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82 new research and training grants awarded

They total $47.4M and will fund investigators at 59 institutions.

The American Cancer Society has approved funding for 82 research and training grants totaling $47.4 million. The grants will fund investigators at 59 institutions across the country and include 67 new grants and 15 renewals of previous grants. All the grants were funded in 2021.   

The grants include the renewal of one Research Professorship to Anil K. Sood, MD, of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, pictured above. The Research Professorship is a lifelong designation accompanied by a five-year $400,000 commitment and is our most prestigious research grant. 

We are excited to support innovative research poised to contribute to advancing efforts to prevent, find, treat, and improve the quality of life for cancer survivors,” said Ellie Daniels, MD, MPH, senior vice president of Extramural Discovery Science. “Workforce diversity and inclusion and health equity are also foundational to our funded research.  

To maximize our impact, ACS has established six priority research areas to advance our mission: 

  • Etiology or causes of cancer
  • Obesity/healthy eating and active living
  • Diagnosis and screening
  • Treatment
  • Survivorship
  • Health equity across the continuum

These topics will require fundamental, preclinical, clinical, and implementation research, as well as multidisciplinary research teams to tackle the complexities of cancers and cancer care.  

Requiring alignment of Extramural Discovery Science grant applications with identified high-potential areas for significantly reducing the burdens of cancer in the U.S. is critical at this time. The number of research priorities are relatively few, yet these topics cast a wide net spanning the full cancer research continuum and requiring multidisciplinary teams to tackle the complexities of cancer. 

Here are some highlights from each of the focus areas in the current grant cycle: 

CAUSE & ETIOLOGY 

Paula D. Bos, PhD
Virginia Commonwealth University
Regulation of Breast Cancer progression by Treg Cells 
Research Scholar Grant 
In order to design better immunotherapies that improve survival, we need to understand how immune cells behave in the tumor environment. The main goal of Dr. Bos’s grant is to investigate the interactions between regulatory T cells and myeloid cells, two prominent immune cell populations in breast tumors. Understanding these interactions will provide important information for the design of new cancer therapies. 

OBESITY/HEALTHY EATING & ACTIVE LIVING

Marjan Rafat, PhD
Vanderbilt University  
Examining Obesity-Associated Inflammation in Breast Cancer Recurrence 
Research Scholar Grant 
Radiation therapy is crucial to many breast cancer patients because it is employed to eliminate any tumor cells remaining after surgery and chemotherapy. However, studies show that the relapse rate for patients after this treatment can be as high as 20%, and obesity leads to higher levels of recurrence. Dr. Rafat will study tissue properties after radiation to understand why irradiated tissues recruit tumor cells and how obesity affects the immune microenvironment following radiotherapy. 

SCREENING & DIAGNOSIS 

Irene Georgakoudi, PhD
Tufts University in Massachusetts
Label-free, Multi-scale Imaging for Improved Detection of Peritoneal Metastasis
Mission Boost Grant 
The paradigm for detecting many cancers relies on visualizing the surface of an organ or a cavity by illuminating it and then collecting the reflected light to identify subtle changes from the patterns that are expected in healthy tissues. Dr. Georgakoudi’s objective is to change this paradigm by bringing the microscope to the patient to enable non-invasive or minimally invasive visualization of the human tissues with high-resolution and without the need to take a biopsy. Two-photon microscopy has the potential to generate images that reveal exquisite morphological details of the cells and the fibrous tissues in three-dimensions, yielding information about appearance, organization, and function, and can help in cancer diagnosis.  

TREATMENT 

Hanlee Ji, MD  
Stanford University, Stanford CA  
Novel Immunotherapeutic Targets in the Gastric Tumor Microenvironment 
Mission Boost Grant 
Gastric cancer that has metastasized has few effective treatments. Dr. Li’s team has analyzed the composition of immune cells surrounding gastric cancer, referred to as the tumor microenvironment, and identified two protein receptors that are expressed in these cells: GITR and TIGIT. Using an innovative experimental system, they will examine the effects of targeting these proteins to develop a new immunotherapy strategy for gastric cancer.  

SURVIVORSHIP

Eric S. Zhou, PhD  
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA
Development of a Novel Insomnia Treatment for Pediatric Cancer Patients 
Clinician Scientist Development Grant 
Insomnia is often assumed by families and oncologists to be an expected challenge in the course of treatment that will resolve with time, but these sleep problems often persist and are associated with significant physical and psychological health consequences. There are no FDA-approved pharmacological treatments for pediatric insomnia, and over-the-counter treatments can be risky because of a lack of research data demonstrating their effectiveness and their long-term safety. Behavioral insomnia treatments are a proven approach for healthy children, but there has never been a research study conducted to examine if a comprehensive behavioral insomnia treatment approach can be effective for pediatric cancer patients. Findings from this study can have a dramatic impact on improving the health outcomes and quality of life for pediatric cancer patients and their families. 

HEALTH EQUITY ACROSS THE CANCER CONTINUUM 

Kathleen J. Porter, PhD
The Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia  
weSurvive: Improving Quality of Life and Health Behaviors of Rural Cancer Survivors 
Research Scholar Grant 
Rural Appalachia is disproportionately impacted by cancer. While there are growing efforts related to early detection and prevention, there are no known evidence-based programs for cancer survivors implemented in the region, and existing programs do not meet the region's unique needs. To meet this need, Dr. Porter worked with an advisory team of local stakeholders to develop weSurvive, a multi-modal behavioral intervention designed to improve the quality of life of cancer survivors by addressing multiple behaviors, e.g., diet, physical activity, and tobacco cessation, associated with better survivorship outcomes. 


Our Extramural Research program currently supports research and training in a wide range of cancer-related disciplines at 185 institutions. With an investment of more than $5 billion since 1946, ACS is the largest private, not-for-profit source of cancer research funds in the U.S., and has funded 49 researchers who have gone on to be awarded the Nobel Prize. The program primarily funds early career investigators, giving the best and the brightest a chance to explore cutting-edge ideas at a time when they might not find funding elsewhere. 

The Council for Extramural Research also approved 47 grant applications totaling $25,607,100 that could not be funded due to budgetary constraints. These “Pay-If” applications represent work that passed the Society’s multi-disciplinary review process but are beyond the Society’s current funding resources. They can be and often are subsidized by donors who wish to support research that would not otherwise be funded.  


  • New ACS analysis shows large declines in cancer mortality since 1971 Passage of National Cancer Act

    It’s been 50 years since President Nixon signed the National Cancer Act, launching the War on Cancer. How did we do? Substantial progress has been made in the war against cancer, according to new analysis from the American Cancer Society.

    Appearing online Nov. 11 in JAMA Oncology, the analysis found that as of 2019 mortality rates for all cancers combined dropped by 27% since 1971 and by 32% since 1991, when mortality rates were highest. Mortality rates have dropped since 1971 for 12 of 15 investigated cancer sites, including by as much as 70% for cervical and stomach cancer. However, rates increased in parts of the South and for pancreatic cancer and progress was limited for brain and esophageal cancers.

    “The increase in overall cancer mortality in many parts of the southern states suggests unequal dissemination of advances in cancer control like the availability of screening and therapeutic advances,” said Ahmedin Jemal, DVM, PhD, senior vice president of Surveillance and Health Equity Science, “whereas the continuous increase in pancreatic cancer mortality underscores the need for increased investment in the prevention, early detection, and treatment of this highly fatal disease.”

    The year 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the National Cancer Act of 1971, which designated defeating cancer as a national priority. The Act allocated substantial resources to the National Cancer Institute, which has seen a 25-fold annual budget increase since the law was enacted, from 227 million to 6.01 billion.

    ACS researchers, led by Tyler Kratzer, epidemiologist, analyzed national cancer mortality data from the National Center for Health Statistics for all cancers and for the top 15 sites in 1971, which accounted for 81% of cancer deaths at the time. Rate ratios and rate differences were calculated to compare mortality in 2019 to 1971 and rate peak years when applicable.

    Researchers credit the decline in mortality rates to improvements in prevention, early detection, and treatment. For example, the substantial declines in lung, oral cavity, and bladder cancer mortality largely reflect reductions in smoking due to enhanced public awareness of health consequences, increased cigarette excise taxes, and smoke-free laws, whereas the large declines in female breast and colorectal cancer mortality are mainly due to screening and advances in treatment.

    According to the authors, the findings demonstrate considerable progress in reducing cancer burden in the wake of expanded public investment following the passage of the National Cancer Act in 1971. Improving health equity through investment in social determinants of health and implementation research is critical to ensuring continued progress.


  • U.S. will miss 5% smoking prevalence target by 2030 without more cigarette tax hikes

    45 states need to impose annual cigarette excise rises of up to $1.37 a pack, finds analysis.

    The U.S. will miss its goal is to reduce U.S. adult cigarette smoking prevalence to 5% by 2030, known as Healthy People 2030, without hiking taxes on cigarettes, finds an analysis by Nigar Nargis, PhD, scientific director, Tobacco Control Research. It was published online on Nov. 11 in the journal Tobacco Control.

    Only five states and the District of Columbia (DC) are on track to meet this goal, and the other 45 states will need to raise excise taxes up to $1.37 a pack every year while continuing with other tobacco control measures if they are to do so, says the researcher.

    Dr. Nargis wanted to find out if this goal is achievable through hikes in state cigarette excise taxes. She compared trends in smoking prevalence for each state between 2011 and 2019 with the desired trends for achieving 5% smoking prevalence. 

    The current cigarette smoking prevalence varies widely, ranging from a low of around 7% in Utah to nearly 23% in West Virginia in 2021. The price-adjusted trend in cigarette smoking prevalence between 2011 and 2019 also varies widely from −1.13 percentage points (pp) in DC to 0.00 pp in Hawaii and Montana. The desired annual trends range from −0.23 pp in Utah to −1.97 pp in West Virginia. 

    The gaps between price-adjusted and desired trends were used to calculate the systematic annual increases in state cigarette excise tax that would be needed, alongside other tobacco control measures, such as a ban on smoking indoors, mass media campaigns, and smoking cessation support.

    The price-adjusted trends in smoking prevalence observed between 2011 and 2019 are on course to exceed the desired trends for achieving 5% smoking prevalence by 2030 in only five states, the analysis shows: Washington, Utah, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maryland, plus the DC. 

    This suggests that most states and the U.S. overall will miss the target at the current rate of reduction in smoking, with 45 states needing systematic annual increases in cigarette excise tax rate, ranging from  $0.02 to $1.37 a pack between 2022 and 2030.

    Only 22 states increased cigarette excise tax rates occasionally during 2011–2021, suggesting that "cigarette excise tax policy has remained a severely underused measure of tobacco control despite its proven effectiveness in reducing smoking and related health disparities.” 

    The analysis also suggests that the desired state average price for a pack of 20 cigarettes in 2030 will range from $6.13 to $18.43.

    Dr. Nargis acknowledges that there may be unintended and adverse financial consequences for the smokers who struggle to quit, specifically among those in the disadvantaged communities.

    “It is, therefore, crucial to scale up non-tax tobacco control measures targeted to disadvantaged communities, harmonise tax and price across neighbouring states, and monitor and counter tobacco industry interference to mitigate these unintended consequences of tax and price increases,” she said.


  • Lack of insurance blamed for lower screening rates among unemployed

    When people are unemployed and have health insurance, they have screening rates that are similar to employed adults.

    In a recent study, unemployed individuals were less likely to have health insurance and to be up-to-date on getting recommended cancer screening tests. Analyses revealed that their lack of health insurance coverage completely accounted for their lower screening rates. The findings are published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society. 

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. unemployment rates have risen to levels not seen since the Great Depression. To examine associations between unemployment, health insurance, and cancer screening, Stacey Fedewa, PhD, of the American Cancer Society, pictured here, and her colleagues analyzed information from adults under age 65 years who responded to the 2000–2018 National Health Interview Survey, a nationally representative annual survey of the general population.

    Unemployed adults were four times more likely to lack insurance than employed adults (41.4% versus 10.0%). A lower proportion of unemployed adults had received up-to-date cervical (78.5% versus 86.2%), breast (67.8% versus 77.5%), colorectal (41.9% versus 48.5%), and prostate (25.4% versus 36.4%) cancer screening. These difference were eliminated after accounting for health insurance coverage.

    “People who were unemployed at the time of the survey were less likely to have a recent and be up-to-date screening prevalence. This suggests that being unemployment at a single point in time may hinder both recent and potentially longer-term screening practices,” said Dr. Fedewa. This can increase a person’s risk of being diagnosed with late-stage cancer, which is more difficult to treat than cancer that is detected at an early stage.

    “Our finding that insurance coverage fully accounted for unemployed adults’ lower cancer screening utilization is potentially good news, because it’s modifiable,” Dr. Fedewa added. “When people are unemployed and have health insurance, they have screening rates that are similar to employed adults.”


  • Report highlights the immense economic burden of cancer

    Prevention is key to lowering out-of-pocket costs.

    Part 2 of the latest Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer finds that cancer patients in the U.S. shoulder a large amount of cancer care costs. In 2019, the national patient economic burden associated with cancer care was $21.09 billion, made up of patient out-of-pocket costs of $16.22 billion and patient time costs of $4.87 billion. Patient time costs reflect the value of time that patients spend traveling to and from health care, waiting for care, and receiving care, according to the report.

    Appearing October 26, 2021, in JNCI: The Journal of the National Cancer Institute, this most comprehensive examination of patient economic burden for cancer care to date includes information on patient out-of-pocket spending by cancer site, stage of disease at diagnosis, and phase of care. While this analysis is about the costs that are directly incurred by patients, which are critical to patient finances, the total overall costs of cancer care and lost productivity in the U.S. are much larger.

    Among adults aged 65 years and older who had Medicare coverage, average annualized net out-of-pocket costs for medical services and prescription drugs, across all cancer sites, were highest in the initial phase of care, defined as the first 12 months following diagnosis ($2,200 and $243, respectively), and the end-of-life phase, defined as the 12 months before death among survivors who died ($3,823 and $448, respectively), and lowest in the continuing phase, the months between the initial and end-of-life phases ($466 and $127, respectively). Across all cancer sites, average annualized net patient out-of-pocket costs for medical services in the initial and end-of-life phases of care were lowest for patients originally diagnosed with localized disease compared with more advanced stage disease.

    “As the costs of cancer treatment continue to rise, greater attention to addressing patient medical financial hardship, including difficulty paying medical bills, high levels of financial distress, and delaying care or forgoing care altogether because of cost, is warranted,” said Karen E. Knudsen, MBA, PhD., chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society. “These findings can help inform efforts to minimize the patient economic burden of cancer, and specific estimates may be useful in studies of the cost-effectiveness of interventions related to cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship care.”

    The annual report is a collaborative effort among the American Cancer Society; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health; and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries. The report provides annual information about cancer occurrence and trends in the U.S. Part 1 of this annual report, released in July 2021, focused on national cancer statistics. 

    Analyses of the differences in patient economic burden by cancer type found substantial variation in patient out-of-pocket costs, reflecting differences in treatment intensity and duration as well as survival. In 2019, national out-of-pocket costs were highest for breast ($3.14 billion), prostate ($2.26 billion), colorectal ($1.46 billion), and lung ($1.35 billion) cancers, reflecting the higher prevalence of these cancers. 

    “In the modern era of cancer research, we have to think about treatment costs and how they impact our patients. As exciting and promising as cancer research is, we are keenly aware of the issue of financial toxicity for these patients,” said Norman E. “Ned” Sharpless, MD, director of NCI. “Therapies that are highly effective are no doubt good news, but if they are unaffordable it is not the total kind of progress we would like to see. Finding ways to ensure that not just some, but all, patients get access to therapies that are beneficial to them is an important goal we must continue to strive for in the cancer community. This report will help guide us toward achieving that goal.”

    “The cost of having cancer is enormous and an extreme burden on people and families, particularly for those who are uninsured or underinsured. Prevention is key to lowering out-of-pocket costs,” said Karen Hacker, MD, MPH, director of CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. “Unfortunately, we know that many of these same people also have lower cancer screening use and may end up paying more for their cancer care. Access to the right cancer screening tests at the right time is an important step toward health equity, and we must work to make this a reality.”

    The authors say that, in addition to morbidity and mortality from cancer and cost of cancer treatment by insurance carriers, out-of-pocket and patient time costs are other metrics that highlight the immense economic burden of cancer—making it a public health priority. Estimates of patient out-of-pocket and time costs can inform discussions between providers and patients about expected costs of treatment, an important element of high-quality care.

    For more information about the report, see: https://seer.cancer.gov/report_to_nation/.

    Also, read the accompanying editorial in the Oct. 26 edition of JNCI: Addressing Cancer Financial Hardship Begins With Comprehensive Assessment of Patient Economic Burden by Ya-Chen Tina Shih, PhD, and Joseph Lipscomb, PhD.


    Article: Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, Part II: Patient Economic Burden Associated With Cancer Care. JNCI 2021 Oct 26DOI: 10.1093/jnci/djab192.


    About the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): CDC works 24/7 protecting America’s health, safety, and security. Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are curable or preventable, chronic or acute, or from human activity or deliberate attack, CDC responds to America’s most pressing health threats. CDC is headquartered in Atlanta and has experts located throughout the U.S. and the world. 

    About the National Cancer Institute (NCI): NCI leads the National Cancer Program and NIH’s efforts to dramatically reduce the prevalence of cancer and improve the lives of cancer patients and their families, through research into prevention and cancer biology, the development of new interventions, and the training and mentoring of new researchers. 

    About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. 

    About the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR): The North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, Inc., is a professional organization that develops and promotes uniform data standards for cancer registration; provides education and training; certifies population-based registries; aggregates and publishes data from central cancer registries; and promotes the use of cancer surveillance data and systems for cancer control and epidemiologic research, public health programs, and patient care to reduce the burden of cancer in North America. 


  • Quitting smoking before 40 reduces excess risk of cancer death by 90%

    New ACS study underscores the power of quitting, even well into adulthood.

    A new American Cancer Society study finds that smokers are at a higher risk – three times more likely – to die of cancer than individuals who have never smoked. But the study also shows that individuals who quit smoking before age 40 can avoid about 90% of the excess risk of dying from cancer that would be expected if they continued to smoke. 

    According to the data, people who started to smoke at earlier ages had even greater likelihood of dying from cancer. Those who began at the youngest ages (before age 10 years) had four times the cancer mortality rates in adulthood of those who had never smoked. However, individuals who quit smoking avoided most of this excess risk, especially those who quit at younger ages. 

    To examine these relationships, investigators led by Blake Thomson, DPhil, principal scientist at ACS, looked at the association between age at smoking initiation and cessation and cancer mortality at ages 25 to 79 years. The study, appearing in JAMA Oncology, is one of the largest studies on smoking in the U.S. population using nationally representative data.

    Among individuals who currently smoked, smoking caused an estimated 75% of cancer deaths among those who started smoking before the age of 10 years, and 59% of cancer deaths among those who started at age 21 years and older. The researchers found that those who quit smoking at ages 15-34, 35-44, 45-54, and 55-64 years avoided an estimated 100%, 89%, 78% and 56%, respectively, of the excess cancer mortality risk associated with continued smoking.

    “These findings reinforce that starting to smoke at any age is extremely hazardous, but smokers who quit – especially at younger ages – can avoid most of the cancer mortality risk associated with continued smoking,” the authors concluded.

    According to Dr. Thomson, “Widespread smoking cessation among individuals who currently smoke could substantially reduce cancer mortality in the coming years, accelerating progress on reducing the burden of cancer mortality in the United States.”


    Article: Thomson B, Emberson J, Lacey B, Lewington S, Peto R, Islami F. Association of Smoking Initiation and Cessation Across the Life Course and Cancer Mortality: Prospective Study of 410,000 US Adults. JAMA Oncology. doi: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2021.4949.


  • ACS & Flatiron Health announce Real-World Data Impact Award recipients

    ​Three grantees will research treatment and disparities among patients with advanced pancreatic and breast cancers.

    The American Cancer Society and Flatiron Health announced today that the 2021 Real-World Data Impact Awards will support research into health disparities among patients with advanced pancreatic and breast cancer.

    This year marks the third year of the joint grant-making program, under which ACS-funded researchers have the opportunity to apply for additional funding and access to Flatiron real-world data.

    Eligible applicants are ACS awardees experienced in health-services and observational research who are encouraged to submit proposals that address health disparities.

    The 2021 grants have been awarded to:

    • Shannon Lynch, PhD, MPH, assistant professor, Cancer Prevention and Control at Fox Chase Cancer Center. She will study patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer, investigating possible differences in time to first treatment, number of lines of chemotherapy, first and second line therapy regimens, and hospice use by race, ethnicity and insurance status.

    • Dawn Hershman, MD, MS, FASCO, professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at Columbia University, who will study how the use, toxicity, and efficacy of oral antineoplastic drugs impacts Black and Hispanic patients, compared to Non-Hispanic-white patients, with advanced breast cancer.

    • Roger Anderson, PhD, professor of Medicine at the University of Virginia, who will explore patterns of care related to tumor, patient, and demographic characteristics focused on the use of CDK4/6i for hormone-receptor-positive patients with metastatic breast cancer.

    "Flatiron Health is honored to partner with ACS to leverage Flatiron's EHR-derived real-world data to advance research toward better and more equitable cancer treatments and outcomes," said Rebecca Miksad, MD, MPH, senior medical director at Flatiron Health. "RWD can help the field learn more about health disparities to inform effective action to address them."

    The 2021 Real-World Data Impact Award grantees will each receive $75,000 and access to a Flatiron de-identified dataset derived specific to their research questions from the health records of patients with cancer treated in both community clinics and academic medical centers. Additionally, awardees will have access to Flatiron and ACS clinical and methodological experts. 

    Recipients of the 2020 Real-World Data Impact Awards, including Siran M. Koroukian-Hajinazarian, PhD, and Kale Minal, MD, recently had research published in ASCO's Journal of Clinical Oncology and AACR's Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Preventionrespectively.

    The joint grant-making program supports Flatiron's and ACS' goals of accelerating cancer research and improving treatment and outcomes for patients.

    About Flatiron
    Flatiron Health is a health tech company dedicated to delivering better care for patients today and tomorrow. Through clinical and data science, it translates patient experiences into real-world evidence to improve treatment, inform policy, and advance research. It is an independent affiliate of the Roche Group.


  • ACS study estimates number of cancer cases attributable to physical inactivity

    By state, the proportion of cancer cases attributable to physical inactivity ranged from 2.3% in Utah to 3.7% in Kentucky.

    A new report finds more than 46,000 cancer cases annually in the U.S. could be prevented if Americans met the 5 hours per week of moderate-intensity recommended physical activity guidelines

    The latest data appearing in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise show 3% of all cancer cases in U.S. adults aged 30 years and older during 2013 to 2016 were attributable to physical inactivity. The proportion was higher in women (average annual attributable cases 32,089) compared to men (14,277).

    For both men and women, states with the highest proportion of cancers attributable to physical inactivity were in the South: Kentucky, West Virginia, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Mississippi. The lowest proportions were found in the Mountain region and northern states: Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Washington, and Wisconsin.

    Led by Adair Minihan, MPH, at the American Cancer Society, this is the first study to estimate the number of cancer cases attributable to physical inactivity based on cancer sites (breast, endometrial, colon, stomach, kidney, esophageal adenocarcinoma, and urinary bladder) by state. Data show that 16.9% of stomach cancers, 11.9% of endometrial cancers, 11.0% of kidney cancers, 9.3% of colon cancers, 8.1% of esophageal cancers, 6.5% of female breast cancers, and 3.9% of urinary bladder cancers were associated with lack of exercise. By state, the proportion of cancer cases attributable to physical inactivity ranged from 2.3% in Utah to 3.7% in Kentucky.

    While this data shows the importance of physical activity, there are many barriers to recreational physical activity, including a lack of time due to long working hours in low-wage jobs, the cost of gym memberships or personal equipment, lack of access to a safe environment in which to be active, and potential childcare costs involved with recreational physical activity. Unfortunately, these barriers are more likely to affect historically marginalized populations, including the Black population and individuals with a limited income, underscoring the importance of enhancing health equity.

    “These findings underscore the need to encourage physical activity as a means of cancer prevention and implement individual- and community-level interventions that address the various behavioral and socioeconomic barriers to recreational physical activity,” write the authors. “Understanding and reducing the behavioral and socioeconomic barriers to physical activity is essential for optimizing intervention strategies targeting at risk groups across the country.”


    Article: Minihan AK, Patel AV, Flanders WD, Sauer AG, Jemal A, Islami F. Proportion of Cancer Cases Attributable to Physical Inactivity by US State, 2013-2016.  Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000002801.


  • ACS/ACS CAN statement on retirement of NIH director Francis Collins

    Dr. Collins is the longest serving presidentially appointed NIH director.

    Our CEO, Dr. Karen E. Knudsen, MBA, PhD, released the following statement today in response to the announcement that Francis Collins, MD, PhD, pictured above, will be stepping down by the end of the year as the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He has held that position for more than 12 years. Read the NIH press release on Dr. Collins' retirement.


    “For more than a decade, Dr. Collins has provided exemplary leadership and stewardship as head of the NIH, the nation’s top medical research engine and the driving force behind numerous recent breakthroughs in cancer treatment and prevention through the National Cancer Institute.

    “During his tenure as director, Dr. Collins has overseen an increase in NIH funding from $29.5 billion to $43 billion, and has successfully shepherded the creation and implementation of numerous significant research initiatives. Among the most significant to cancer is the Cancer Moonshot, which has already funded more than 240 research projects and helped speed the development of improved and new uses for immunotherapies, boosted research efforts into childhood cancer, and worked to expand the use of early cancer detection strategies.

    “Additionally, Dr. Collins’ leadership helped ensure that years of NIH research into coronaviruses was quickly put to work developing safe and effective COVD-19 vaccines in partnership with industry. The critical science that led to an accelerated pathway to these vaccines is an essential component to curbing the pandemic and ensuring everyone, including cancer patients, can safely access necessary medical care and build a healthy future.

    “Before his tenure as NIH director, Dr. Collins worked for decades as a researcher, contributing to critical science, most notably for his leadership on the Human Genome project that is the direct result of the federal government's essential year-over-year investment in medical discovery.

    “We extend our gratitude to Dr. Collins for dedicating his career to the advancement of medical science in public service and look forward to working with the next director to continue the advancement of medical research, cancer breakthroughs, and the lifesaving work of the NIH.”


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