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VOICES of Black Women study launches to national media coverage

Highlights of news include GMA, Forbes, NBC, and USA Today.

The American Cancer Society announced publicly our historic VOICES of Black Women study on Tuesday, May 7. Within minutes of its release, national news media outlets were sharing details of the study’s objectives and enrollment. Highlights include:



  • VOICES of Black Women study launches

    ACS launches historic population study to drive deeper understanding of cancer disparities.

    This week, the American Cancer Society officially launched the VOICES of Black Women study, designed to help better understand the multi-level drivers of incidence, mortality, and resilience of cancer and other health conditions among Black women in the United States, so we can better understand how to collectively address them.

    This historic study will be the largest cohort study of cancer risk and outcomes among Black women in the United States. The study launched with a pilot in fall 2023 and officially kicked off nationwide on May 6, 2024, with activation scheduled in four waves throughout the summer and into early fall.

    With this study, ACS has a goal to enroll 100,000 Black women across 20 states and D.C., where, according the US Census, more than 90 percent of Black women in the US reside. Recruitment is open to Black women ages 25 to 55 who live in these geographic areas and have not been diagnosed with cancer (except basal or squamous skin cancer). This recruitment model is designed to help enroll women of diverse backgrounds.

    This study is designed to be transformative in helping ACS learn more about why Black women have some of the highest death rates and shortest survival of any racial or ethnic group in the US for most cancers.

    Feedback from the pilot recruitment efforts this fall show women are responding positively to the opportunity to enroll, said Dr. Alpa Patel, study principal investigator and senior vice president, Population Science. ACS team members have been working hard throughout the winter and spring to prepare for the launch since the pilot, with trainings offered for both all team members and specific, cross-functional key groups across the organization. 

    ACS team members are also prepping VOICES ambassadors – a core group of trusted volunteer messengers who will work with VOICES market teams to promote the study in their personal and professional circles. About 40 ambassadors are being trained to date. 

    What can you do to help? 

    • On Tuesday, May 7 and later, share VOICES with your networks on social media and elsewhere. Watch ACS brand social channels for content you can share. Please do not edit available materials.
    • No matter your role at ACS, we all have a role to play in VOICES. Think outside the box for ways you can help. What personal or professional connections do you have that may help further this work?
    • If you live in one of the 20 VOICES priority markets or in Washington, D.C., we particularly need your support.
      1. Check out the VOICES My Society Source page for resources and more information on the study.
      2. Watch for Region and state-specific updates throughout the campaign with actionable information specific to your area.
    • Stay tuned to My Society Source for the latest VOICES updates throughout the remainder of the year.


  • Discovery news briefs

    ACS Discovery Pillar work was noted in publications and received recognition.

    • ACS Journal Cancer published a randomized controlled trial funded by ACS that showed the results of virtual reality for pain management in hospitalized patients with cancer.
    • City of Hope and DELFI Diagnostics announced a collaboration, funded by a Discovery Boost grant from ACS, to improve lung cancer screening rates in underserved areas of Los Angeles.
    • Scientific Director, Health Services Research, Dr. Leitia Nogueira spoke with Cancer Today magazine and Global Environmental Health Chat podcast concerning climate change and cancer care.
    • What factors contribute to differences in cervical cancer screening in rural and urban community health centers? A new ACS study highlights the need for tailored interventions to increase screening rates. Read more in ACS Journal Cancer. 

  • Cancer survivors reporting loneliness experience higher mortality risk, new study shows

    There is a need to screen for loneliness and provide support to those survivors in need, researchers say.

    A new study led by ACS researchers showed people surviving cancer who reported feeling more lonely experienced a higher mortality risk compared to survivors reporting low or no loneliness. Researchers observed the highest mortality risk among the group reporting the highest levels of loneliness, even after adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics. The findings were published April 25 in the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (JNCCN).

    “Loneliness, the feeling of being isolated, is a prevalent concern among cancer survivors as a cancer diagnosis and its subsequent treatment can result in long-term adverse health effects, which can negatively affect survivors’ social relationships and contribute to loneliness” said Jingxuan Zhaosenior associate scientist, health services research at the American Cancer Society and lead author of the study. “There are more than 18 million cancer survivors in the U.S. and that number is expected to increase to 22 million by 2030. We need to address this critical issue now.”

    “Investing in patient navigation services is critical to helping ensure a better treatment experience and better health outcomes including helping patients with social and emotional needs,” said Lisa A. Lacasse, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), ACS’s advocacy affiliate. “No one should have to take on cancer alone and having a patient navigator helps ensure no one has to by providing necessary support throughout a complex and confusing diagnosis.”

    Dr. Robin Yabroff is senior author of the study. Dr. Xuesong Han is a contributing author.

    Like and share this news on X.


  • New study uncovers lasting financial hardship associated with cancer diagnosis

    ​​Researchers stress need for interventions to help assist working age adults and their families.

    A new study led by ACS researchers highlights the lasting financial impact of a cancer diagnosis for many working-age adults and their families in the United States. It shows a cancer diagnosis and the time required for its treatment can result in employment disruptions, loss of household income and loss of employment-based health insurance coverage, leading to financial hardship. When combined with high out-of-pocket costs for cancer care, nearly 60% of working-age cancer survivors report at least one type of financial hardship, such as being unable to afford medical bills, distress and worry, or delaying or forgoing needed care because of cost. The findings were published April 23 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

    “While the rising costs of cancer care and subsequent medical financial hardship for cancer survivors and families are well-documented in the United States, little attention has been paid to how employment and household income can be affected  by a cancer diagnosis and treatment,” said lead study author Dr. Robin Yabroff, scientific vice president, health services research at the American Cancer Society. “With nearly half of cancer survivors of working age and not yet age-eligible for Medicare coverage, understanding the potential effects of cancer diagnosis and treatment on employment, income, and access to employer-based health insurance coverage is essential.”

    “Today’s findings reiterate the critical role access to affordable, quality care and paid family medical leave plays in reducing the financial toll of cancer on those diagnosed – particularly while they are of working age,” said Lisa Lacasse, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). “A majority of cancer patients and survivors (74%) report being forced to miss work due to their illness, most of whom report missing more than four weeks of work, according to an ACS CAN study. No one should be forced to choose between their treatment and their employment. To truly protect patients from the high costs of cancer, Congress must enact paid family and medical leave as well as provide tangible options for affordable health coverage outside of employer-sponsored plans by making permanent the enhanced Marketplace subsidies that allow millions who otherwise have no affordable coverage option to enroll in Marketplace plans.”

    Other ACS authors involved in this study include: Jingxuan ZhaoDr. Xuesong Han and Dr. Zhiyuan Zheng.

    The new study was covered by USA Today. Like and share on X.


  • Inaugural report examines cancer mortality rates in AANHPI populations

    Alarming statistics emphasize need for data to develop targeted prevention and detection responses.

    A first-of-its-kind Cancer Facts & Figures for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Other Pacific Islander People, 2024-2026 report shows cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the United States nationally but ranks first in Chinese, Filipino, Korean, and Vietnamese individuals, with lung cancer the leading cause of death in men of every Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Other Pacific Islander (AANHPI) ethnic group.

    For women, the report also shows lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women who are Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Native Hawaiian. In Guamanian, Samoan, Filipino, and Asian Indian women, breast cancer ranks first.

    The AANHPI cancer burden

    The report, announced May 1, reflects a variety of alarming statistics and American Cancer Society researchers emphasize the need for disaggregated data to develop targeted prevention and detection responses.

    In 2021, approximately 24 million Asian American and 1.7 million Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander individuals (single or mixed race) lived in the U.S., representing about 8% of the population. Aside from multiracial people, Asian Americans are the fastest-growing population in the U.S., with the size projected to double between 2016 and 2060, mostly through international migration. 

    Key findings of the report include:

    • Cancer is the leading cause of death for Chinese, Filipino, Vietnamese, and Korean individuals.
    • Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in men and women of every Asian American and Pacific Islander ethnic group except for Chamorro/Guamanian, Samoan, Asian Indian, and Filipino women, among whom breast cancer leads.
    • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander individuals are 7% less likely to die from cancer than White individuals, but 2.5 to 3.3 times more likely to die from cervical, stomach, and uterine corpus cancers, 75% more likely to die from liver cancer, and 30% more likely to die from breast cancer.
    • Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women of every Asian American and NHPI ethnic group, ranging from 17% of all cancers among Hmong women to 44% among Fijian women.
    • The most commonly diagnosed cancer in AANHPI men is prostate cancer (as in the overall U.S. male population) with the exception of Chinese, Vietnamese, Laotian, and Chamorro/Guamanian men, among whom lung cancer ranks first, and Korean, Hmong, and Cambodian men, among whom colorectal cancer ranks first.
    • The 5-year relative survival rate for breast cancer ranges from 72%-74% in Tongan, Chamorro/Guamanian, and Samoan women to 94% in Japanese women (versus 93% in White women.)
    • Colorectal cancer 5-year survival ranges from 48% in Cambodian people to 71% in Pakistani people (versus 65% in White people.)
    • Despite Asian Americans overall having a 40% lower overall cancer death rate than the White population, liver cancer mortality is nearly 40% higher, and stomach cancer mortality is twice as high.

    “It’s essential that we acknowledge the diversity of the Asian American and NHPI population. Consideration of cultural appropriateness, translation into native languages, improved access to healthcare and patient navigation, could help increase knowledge and uptake of cancer screening and preventive services,” said Dr. Ahmedin Jemal, senior vice president, surveillance and health equity science at the American Cancer Society and a contributing author of the report. “Further research is also needed among the ethnic groups of this highly diverse population to better understand the cancer burden and help save lives.”

    Researcher Rebecca Siegel, ACS senior scientific director, surveillance research, was a senior author of the report. 

    For these important findings, ACS researchers analyzed data from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR).

    Like and share the news on X.


  • ACS supports updated USPSTF breast cancer screening guidelines

    Further research in this area is needed to help make informative decisions.​

    The American Cancer Society on April 30 commended the United States Preventive Services Task Force’s (USPSTF) updated recommendations for breast cancer screening for lowering the age to begin mammography screening to age 40, which is more consistent with ACS guidelines. Learn more here.

    “The USPSTF decision today is a critical change concerning women’s health and the fight against breast cancer, acknowledging that women in their 40s will benefit from mammography screening, and sending a strong message to referring physicians and women that breast cancer screening should begin earlier than age 50,” ACS Chief Executive Officer Dr. Karen Knudsen said in a statement. “Mammography screening is the cornerstone of our strategy to find this potentially deadly disease early, when it’s easier to treat successfully.”

    Breast cancer is the second most common cancer and the second most common cause of cancer death for women in the United States. Mammography continues to be the best screening tool to detect breast cancer and save lives. ACS breast cancer screening guidelines already call for women at average risk to have the opportunity to begin annual breast cancer screening at age 40, with regular screening beginning for all women at age 45.

    Dr. Knudsen continued, “However, we are disappointed that the updated USPSTF screening recommendations do not include women over the age of 74. Millions of women over age 75 are in very good health and are expected to live many more years during which their risk of breast cancer remains high. The ACS does not support stopping screening for anyone with a 10+ year life expectancy irrespective of age.”

    “We are encouraged that among the reasons for the USPSTF changes in their breast cancer screening recommendations include eliminating health disparities, especially among Black women, who are 40% more likely to die of breast cancer compared with White women and have a higher risk of aggressive breast cancers at all ages,” Dr. Knudsen said. “This is an important step, but much more needs to be done to protect this vulnerable population of women. We also join with the USPSTF in their urgent call for further research in this area to help make informative decisions to protect women from breast cancer.”


  • ACS scientists presenting advancements at AACR Annual Meeting

    This year's theme? 'Inspiring Science, Fueling Progress, and Revolutionizing Care.'

    American Cancer Society scientists are presenting research studies at the annual meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR), April 5 - 10 in San Diego, CA. The meeting is the focal point of the cancer research community, where scientists, clinicians, other health care professionals, survivors, patients, and advocates gather to share the latest advances in cancer science and medicine. This year’s conference theme is “Inspiring Science, Fueling Progress, and Revolutionizing Care.”

    ACS members are attending lectures, symposiums, and educational sessions at the meeting. Check out some photos from the event below. 

    And, follow the conversation on X with the ACS Research and ACS News accounts. 

    ACS AACR members also are presenting important cancer research information and studies including these highlighted abstracts detailed below.

    Area deprivation, rurality, healthcare utilization, quality of life, and health status among cancer patients
    Presenter: Dr. Hyunjung Lee, April 7
    In this study, cancer patients living in deprived or rural areas were less likely to have general doctor or mental health professional visits and more likely to have poor physical health. Community-level intervention to improve social mobility and access to care in deprived or rural areas are required to mitigate disparities in healthcare and health among cancer patients. 

    Associations of radiotherapy with the risk of subtype-specific lung cancer among breast cancer survivors in the United States
    Presenter: Chenxi Jiang, April 8
    Abstract is embargoed until presentation time.   

    Loneliness, quality of life, and physical and mental health among cancer patients
    Presenter: Dr. Hyunjung Lee, April 8
    In this study, lonely patients with cancer were more likely to have poor quality of life, poor mental and physical health, and severe pain and fatigue. These findings underscore the significance of policy and clinical interventions to alleviate negative effect of loneliness on health outcomes among cancer patients.

    Developmental and prospective validation of an estrogen receptor positive breast cancer risk model to identify women who could benefit for risk-reducing therapies
    Presenter: Dr. Parichoy Pal Choudhury, April 8
    Findings suggest that ER-specific risk scores might not offer a substantial advantage compared to overall risk scores to identify women eligible for risk-reducing therapies. Further risk-benefit analyses are needed to quantify the potential gains of predicting ER+ vs overall breast cancer. 

    Genetic predisposition to obesity and survival in women with breast cancer
    Presenter:  Dr. Clara Bodelon, April 8
    Women with breast cancer predisposed to a higher BMI (Body Mass Index) were at increased risk of all-cause mortality. ABMI-related PRS may be a useful tool to identify women with breast cancer in need of additional interventions and/or surveillance.

    Factors modifying the association between hormonal contraception and risk of early-onset breast cancer
    Presenter: Dr. Lauren Teras, April 8
    These data suggest that risks may vary with progestin content and future studies are needed to define formulations that minimize breast cancer risk while still maximizing protection against other female cancers. 

    Overview of medical financial hardship following cancer diagnosis
    Chairperson/Presenter: Dr. Robin Yabroff, April 8
    The Forum will provide information about the definition, types, and prevalence of medical financial hardship following a cancer diagnosis and evidence about its association with adverse patient outcomes, including worse health-related quality of life and symptom severity, disruptions to medical care, and higher mortality risk.

    Incidence and trends in subsequent primary lung cancer by sex in the United States
    Presenter: Dr. Hyuna Sung, April 9
    Abstract is embargoed until presentation time.

    Trends in hematological cancer subtype mortality by educational attainment and sex in the United States, 2000-2020
    Presenter: Dr. Emily Marlow, April 9
    Hematological cancer mortality rates were highest among males and those with least education. In general, mortality rates have declined in recent years for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, myeloma, and leukemia for males and females among all educational attainment groups, while Hodgkin’s lymphoma has shown a slight increasing trend among least educated males and females.

    Awards:

    Dr. Robin Yabroff, pictured at right, was presented with the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention (CEBP) Frederick P. Li Impact Award for her research paper entitled, “Medical Care Costs Associated with Cancer Survivorship in the United States.” The award was given during the Reception and Scientific Achievement Awards Recognition Dinner on Saturday, April 6.


  • ACS releases new Global Cancer Facts & Figures report

    Cancer cases expected to rise to 35 million worldwide by 2050.

    Close to 20 million cancer cases were newly diagnosed in 2022 around the world and 9.7 million people died from the disease, according to the newest edition of Global Cancer Statistics 2024, released April 4 in CA: A Cancer Journal for CliniciansThe report is authored by American Cancer Society researchers and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), and accompanied by a consumer-friendly companion publication, Global Cancer Facts & Figures 5th Edition. 

    The global cancer burden 

    The report also showed other key trends on the global cancer burden, which is expected to reach 35 million cancer cases by 2050. 

    • Every day in 2022, approximately 1,800 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer and almost 1,000 women died from the disease worldwide. Cervical cancer continues to be the leading cause of cancer death in women in 37 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and in Latin America. Incidence rates are highest in Eswatini, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania (65 to 96 per 100,000), 10 to 16 times higher than in the United States (6 per 100,000).
    • Globally, only 15% of eligible girls have received the vaccine against the human papillomavirus (HPV), with coverage varying from 1% in Central and Southern Asia to 86% in Australia and New Zealand. Likewise, only 36% of women worldwide have undergone screening for cervical cancer with substantial disparities across countries. For example, only 4% of screening eligible women have been screened for cervical cancer in Ethiopia, compared with nearly 100% of women in Sweden and The Netherlands.
    • Many low-income countries have high cancer mortality rates despite low cancer incidence, largely due to lack of or inadequate early detection and treatment services. For example, breast cancer mortality rate is twice as high in Ethiopia than in the United States (24 versus 12 per 100,000), despite a 60% lower incidence rate in Ethiopia (40 versus 100 per 100,000). 
    • Lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer death overall and in men worldwide, with almost 2.5 million cases (1 in 8 cancers) and 1.8 million deaths (1 in 5 deaths). In males, it is followed by prostate and colorectal cancers for incidence and by liver and colorectal cancers for mortality. In females, however, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer death, followed by lung, colorectal and cervical cancers.

    “This rise in projected cancer cases by 2050 is solely due to the aging and growth of the population, assuming current incidence rates remain unchanged,” said Dr. Hyuna Sung, ACS senior principal scientist, cancer surveillance and co-author of the report. “Notably, the prevalence of major risk factors such as consumption of unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, heavy alcohol consumption, and cigarette smoking are increasing in many parts of the world and will likely exacerbate the future burden of cancer barring any large-scale interventions. 

    Prevention and tobacco control are two key strategies for addressing this growing global cancer burden, said Dr. Ahmedin Jemal, ACS senior vice president of surveillance and health equity science and senior author of the study.

    “With more than half of cancer deaths worldwide being potentially preventable, prevention offers the most cost-effective and sustainable strategy for cancer control,” he said. “Elimination of tobacco use alone could prevent 1 in 4 cancer deaths or approximately 2.6 million cancer deaths annually.”

    How ACS is working globally 

    ACS is working around the globe to end cancer as we know it, for everyone. The organization:

    • Is focused on global cancer prevention, treatment, and patient support.
    • Has a commitment to health equity at the core of our mission, and we collaborate with partners in low- and middle-income countries to reduce the stark disparities in cancer outcomes.
    • Engages global cancer organizations to advocate for cervical cancer elimination, such as through co-chairing Cervical Cancer Action for Elimination (CCAE) with Cancer Research UK to engage and activate civil society organizations to accelerate efforts to achieve the WHO's global strategy to eliminate cervical cancer.
    • Promotes the demand and uptake of HPV vaccination and screening to prevent cervical cancer with a focus on lower- and middle- income countries (LMICs) – from India, to Kenya, to Colombia.
    • Supports the African Cancer Coalition’s effort to develop and disseminate national policies and the NCCN Harmonized Guidelines for Sub-Saharan Africa.
    • Helps improve access to essential cancer medicines.
    • Provides healthcare professionals in Africa with education on the safe use of pain medicines, resulting in significant improvements in average pain scores among patients through the Treat the Pain initiative.
    • Prepares and equips health professionals, hospitals, and cancer organizations to provide effective patient-centered cancer education, such as through the Enabling Quality Interactions between Providers and Patients through Education Delivery (EQUIPPED) Initiative.
    • Expands patient navigation implementation to LMICs, such as through the Building Expertise, Advocacy, and Capacity for Oncology Navigation (BEACON) Initiative.

    ACS researcher Rebecca Siegel was a co-author on Global Cancer Statistics 2024Chenxi Jiang contributed to the study. 

    Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Bill Dahut spoke with CNN about the announcement. Like and share the news on X.


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