Sign In

Research

Breaking News

IARC report finds firefighting carcinogenic to humans

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) (the cancer agency of the World Health Organization) announced late last week it has classified occupational exposure as a firefighter as carcinogenic to humans. This is the first time an independent body of researchers has made this recognition.

The American Cancer Society relies on determinations of groups like IARC to determine known and probable carcinogens.

ACS senior scientific director, epidemiology research, Lauren Teras, PhD, was a member of the working group from eight countries which convened to evaluate available scientific literature and make an assessment on the issue. The group found “sufficient evidence” for cancer in humans for mesothelioma and bladder cancer; and limited evidence for cancer in humans for colon, prostate, and testicular cancers, melanoma of the skin, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. They rated occupational exposure as a firefighter as “group 1” on the IARC rating scale, indicating the highest level of certainty that something can cause cancer.

A summary article of this group’s work has been published in The Lancet Oncology

This topic is of particular interest to the American Cancer Society, which launched a collaboration in December 2021 with the International Association of Fire Fighters to help firefighters and emergency medical services personnel with detection, prevention, and treatment of cancer. The two organizations developed a comprehensive online resource that includes the latest support for cancer in the fire service, patient support services, prevention programs, and other important information for IAFF members facing a cancer diagnosis.

For more information on this topic please see:

IARC press release

IARC Q and A document.

  • ACS researchers offer new perspective on breast cancer in Black women

    American Cancer Society researchers collaborated with scientists from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio on a recent study showing the high burden of breast cancer mortality in African American (Black) women versus White women began in the US in the 1980s.  

     

    Before 1980, Black women had lower breast cancer mortality, the study shows. Beginning in the 1980s, mammography and treatments became more available in this country, yet unequally among Black and White women. The piece was published Saturday in the New England Journal of Medicine 

     

    Dr. Ahmedin Jemal, senior vice president, surveillance and health equity science at ACS (pictured), was the senior author of the study. Dr. Hyuna Sung is co-author of the study.  

     

    ““Black women continue to have a disproportionate high burden of breast cancer mortality largely because of lack of health insurance and other socioeconomic barriers that limit access to high-quality care,” Dr. Jemal said. “To break down disparities in cancer outcomes, it is crucial to increase access to care for underserved populations and develop mechanisms to reverse course, from requirements for increased diversity in clinical trials to health system financial incentives for equitable care.” 

     

    For more information, please read the complete press release. 


  • New ACS-led report: Number of cancer survivors on the rise

    The American Cancer Society released a new version of its Cancer Treatment & Survivorship Facts and Figures today, based on a new report led by ACS researchers in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute. The report shows more than 18 million Americans (8.3 million males and 9.7 million females) with a history of cancer were living in the US as of January 1, 2022, with a little more than 12 million – more than two-thirds (67%) – aged 65 or older. More than one half (53%) of survivors were diagnosed in the past decade. 

     

    The study also found substantial racial disparities in treatment and survival for common cancers. Findings were published today in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. The Cancer Facts & Figures publication is designed as a companion consumer version. This data is not meant to be used as a measure of progress by itself against cancer because the increase in part reflects population growth. 

     

    Cancer Treatment & Survivorship Facts & Figures provides cancer prevalence estimates for the United States, as well as information about treatment patterns, survival, and common concerns for the most prevalent cancers, including side effects of treatment. ACS and the NCI collaborate every three years to estimate cancer prevalence in the US. The most prevalent cancers are:  

     
    Among men  Among women
    Prostate (3,523,230)
    Melanoma of the skin (760,640)
    Colorectal (726,450) 
    Breast (4,055,770)
    Uterine corpus (891,560)
    Thyroid (823,800)


    The report shows evidence of an increased uptake of recent treatment advances, such as immunotherapy for stage IV non-small cell lung cancer (which increased from 12% in 2016 to 33% in 2018). 

    Yet disparities persist. One of the largest is in the treatment of rectal cancer, for which only 41% of Black patients with stage I disease receive proctectomy or proctocolectomy compared to 66% of White patients. 

     

    “As the population of cancer survivors continues to grow and age, there is an increased need for guidance for health professionals, caregivers, and patients on how to manage late and long-term effects of cancer and its treatment, maintain healthy behaviors and limit financial toxicity,” Kimberly Miller, scientist, surveillance and health equity science at the ACS and lead author of the study said in a media release Thursday. “In addition, the survivor population is increasingly diverse, and further resources are needed to ensure equitable access to survivorship care.” 

     

    For more information on this report please read the complete study, the press release, or the Cancer Facts & Figures publication. 


  • Study shows change in perception of e-cigarettes

    Public view of relative harms of e-cigarettes versus cigarettes changed since 2018.

    An American Cancer Society-led study released June 9 shows US adults’ perception of electronic or e-cigarettes as “more harmful” than cigarettes more than doubled between 2019-2020, while the perception of e-cigarettes as “less harmful” declined between 2018-2020. The study was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM).

    The study also found that increase in cigarette smoking prevalence (2019-2020) was restricted to those who perceived e-cigarettes as “more harmful” than cigarettes, while increases in prevalence of e-cigarette use was restricted to those who perceived e-cigarettes as “less harmful” than cigarettes. Researchers examined data during the COVID-19 pandemic and EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury) epidemic. 

    The study was led by ACS principal scientist, risk factors and screening surveillance research Dr. Priti Bandi

    “While this study showed sharp changes in public perceptions of e-cigarette vs. cigarette harms during EVALI and COVID-19, the more relevant finding for public health is that increases in cigarette smoking and e-cigarette use prevalence occurred primarily in individuals who perceived their preferred product as relatively less harmful,” Dr. Bandi said in a news release on the study. “This suggests that public perceptions of e-cigarettes vs. cigarettes harms influences population tobacco use patterns.”

    Dr. Bandi stressed the importance of increasing effective public health communication and behavioral interventions to help consumers make good health choices. This communication must stress that no youth or young adult should begin using any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes. Messaging for smokers must stress the effectiveness of FDA-approved cessation medications and counseling to completely quit smoking, while no e-cigarette has been approved as a tobacco cessation product.

    Dr. Stacey Fedewa is senior author of the study. ACS authors include Dr. Samuel Asare, Dr. Anuja Majmundar, Dr. Nigar Nargis, and Dr. Ahmedin Jemal.

    For more information on the study please review the complete study or read ACS’s position statement on e-cigarettes.


  • COVID-19 reduced cancer screenings by millions in 2020

    ACS-led study shows pandemic’s impact on breast, cervical, colorectal screenings.

    A study released today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Open Network shows the number of women in the US who reported having a recent breast or cervical cancer screening dropped by 2.13 million (6%) and 4.47 million (11%) respectively in 2020, compared to 2018. This study, led by American Cancer Society researchers, is the first of its kind to evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer screenings nationally, using population-based data.

    Researchers stressed the need to improve access to cancer screenings, particularly for minorities and lower-income populations. 

    “COVID-19 pandemic had an immediate impact in March and April of 2020, as screenings initially dropped by close to 80%,” said Dr. Ahmedin Jemal, senior vice president, surveillance and health equity science, and senior author of the study. “Many people caught up on screenings later in 2020, but overall, the COVID-19 pandemic kept screenings down over the course of the entire year. As we move forward, it’s crucial to get people back into their doctor’s offices to get screened.”

    The study also found that between 2018 and 2020 colonoscopies for colorectal cancer detection in the past year dropped by 16% for both men and women but was offset by an increase in stool testing of 7%. This showed the promise of at-home testing to maintain population-wide screening rates during a major healthcare disruption.

    Other ACS authors contributing to the study include: Jessica Star, Dr. Priti Bandi, Adair Minihan, Dr. Xuesong Han, and Dr. Robin Yabroff. Dr. Stacey Fedewa, now at Emory University, is lead author of the study.


  • ASCO annual meeting has wrapped up

    ACS had a key presence at global oncology conference.


    June 3 marks the start of the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting, held online and in person through June 7. With more than 40,000 oncology professionals from around the world attending, this meeting is one of the largest, most diverse in global oncology. For the American Cancer Society, it is an opportunity to drive awareness of our organization’s relevance and impact across the cancer care continuum.

    The theme of the 2022 annual meeting is “Advancing Equitable Cancer Care Through Innovation,” and will focus on how by innovating across boundaries, we can bring down barriers to access and make care more equitable, convenient, and efficient for patients worldwide. Attendees include ASCO members, National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers, cancer care clinicians, pharmaceutical company representatives, and advocacy groups.

    ACS will have a strong presence at the event, with nearly a dozen staff and ACS-funded researchers presenting during the meeting. The organization will also host a reception for key partners as well as a booth in the exhibition hall to demonstrate how the organization is impacting the lives of people facing cancer.

    A key goal of the organization’s presence at the meeting is to emphasize ACS is the only organization that integrates advocacy, discovery, and direct patient support, which measurably improves lives, and that as a global leader in the cancer fight, we know cancer affects everyone, but it doesn’t affect everyone equally. We are working to ensure everyone has a fair and just opportunity to prevent, detect, treat, and survive cancer.

    ASCO is an important partner for ACS. In early 2022, the two organizations launched a collaboration involving content-sharing on ASCO’s cancer.net and cancer.org.

    ACS staff and ACS-funded researchers presenting at the conference: 

      • Robin Yabroff: Education Session, Cancer Groundshot: Addressing the Global and National Inequities in Cancer Care
      • Arif Kamal, MD, MBA, MHS: Presentation in the Patient Advocate Lounge
      • Hyuna Sung, PhD: Poster Session, Symptoms and Survivorship, Racial differences in cardiovascular disease mortality among cancer survivors
      • Xuesong Han, PhD: Poster Session, Symptoms and Survivorship, Suicide risk among patients with cancer in the United States, 2000-2016
      • Jason Zheng, PhD: Poster Discussion Session, Symptoms and Survivorship, Association of parental cancer and minor child’s unmet economic needs in food, housing, and transportation
      • Mark Fleury of ACS CAN: Education Session: Strategies to Advance Equity in Cancer Clinical Trials
      • Xuesong Han, PhD: Poster Session, Prevention, Risk Reduction, and Hereditary Cancer, Racial and ethnic disparities in lifestyle changes during the COVID-19 pandemic: Exploring the socioeconomic and psychosocial mechanisms
      • Leticia Noguiera, PhD: Poster Session, Health Services Research and Quality Improvement, Racial disparities in receipt of guideline-concordant care for early-onset colorectal cancer in the U.S.
      • Sylvia Kewei Shi, MPH: Poster Session, Oncologist consideration of patient health insurance coverage and out-of-pocket costs for genomic testing in treatment decision 
      • Jingxuan Zhao, MPH: Poster Session, Health Services Research and Quality Improvement
    • Changes in cancer-related mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States

      • Xuesong Han, PhD: Oral Abstract, Care Delivery and Regulatory Policy: Association between the Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion and survival in young adults newly diagnosed with cancer

    Be sure to follow along on social media to see the latest from ASCO during the next few days.

    ACSon Twitter:

    ASCO social channels: 

     For questions related to ACS participation at ASCO, please contact Kathleen Goss, vice president, regional cancer support.


  • ACS announces spring research and career development grants

    ​The American Cancer Society recently approved funding for 78 research and career development grants totaling $43.9 million in the first of two planned grant cycles for 2022. The grants will fund investigators at 57 institutions across the US starting July 1.  

    "We are proud to announce these new grant awardees and their research projects, which aim to not only uncover drivers of cancer but to discover better ways for to find, treat, and overcome the disease," ACS Chief Scientific Officer Dr. William Dahut said in a news release. "It's very exciting, as these studies will also focus on equity and optimizing quality of life for cancer survivors." 

    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 US, and has funded 49 researchers who have gone on to win 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. Our Extramural Discovery Science program currently supports research and training in a wide range of cancer-related disciplines at 183 institutions. 

    To maximize 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, and 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 that applications for these extramural discovery science grants align with identified high-potential areas for significantly reducing cancer burden in the US is critical. The number of research priority areas is relatively few, yet these topics cast a wide net and span the full cancer research continuum. 

    The Extramural Discovery Advisory Council also recommended an additional 33 grant applications totaling more than $19 million that could not be funded due to budgetary constraints. These "Pay-If" applications represent work that passed the Society's multidisciplinary 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. 
     
    Highlights from each of the focus areas of funding in the current grant cycle include: 

    CAUSE AND ETIOLOGY  
    Fange Liu, PhD 
    University of Pennsylvania  
    Sex Specific Stress Granules in Leukemogenesis 
    Research Scholar Grant  
     
    Sex-related differences in the development and progression of human cancers are poorly understood. Dr. Liu's work examines mechanisms through which sex chromosome encoded proteins contribute to the sex specificity of leukemia development. This work will provide innovative resources and a more comprehensive understanding of sex-related differences in the causes of leukemia. 

    OBESITY/HEALTHY EATING AND ACTIVE LIVING  
    Masahiro Morita, PhD  
    University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio  
    Mitochondria, Ribosomes, and ER Communication Promotes Obesity-associated Liver Cancer  
    Research Scholar Grant  

    Obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease impact many patients with liver cancer. However, the mechanisms remain poorly understood due to the lack of appropriate models. Dr. Morita will use a unique mouse model to understand the molecular mechanism by which a high-fat diet increases the risk of liver cancer. Understanding the mechanism that links overeating leading to obesity with tumorigenesis will lead to new preventive and therapeutic strategies for obesity-associated liver cancer. 

    SCREENING AND DIAGNOSIS  
    Swati G. Patel, MD  
    University of Colorado  
    Improving Identification and Management of Patients with Hereditary Cancer Syndromes: Clicks Can Prevent Cancer  
    Clinician Scientist Development Grant 

    Hereditary cancer syndromes are under-diagnosed, leading to missed opportunities for cancer prevention. Dr. Patel's objective is to develop a mobile health intervention for patients with advanced polyps, the immediate precursor to colorectal cancer. Patient and key stakeholder perspectives will be gathered to inform development of the intervention, followed by evaluation of effects on patient outcomes, including empowerment, social support, family communication, and cancer-related outcomes. This study will help develop strategies to expand cancer prevention services to those with hereditary cancer syndromes. 

    TREATMENT  
    Kristina Drizyte-Miller, PhD 
    University of North Carolina Chapel Hill 
    Targeting Mitochondrial Function as a Therapeutic Strategy for Pancreatic Cancer 
    Postdoctoral Fellow 

    Effective treatments are urgently needed for pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest cancers in the U.S. Dr. Drizyte-Miller's work investigates metabolism and energy production in pancreatic cancer cells as potential treatment targets for blocking pancreatic cancer cell growth. This research will advance knowledge about mechanisms of pancreatic cancer progression and provide important insights into new treatment approaches. 

    SURVIVORSHIP  
    Kristen R. Hoskinson, PhD 
    The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital 
    Neuroimaging of Cognitive and Psychosocial Outcomes in Young Cancer Survivors 
    Research Scholar Grant  

    Many survivors of pediatric cancer have long-term health problems, learning challenges, and social and emotional difficulties. Identifying the root causes of these long-term problems will improve survivorship care. Dr. Hoskinson's research combines novel magnetic resonance imaging approaches with cognitive, social, and emotional information from young survivors and healthy classmates to understand changes in brain structure and brain processes. Understanding these changes will help develop new approaches to monitor survivors and improve their well-being. 

    HEALTH EQUITY ACROSS THE CANCER CONTINUUM  
    Arden Morris, MD, MPH 
    Stanford University  
    Understanding the Effect of Out-of-Pocket Costs in Cancer Care  
    Research Scholar Grant  

    High out-of-pocket costs can impact the care decisions that patients with cancer make. Dr. Morris' project examines how out-of-pocket costs influence treatment adherence and clinical outcomes in patients with multiple types of cancer across different racial and socioeconomic groups. This work will increase understanding of how out-of-pocket costs disparately impact patient decisions, providing critical information to inform policies aimed at removing financial barriers to cancer care. 

    The full press release can be found on cancer.org. 

     


back to top