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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

  • Campus Relay For Life Fund the Mission Challenge surpasses goal once again

    Congrats to volunteers, events, and team members for this collective win!​

    Another successful Campus Relay For Life Fund the Mission Challenge recently surpassed its $200,000 goal thanks to our next generation of volunteer leaders. Organized by the Volunteer National Campus & Youth Engagement Team, this 72-hour fundraising challenge for all youth and college Campus Relay For Life events took place from Feb. 13 - 15 and raised nearly $203,500. Dating back to 2012, the annual challenge encourages events and volunteers to compete for top prizes right before the event season starts. 

    Full leaderboard results for 2024 included the following categories:

    • Top Fundraising College Event 
    • Top Fundraising Youth Event 
    • Top YOY Growth Event 
    • Top 10 Fundraising Participant, College 
    • Top 10 Fundraising Participant, Youth 
    • Top Fundraising College Team 
    • Top Fundraising Youth Team  

    Events/chapters that raised $2,500 or more during the challenge are also entered to win a chance to attend the Campus RFL Leadership Summit in July 2024.

    Special congrats to our Top Fundraising College Event: Relay For Life of Coastal Carolina University (Chinel Boateng, senior development manager), Top Fundraising Youth Event: Relay For Life of Freehold (Brielle Guzzi, development manager) and our Top YOY Growth Event: Relay For Life of Albany, NY (Nick Liporace, senior development manager). 

    “Every year we see again and again the power of our next generation of volunteers through this challenge. Our future is bright with this incredible group coming into leadership roles and bringing fresh ideas to everything we do as an organization,” said Dillon Ardabell, director, College & Youth Engagement. "Thanks to everyone involved in this challenge across the organization as it takes a village.”

    Pictured above is Kieryn Emilee Hewitt of Relay For Life of Plymouth State University.

  • New paper finds barriers to pharmacogenomic testing in cancer care are impacting its adoption and creating disparities that impact diverse populations

    A new paper released today in the Journal of Clinical Oncology finds that while incorporating pharmacogenomic (PGx) testing into cancer care can help improve patient outcomes, barriers to PGx testing, discovery, and implementation are impacting its adoption and creating disparities that impact diverse populations.

    A component of precision medicine, PGx testing examines how variations in a patient’s inherited genes may impact how they respond to drugs. PGx testing can lead to better clinical outcomes for people with cancer by improving the effectiveness of treatment or by reducing the risk of adverse drug reactions that can cause a patient to stop treatment, or in some cases, can result in death. Yet, the paper’s authors note that adoption of PGx testing into oncology care remains scarce, with devastating impact. Approximately 60% of patients with advanced cancer have been reported to be taking medications with known PGx interactions, and approximately 1,300 people die each year from the administration of a common chemotherapy drug for which a PGx test is available.

    “Incorporating PGx testing into oncology is critical to making sure that people with cancer receive the right treatment at the right dosage based on their individual genetic makeup,” said Sharon P. Shriver, PhD, Project Manager, Science Policy, for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) and lead author. “Unfortunately, the lack of PGx testing necessary to safely adjust the dosing of oncology drugs has resulted in lives lost.”

    The paper’s authors examined how current scientific understanding of the role of PGx in cancer care may be biased toward a greater understanding and more complete implementation of PGx for individuals of European descent compared to other genetic ancestry groups. This bias results from the fact that clinical trial participants and large genomic databases generally do not reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of the U.S. population or of cancer patients. This bias further has implications for several identified barriers preventing adoption of PGx testing in cancer care and ensuring all populations can benefit from it, including ambiguity and inconsistency in drug labeling; lack of infrastructure such as clinical decision support systems; insufficient provider and patient education; and inadequate insurance coverage of PGx testing and follow-up.

    The paper highlights nine consensus recommendations ACS CAN released in June 2023 to promote more equitable PGx discovery and implementation for cancer patients. The recommendations, which address barriers in PGx discovery, policy, and application, were created by a working group of stakeholders which included researchers, policymakers, industry representatives, and patient advocates.

    “No one should be disadvantaged in their cancer journey,” said Mark E. Fleury, PhD, Principal, Policy Development - Emerging Science for ACS CAN and paper co-author. “When genetic ancestry is not considered or mischaracterized in PGx discovery and application, it can contribute to disparities in outcomes across racial and ethnic categories. The recommendations offered will help address barriers to facilitate equitable PGx discovery and application in cancer care so that all populations can benefit from them.”

    ACS CAN is working to improve access to PGx testing through its state advocacy work to expand insurance coverage of comprehensive biomarker testing, which includes PGx testing. Biomarker testing is a critical step toward accessing precision medicine, including targeted therapies; however, not all patients who could benefit have access to the testing that can identify the best treatment for their condition. To date, 14 states have passed biomarker coverage legislation, which will help reduce disparities in access.

    Sharon P. Shriver, PhD, ACS CAN, is the lead author of the paper. Other authors include Devon Adams RN, M.P.H., ACS CAN; Brittany Avin McKelvey, PhD, Friends of Cancer Research; Jeannine S. McCune, PharmD, PhD, City of Hope/Beckman Research Institute; Dale Miles, PhD, Genentech; Victoria M. Pratt, PhD, FACMG Agena Bioscience; Kristine Ashcraft, M.B.A., YouScript; Howard L. McLeod, PharmD, Utah Tech University; Hannah Williams, M.P.H., Color; and Mark E. Fleury, PhD, ACS CAN.

  • Dr. Winn to be honored for positive impact in oncology

    The Association of Community Cancer Centers is set to recognize our ACS Board Member.​

    American Cancer Society Board member Robert Winn, MD, director and Lipman Chair in Oncology, VCU Massey Comprehensive Cancer Center, will be recognized on March 1 by the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) during the group’s annual summit. His honor, the 2024 Clinical Research Award, recognizes individuals whose research has significantly and positively impacted the oncology patient, family, and/or community.

    Dr. Winn has served on the American Cancer Society Board of Directors since 2021 and serves as chair of the Inclusive Workforce Sub-Committee.

    Founded in 1974 to promote quality cancer care, the Association of Cancer Care Centers (ACCC) is a community of more than 34,000 multidisciplinary practitioners and 1,700 cancer programs and practices nationwide across all disciplines in oncology. Members rely on ACCC for education and advocacy support in adapting and responding to complex changes and challenges in the delivery of quality cancer care.

    The ACCC 50th Annual Meeting & Cancer Center Business Summit offers opportunities to collaborate, grow, and transform. Executives from across the health care leadership community will come together Feb. 28 through March 1 in Washington, D.C., to explore cutting-edge solutions to persistent challenges and together, navigate our shifting cancer care landscape.

  • ACS and NFL Crucial Catch partnership came to life ahead of Super Bowl in Las Vegas

    During the last week, the American Cancer Society partnered with the NFL through Crucial Catch for several activations leading up to Super Bowl, generating mission impact, revenue, and visibility for ACS. Below is a recap of some of last week’s activities from Las Vegas:

    • Crucial Catch LIVE - Tuesday, Feb. 6, the NFL and ACS ​teamed up to host a new event, Crucial Catch LIVE presented by Sleep Number. This NFL-funded event featured prominent members of the NFL community impacted by cancer, and ACS board member, Dr. Winn, discussing disparities in prostate cancer incidence among Black men. In addition to the live audience, the panel was livestreamed on NFL, ACS, and Sleep Number social channels and garnered over 35,000 views. Panel included:
      • Brian Custer, moderator - 2X Emmy Award-winning Sportscaster & prostate cancer survivor / ACS Sports Ambassador
      • Dr. Robert Winn, panelist - American Cancer Society board member and second Black physician to lead an NCI-designated cancer center
      • Mike Haynes, panelist - Pro Football Hall of Famer and prostate cancer survivor
      • Rashad Jennings, panelist - Former New York Giants running back, health advocate and former ABC Dancing with the stars champion
      • William Gholston, panelist - Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end, former Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee and American Cancer Society Player Ambassador of the Year
      • Brandon Bolden, panelist - Las Vegas Raiders running back, cancer survivor and American Cancer Society Player Ambassador
    ​​Catch a replay of the panel discussion on ACS’​ Facebook page.

    • ACS ‘Game Changer’ Celebration - Wednesday, Feb. 7, ACS hosted the inaugural Game Changer Gala Las Vegas at AREA15 for 300 guests, including prominent community leaders, volunteers, and ACS leadership. The event raised funds to support cancer screening initiatives addressing health disparities in Nevada. Twelve individuals were also recognized as 2024 Las Vegas Game Changer honorees for their community involvement and support of ACS’ mission, including the American Cancer Society Player Ambassador of the Year. The highlight of the evening was the surprise Super Bowl ticket presentation, courtesy of the NFL, to local cancer survivor, cancer advocate, and radiation therapist, Shelley Valladares-Burke.
      • ​​​​This year we rec​ognized Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end, Will Gholston, as our American Cancer Society Player Ambassador of the Year, and Shelly Ibach, Chair, President, and CEO of Sleep Number among other Game Changers.
    Learn ​more about t​he gala and this year’s honorees.

    • ​​​​Super Bowl Sweepstakes - With a minimum $10 contribution, fans could enter “to win the Super Bowl trip of a lifetime and help save lives” while ACS received 100% of proceeds. Courtesy of the NFL and their sponsor, VISA, this year’s winner attended the Super Bowl, had a meet and greet with actress, Alyssa Milano, along with other exclusive perks from the NFL.
    • NFL Super Bowl Experience - ACS co-branded with the NFL a “Crucial Catch” interactive game space inside the NFL’s premier fan festival at the Las Vegas Convention Center, bringing awareness to the importance of early detection, prevention, and risk reduction with video messages from player ambassadors, and the Crucial Catch PSA, to more than 300,000 visitors.
    • Press with ACS Sports Ambassadors at Super Bowl Media HQ “Radio Row” - ACS Sports Ambassadors gave interviews in the Super Bowl media center about our NFL partnership, CHANGE grant impact, ACS mission, and their connection to cancer. Ambassadors Will Gholston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end, Andre James, Las Vegas Raiders offensive lineman, Quincy Williams, New York Jets linebacker, and Bradley Pinion, Atlanta Falcons punter, spoke about Crucial Catch, their role as Ambassadors and the mission of ACS with more than 20 media outlets.

    Since 2012, funds raised through the NFL’s Crucial Catch initiative has funded the American Cancer Society’s CHANGE grants, supporting Federally Qualified Health Centers and health systems in under-resourced areas that are working to remove barriers and increase access to cancer screening. Our partnership with the NFL supports CHANGE grants in all 32 NFL markets.

  • Congratulations to the 2023 Spirit of Strides Award winners!

    We salute those who embody the relentless commitment that propels the success of this movement.​

    The Spirit of Strides Awards seek to honor and recognize all those who have gone above and beyond to help drive the American Cancer Society’s vision to end cancer as we know it, for everyone, through the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer movement.

    Be sure to look for this news on the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Pacesetter and The Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Movement Facebook pages, so you can share the announcement with all those you know. We want to shower our winners with congratulatory messages for their achievements! 

    The Spirit of Strides Awards are intended to honor and recognize an event, individual, and team that embody the relentless Making Strides spirit and commitment that has propelled the success for this movement. Winners from each of these categories were revealed starting Feb. 12, and details can be found on ACSResources

    Data-Determined Awards are solely based on data collected in ACS records. Below is the list of our top winners, and ACS team members can access an internal resource of all data-based winners here.

    Congratulations to the following winners:

    Select Fundraising and Data-Determined Award Winners

    #1 Net Income Event

    • Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Long Island, NYC - $2.4 million

    Nationwide Top Company Team

    • NYSUT

    Top 5 Nationwide Teams (Full list available on

    1. AutoZone Striders: $274,032 – Memphis, TN
    2. Ergon, Inc.: $185,090 – Central MS
    3. Team Hard Rock AC: $166,521 – Ocean City, NJ
    4. Linda’s Angels: $151,737 – Long Island, NY
    5. Answer to Cancer SRQ: $132,230 – Sarasota, FL

    #1 Nationwide Individual Fundraiser

    • Larry Tomkins: $183,335 - Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Central MS 

    Legacy Team ($1 million+ lifetime fundraising)

    • AutoZone Striders – Memphis, TN

    Making Strides Hero of Research Award Winners

    • AutoZone Striders – Memphis, TN, pictured at right 
    • Ergon, Inc. – Central MS, pictured at right 

    Many thanks and a big congratulations to all of amazing Making Strides events, teams, volunteers, and ACS leads for helping to end cancer as we know it, for everyone!

  • New survey highlights burden of medical debt, food insecurity

    Latest ACS CAN Survivor Views data finds affordability leading policy priority for cancer patients and survivors.

    On Feb. 14, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) released its latest Survivor Views survey. The survey, which asked participants to select their leading policy priorities for the year, shows that protecting free preventive cancer screenings and reducing the burden of medical debt are the top issues of concern for cancer patients and survivors.

    Policies to address the high costs of cancer have grown in support among those impacted by cancer, reflecting the urgency to address this issue in the U.S. In this most recent Survivor Views survey, 52% of respondents named protecting no-cost preventive care as one of their top three policy priorities, compared to 37% in 2020, while the importance of addressing medical debt increased from 33% in 2020 to 51% today.

    “The system is failing families touched by cancer as affordability continues to be one of the leading barriers to cancer care and causes of medical debt,” said Lisa Lacasse, president of ACS CAN. “With the ever-growing costs of medical care, it’s no surprise to see the individuals in active cancer treatment or with a recent cancer diagnosis elect free coverage of cancer preventive services and reduced medical debt as the leading health care issues facing them today. We need to prioritize policies that make health care affordable for everyone and make medical debt less prevalent to ensure everyone has a fighting chance against cancer.”

    The recent high costs of cancer care also is resulting in food insecurity for patients, particularly for individuals with lower incomes and Black and Hispanic patients. The survey found that more than 40% of cancer patients and survivors reported that the cost of their cancer care has impacted their ability to afford purchasing food and has them worried about running out of food. Approximately 40% of cancer patients and survivors reported accumulating debt to buy food while paying for their cancer care.

    The survey data was collected between Jan. 3 – 22, 2024. A total of 1,542 cancer patients and survivors who were treated or diagnosed within the past seven years responded to the questionnaire. Differences reported between groups are tested for statistical significance at a 95% confidence interval.

    Addressing medical debt in the U.S. is critical to reducing the cancer burden for everyone. ACS CAN has long supported public policies that help improve access to quality, affordable health insurance coverage that reduce the likelihood or severity of medical debt. Through its partnership with the Alliance to End Hunger coalition, ACS CAN continues to support policies that advance health equity by addressing food and nutrition insecurity for individuals, families, and communities. Learn more at

    Through ACS CAN’s Survivor Views initiative, ACS CAN receives direct feedback from cancer patients and survivors about their experiences and their perspectives on critical cancer-related issues. This information helps shape the development of policy positions and provides important evidence to support the enactment of these policies.

    For more information on Survivor Views, visit ACS CAN’s website at

    Like and share posts on X (formerly Twitter) from CEO Dr. Karen Knudsen and ACS CAN President Lisa Lacasse.

  • 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. 

  • Celebrating Black leadership and ACS volunteers

    Help highlight contributions of influential leaders during Black History Month.​

    While it is impossible to list every member of the Black community who has contributed in some way to ACS, we are proud to highlight the contributions of these influential leaders during Black History Month. 

    Dr. Cynthia LeBlanc – In 2011, Dr. LeBlanc became the first African American woman to serve as chair of the ACS board. Dr. LeBlanc also served as a volunteer for many years in various capacities. As chair of ACS’ California Board of Directors, she was instrumental in encouraging the inclusion of youth in our work and addressing the impact of cancer in diverse communities. 

    Dr. Harold Freeman – Known as the “Father of Patient Navigation,” Dr. Freeman made his career out of asking why it was that his patients, who were poor and Black, sought treatment too late. As president of the American Cancer Society in 1988-89, he published a study, “Cancer in the socioeconomically disadvantaged,” and made an unprecedented conclusion – “that the principal reason that Black people were dying from cancer was because they were poor.” Read an interview with Dr. Freeman through the Cancer History Project

    Dr. Kimberly Jeffries Leonard Chair of the ACS CAN Board of Directors, Dr. Jeffries Leonard has a life-long commitment to public service exemplified throughout her successful professional, academic and civic endeavors. She is currently the 17th National President of The Links, Incorporated and The Links Foundation, Incorporated; Vice President of Administration and member of the Board of Directors of the Black Women’s Agenda, Inc.; and was appointed Chair of the D.C. Commission on African American Affairs by Washington, D.C. Mayor, Muriel Bowser. Her background includes expertise in developing public health and behavioral health programs, policies, and related legislation. She has subject matter expertise in minority health, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, cardiovascular disease, health disparities, health care reform, tribal issues, reentry and criminal justice issues, international behavioral health, co-occurring mental health and trauma, and women’s and adolescent services. 

    Dr. LaSalle Leffall Jr. – A Black ACS volunteer and thought leader, Dr. Leffall was key in encouraging equality at ACS during the civil rights movement. He first got involved as a volunteer in the 1960s and became the first Black ACS president in 1978. As a researcher, Dr. Leffall called on ACS to “meet the challenge of cancer among Black Americans,” addressing disparities in cancer prevalence, treatment, and mortality. His work caused a radical shift in cancer control, shaping the way generations approached care for not only Black Americans, but also other underserved ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic groups. 

    Charlie Hill – A 2022 winner of the Fredda Bryan National Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award, Mr. Hill has been an advocate dedicated to spreading cancer awareness messaging to the communities he serves with a DE&I and health equity strategic focus. He has served as an essential leader of the African American Stakeholder Advisory group, advising the Executive Team and the organization in matters of DEI and the African American community overall, but most especially as it relates to Black men and prostate cancer. He is a tireless advocate for health equity, advocating for improved screening guidelines and cancer information.

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