health Services, South Central, ID; Mikisha Longie, Belcourt, ND. Here are more details about this year’s recipients: 

    Grand Prize Winner: The Southwest Coalition for Colorectal Cancer Screening (SuCCCeS) program
    Category: Cancer Program

    The Southwest Coalition for Colorectal Cancer Screening (SuCCCeS) program is designed to reduce the rates of colorectal cancer (CRC) in El Paso, Texas, and the surrounding 56 counties. Based at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, SuCCCeS works in partnership with multiple community organizations and is supported by funding from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). The program serves a population of 2.56 million people who are primarily medically underserved, ethnically diverse, and located in rural and border communities. SuCCCeS focuses on sustainably engaging healthcare systems and community organizations to address identified barriers to reducing CRC disparities and funding screening. To date, SuCCCeS has distributed over 31,000 fecal immunochemical test (FIT) kits, with a return rate of 71 percent. SuCCCeS has scheduled over 800 high-risk screening and over 1100 diagnostic colonoscopies for patients with positive or abnormal FIT results, with a completion rate of 74 percent. SuCCCeS credits their high FIT return and follow-up colonoscopy completion rates to working within and listening to their community and being a resource for other partners. They are most proud of the cancers they have prevented or caught early with their work, which, as of January 2024, stands at 34 cancers diagnosed and over 1000 individuals with adenomatous polyps removed.  

    ACS Regional Involvement: Martha Zepeda, Associate Director, Community Partnerships, works closely on multiple projects with Dr. Jennifer Molokwu, the director of SuCCCeS.

    Category: State Government Agency 

    Honoree: Florida Agency for Health Care Administration 

    The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration contracts Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) to achieve high quality health outcomes for Floridians with low socioeconomic resources. In 2022, the baseline rate for colorectal cancer (CRC) screening among Florida Medicaid MCO enrollees was 45 percent. The Agency sought to rapidly increase that rate and therefore created a new healthcare policy that incentivized MCOs through a point system designed with input from the American Cancer Society, Exact Sciences, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Over nine months of biweekly meetings, the group of public-private partners used real time data to share progress and strategies to increase CRC screening, including new data flows, gap analyses with physicians, outreach methods and events, social and text messaging campaigns, celebrity promotions, and focus on disparate subpopulations. Nearly 40,000 Floridians were screened in a 9-month period, representing a 6 percent increase to 51 percent and totaled 85,000 Floridians up to date with CRC screening in 2023. The Agency is most proud of the synergy achieved from this public-private partnership, which depended on a willingness to rapidly change business practices, interactive communication, and ingenuity among data scientists, Chief Medical Officers, quality directors, and outreach teams.

    ACS Regional Involvement: Leah Mitchem, Associate Director, State Partnerships, has worked closely with Dr. Cogle, Florida Agency for Health Care Administration’s Chief Medical Officer, over the past few years, including on projects and professional panels. 

    Category: Health System

    Honoree: Unity Medical Center 

    Unity Medical Center is a nonprofit critical access hospital with primary care clinics in Grafton and Park River, North Dakota, serving 20,000 people in Walsh County and the surrounding mainly rural areas. In October of 2022, Unity Medical Center developed an ambitious action plan to improve their colorectal cancer (CRC) screening rates from a baseline of 41 percent to 70 percent by December 2023. Their plan employed evidence-based interventions such as provider and patient reminders, patient education, internal policy change, standing orders, EHR data and reporting, and improved provider recommendations to patients. Unity Medical Center also participated actively in the North Dakota CRC Roundtable through their provider champion, Dr. Jared Marquardt, the state roundtable chair. As of December 2023, their CRC screening rates have risen to 69 percent and are still rising. They are most proud of the huge amount of buy in from the staff, who are enjoying their innovative techniques to reach the community by focusing on their patients and unique partners.  

    ACS Regional Involvement: Jill Ireland and Kaylee Vandjelovic, Associate Directors, State Partnerships, work closely with the North Dakota Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, of which Dr. Marquardt is a chair and a primary care physician at Unity Medical Center.

    Category: Community Health Center

    Honoree: Family Health Services 

    Family Health Services is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in South Central Idaho serving over 30,000 patients in an eight-county rural area through eleven locations. In 2015, only 18 percent of the age-eligible population at Family Health Services was up to date with colorectal cancer (CRC) screening. The health center received state grant funding to increase their CRC screening rates and thereafter refocused their efforts on patient education and outreach, barrier identification, provider recommendation, navigation to colonoscopy for patients with a positive or abnormal stool test, and an innovative program that fundraises at least $25,000 each year for discount colonoscopies from referral partners. They continue to look for innovative ways to increase CRC screening by addressing various barriers, including those related to insurance, income, geography, or culture. January 2024 data shows the health center’s overall CRC screening rate has reached 56.2 percent, with some clinics and providers achieving rates of 60 percent to 75 percent. Health center staff are most proud of how their team set the bar high to reach their goal CRC screening rate. Through consistent quality improvement work and staff buy-in, they are reaching and exceeding expectations. 

    ACS Regional Involvement: Jana Gurkin, Associate Director, Cancer Center Partnerships, works with Family Health Services in Idaho. 

    Category: Survivor Champion 

    Honoree: Mikisha Longie 

    Mikisha Longie is a colorectal cancer (CRC) survivor, public health nurse at the Quentin N. Burdick Memorial Health Care Facility of the Indian Health Service (IHS), and champion for CRC screening as a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Reservation. Her insistence on using data to drive decision making revealed a significant regression in CRC screening within the clinic post-COVID. To address this, Mikisha has worked to spearhead collaborative efforts between public health, tribal health educators, and the IHS clinics in her community. Strategies she has championed include patient education in multiple venues and forms, patient navigation, standing orders for average risk patients, and EHR improvements, such as building a provider assessment report to review at monthly meetings. From February to August of 2023, the clinic achieved a 42.8 percent improvement in CRC screening rates largely attributable to Mikisha’s work. Mikisha is most proud that her team's efforts are making a difference in their community screening rates.   

    ACS Regional Involvement: Jill Ireland and Kaylee Vandjelovic, Associate Directors, State Partnerships, work closely with the North Dakota Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, who brought Mikisha as a speaker for their 2023 meeting.

  • March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

    ​Several events are planned to raise awareness and promote screening.​

    March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and this year’s Cancer Facts and Figures report revealed that colorectal cancer is now the leading cause of death in men and the second in women under 50 years old. Even more alarming, only about 20% of people ages 45 – 49 are getting screened for colorectal cancer and it is the third-leading cause of cancer death in both Black men and women. 

    Regular colorectal cancer screening can find and remove lesions before they become cancer, and everyone aged 45 and older is encouraged to talk to a doctor about colorectal cancer screening. 

    Key messages for the month include: 

    • At age 45, start colorectal cancer screening.
    • Colorectal cancer screening saves lives.
    • Regular colorectal cancer screening can find and remove lesions before they become cancer.
    • Colorectal cancer is now the leading cause of cancer death in men and the second in women under 50 years old.
    • Colorectal cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer death in both Black men and women.

    There are several events happening this month in recognition of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, including the following.

    On March 5, the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable will announce the five 2024 80% in Every Community Award honorees. The NCCRT will host the annual NCCRT Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month Webcast on Wednesday, March 13, from 12 noon – 1 p.m. ET. Registration is required through the NCCRT website. Stay tuned to My Society Source for updates!

    On Feb. 29, the ACS and the Colorectal Cancer Alliance will launch the YourColonIs45 campaign to encourage individuals to learn more about colorectal cancer screening and remind others to get screened for colorectal cancer. The campaign will drive people to where information from both organizations will inform and inspire people to take action by visiting to find a screening location, taking a screening quiz on the Colorectal Cancer Alliance website, and send a screening reminder card to friends and family.

  • ACS National Breast Cancer Roundtable launches 2024 - 2029 Strategic Plan

    This national roadmap for advocacy and action is centered around four key priority areas.

    The ACS National Breast Cancer Roundtable (NBCRT) has launched its 2024-2029 Strategic Plan which provides recommended strategies and activities that our partners can use to help define, prioritize, and accomplish their goals across the breast cancer continuum, offering a national roadmap for advocacy and action. It is centered around four key priority areas:

    • Risk assessment, screening, risk reduction and early diagnosis
    • Access to treatment
    • Clinical trials
    • Support and wellness services 

    The plan was developed through a comprehensive and collaborative process involving input from community contributors nationwide. By prioritizing these areas, the ACS NBCRT aims to strengthen collaboration and consensus and drive progress in the breast cancer continuum. Through strategic partnerships, the ACS NBCRT is dedicated to eliminating disparities and reducing mortality rates. 

    This plan would not be possible without the ACS NBCRT Leadership, members, persons with lived experiences, generous supporters, and team members for their collaborative efforts

  • HPV Roundtable releases Impact Report and Action Plan

    ​Annual publication summarizes major initiatives from 2023 and key priorities for 2024.​​

    The American Cancer Society National HPV Vaccination Roundtable has released its annual impact report and action plan. The report provides a detailed overview of the roundtable’s major initiatives from last year. Some of the HPV Roundtable’s 2023 accomplishments include:

    • Bringing new organizations into its national network, 
    • Hosting a health summit plan in collaboration with the Professional Collaborations team, 
    • Launching an early career development program,
    • Hosting a joint national meeting with the American Cancer Society National Roundtable on Cervical Cancer.

    ACS Director of Screening and Vaccination Dr. Debbie Saslow, who represented the Patient Support Pillar last month at a forum in the White House on advancing cervical cancer prevention, early detection, and survival, is one of the three tri-chairs of the Roundtable. Gabrielle Darville-Sanders, strategic director, National HPV Vaccination Roundtable, and Christina Turpin, director, National HPV Vaccination Roundtable, also contributed to the report.

    The ACS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention founded the National HPV Vaccination Roundtable in 2014. It is a coalition of a public, private, and voluntary organizations with expertise relevant to increasing HPV vaccination rates in the U.S. as a way to reduce illness and death from HPV cancers, through coordinated leadership and strategic planning. 

  • Watch the replay of Catch Crucial Catch LIVE

    NFL players, medical experts, and sports personalities talk prostate cancer education and screening.

    The American Cancer Society and National Football League teamed up to host “Crucial Catch LIVE Presented by Sleep Number,” a panel-style conversation that took place on Feb. 6, in Las Vegas, NV, ahead of Super Bowl LVIII which will be played on Feb. 11. “Crucial Catch LIVE” brought together current and former NFL players, medical experts, and sports personalities for an open conversation about prostate cancer. Watch the replay on ACS’ Facebook page.

    Moderated by Brian Custer, two-time Emmy Award-winning sportscaster (ESPN, Showtime Sports, Last Stand Podcast) and prostate cancer survivor, the panel discussion featured:

    • Dr. Robert Winn, MD, American Cancer Society board member and Director, VCU Massey Comprehensive Cancer Center
    • Mike Haynes, retired Las Vegas Raider and Pro Football Hall of Famer; prostate cancer survivor
    • Rashad Jennings, retired New York Giants running back
    • Will Gholston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end and 2023 American Cancer Society Sports Ambassador of the Year
    • Brandon Bolden, Las Vegas Raiders running back, cancer survivor and American Cancer Society Sports Ambassador

    After decades of declining rates, prostate cancer diagnoses have begun to rise again in recent years. The disease disproportionately impacts Black men, who have a higher likelihood of being diagnosed with late-stage prostate cancer than other men, and therefore have higher mortality rates. 

  • ACS launches two new exercise oncology programs

    New programs aimed at helping cancer survivors be physically active.​

    The American Cancer Society has launched two new programs aimed at helping cancer survivors be physically active. 

    Exercise oncology program to launch in six Hope Lodge communities

    ACS has partnered with Maple Tree Cancer Alliance (MTCA) to pilot its evidence based-exercise oncology program in six Hope Lodge communities. The Maple Tree program engages people in active cancer treatment in a free, 12-week structured, online exercise program that has been shown to improve measures of quality of life, as well as cardiovascular and muscular endurance. This, while also decreasing visits to the emergency room, length of hospital stays, and readmissions to the hospital.

    Starting in February, guests at Hope Lodge locations in Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Oklahoma City, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Jackson, MS, will be able to enroll in the program. At the conclusion, participants will have the option to continue with the Maple Tree program at a discounted rate. Depending on the results of the pilot, ACS will seek additional funding to expand the program.

    Increasing the exercise oncology workforce 

    The ACS has also partnered with the American College of Sports Medicine (ASCM) to develop the new ACSM-ACS Cancer Exercise Specialist course. Research consistently shows that physical activity is beneficial for cancer survivors, including during active treatment. The American Cancer Society Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines for Cancer Survivors recommend that physical activity assessment and counseling begin as soon as possible after diagnosis, to help patients prepare for treatment, tolerate, and respond to treatments, and manage some cancer-related symptoms and treatment-related side effects. 

    This program aims to increase the number of practitioners able to provide safe, effective, and individualized exercise to anyone living with or beyond a cancer diagnosis. This includes certified fitness professionals, as well as other allied health professionals, including physical therapists and PT assistants, rehabilitation therapists, nurses and nurse practitioners, and physicians and physicians’ assistants who work with patients with cancer. A bachelor’s degree in exercise science or related field or equivalent is highly recommended but not required. 

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