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Volunteers moving forward in creating the new ACS

As you heard on the May Society Talk, the volunteer component of our Fit for Purpose work to create a new ACS made significant progress over the past two weeks. To recap, the 19-member Advisory Group on Volunteer Engagement, with representation from each of the former Divisions, developed and presented recommendations to the American Cancer Society Board of Directors that would expand and elevate the role of leadership volunteers across the nation. The Board approved the recommendations and work has begun to implement a new volunteer model across the organization.

Transition planning and implementation documents have been developed and shared with volunteer leadership to assist in their work. The primary area for volunteers to access materials is My Society Source under the New ACS tab. 

Transition teams will begin work in their Regions by June 1. Market Boards and Regional Advisory Cabinets will be seated by the end of the year. 

The new model ensures that volunteers are seated where they can have the greatest impact, in the markets at the center of the new regional operating model. It harnesses the energy of our volunteers who will be integrated fully with their staff partners to mobilize communities in developing strategic plans to propel our mission forward in the new ACS.

The anchor of the American Cancer Society volunteer leadership structure is the market. Organizing influential volunteer leaders in a market-centric Board, provides an impactful volunteer/staff partnership to accelerate our mission, increase our relevance, and generate revenue.

A Regional Advisory Cabinet also will be established in each of the six defined Regions to serve as an innovation and collaboration forum comprised of Market Board chairs and other select leadership volunteers. It is also recommended that volunteer leadership structures at the community or state level be maintained to ensure that the community and/or state goals outlined in the market plan are achieved. These structures will be called Councils.

The Leadership Forum (comprised of former Division Board Chairs and EVPs) met recently to review the enhanced volunteer model and will be working to build volunteer-led transition teams in each Region. These teams will work to seat Market Boards and Regional Advisory Cabinets. They will assure the continued retention, recruitment, and reengagement of leadership volunteers across the organization. A few select regional staff leaders will partner with these volunteer transition teams.  

  • ACS CAN: Proposed NIH budget cuts would devastate medical innovation and cripple critical cancer research and prevention efforts

    Today, May 23, the president introduced his proposed 2018 budget, which includes deep cuts to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Cancer Institute (NCI), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Medicaid. If approved by Congress, the cuts would decrease the NIH budget by 21 percent, decrease the NCI budget by 25 percent, cut the CDC's chronic disease program by nearly 20 percent, and reduce Medicaid funding by more than $600 billion. 

    A statement from Chris Hansen, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) follows:

    "Cutting the NIH budget by $7.1 billion would seriously jeopardize the development of new, potentially life-saving cancer diagnostic tools, prevention methods and treatments. It would also risk eroding the basic scientific research that, when combined with private investment, spurs American medical innovation and economic development. Most specifically, the cuts would completely undermine the increases for research secured in the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act meant to accelerate progress against diseases like cancer.

    "According to a poll released Monday, an overwhelming 90 percent of voters believe federal funding for medical research is 'very' or 'extremely' important and 75 percent want Congress to significantly increase NIH funding. More than two-thirds oppose the cuts as proposed in the president's previously released 'skinny' budget.

    "Cancer research is on the verge of significant new breakthroughs that could help save lives from a disease that continues to kill more than 1,650 Americans each day. Just last week, the American Cancer Society released a reportshowing one in every five adult cancer diagnoses and two of every three childhood cancer diagnoses are considered rare. These patients and their families depend on the promise and progress of continued research investment to develop new therapies that will help to get and keep their specific diagnoses in check.  

    "In addition, cutting the CDC chronic disease budget by nearly 20 percent threatens to substantially weaken vital tobacco prevention and cessation programs as well as important efforts to address nutrition, physical activity and obesity—all significant cancer risk factors.

    "The results of these cuts combined with the more than $600 billion reduction for Medicaid funding, could leave millions of Americans without access  to meaningful health care and prevention services.

    "To date, the federal government has played a critical role in our ability to reduce the cancer burden. Such drastic budget reductions would have the potential to devastate the nation's standing as the global leader in cutting-edge medical research and scientific discovery, hamper progress in detecting cancer early when it's least expensive to treat and most survivable and severely restrict low-income patients' access to critical safety-net health care coverage through Medicaid.

    "On behalf of all those affected by cancer, ACS CAN urges lawmakers to preserve their bipartisan commitment to research and prevention and reject these cuts when crafting the FY 2018 budget."

  • 1 in 5 cancers diagnosed in the U.S. qualifies as a rare cancer

    About 1 in 5 cancer diagnoses in the U.S. is a rare cancer, according to a new American Cancer Society report. The report, appearing in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, a peer-reviewed journal of the Society, finds rare cancers account for more than 2 in 3 cancers occurring in children and adolescents.

    Rare cancers present unique challenges for clinicians and their patients. For most rare cancers, research to identify causes or to develop strategies for prevention or early detection is limited or nonexistent. In addition, rare cancers can be challenging to diagnose, often resulting in numerous physician visits, misdiagnoses, and substantial delays in diagnosis.

    Treatment options for rare cancers are often more limited and less effective than for more common cancers, partly because there is less preclinical research and fewer clinical trials for rare cancers, which are often limited to select high-volume cancer centers. Consequently, rare cancers have become an area of priority for some researchers and public health advocates.

    There are limited published data on the burden of rare cancers in the U.S., but the report notes that "the proportion of rare cancers is likely to grow because of the increasing use of molecular markers in the classification of cancers.”

    Investigators led by Carol E. DeSantis MPH (pictured here), used data from the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries and the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program to comprehensively examine contemporary incidence rates, stage at diagnosis, and survival for more than 100 rare cancers (defined as an incidence of fewer than 6 cases per 100,000 individuals per year) in the U.S.

    They found overall:

    • Approximately 20% of patients with cancer in the U.S. are diagnosed with a rare cancer.
    • Rare cancers make up a larger proportion of cancers diagnosed in Hispanic (24%) and Asian/Pacific Islander (22%) patients compared with non-Hispanic blacks (20%) and non-Hispanic whites (19%). 
    • More than two-thirds (71%) of cancers occurring in children and adolescents are rare cancers compared with less than 20% of cancers diagnosed in patients aged 65 years and older.

    Among solid tumors:

    • 59% of rare cancers are diagnosed at regional or distant stages compared with 45% of common cancers. In part because of this stage distribution, 5-year relative survival is poorer for patients with a rare cancer compared with those diagnosed with a common cancer among both males (55% vs 75%) and females (60% vs 74%). 
    • However, 5-year relative survival is substantially higher for children and adolescents diagnosed with a rare cancer (82%) than for adults (46% for ages 65-79 years).

    "Continued efforts are needed to develop interventions for prevention, early detection, and treatment to reduce the burden of rare cancers, write the authors. "Such discoveries can often advance knowledge for all cancers."

  • Free training for our dedicated volunteers

    ​An email campaign to approximately 8,000 current users of the Volunteer Learning Center will be delivered this week promoting training opportunities specifically designed to help you in your current volunteer role. The free training opportunities are available on a variety of topics, including:

    • Sharing Our Story Workshop—Learn how to share our mission with the people you meet!
    • Volunteer Staff Partnership Learning Series—Build and improve relationships with staff partners and other volunteers. 
    • Customer Promises—Learn how the Society is focusing on building a customer-centric culture.
    • Diversity and Inclusion - Include and engage all communities to free the world from the pain and suffering of cancer. 
    • Change Savvy—Learn about the stages of organizational and personal change, how to support yourself and others, and strategize about how to thrive.

    Live and on demand sessions are designed to grow personal and professional skills that can aid you in your volunteer role. Live training sessions are led by the National Volunteer Training Team, a talented group of skilled volunteers from across the country. Volunteers are encouraged to register for courses through the Volunteer Learning Center.

  • 2017 ACS CAN Gen2End Ambassador Application now available

    The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is excited to announce a unique opportunity to engage more Millennials in ACS CAN's work. We are currently accepting applications for 2017 Gen2End Ambassadors to attend the 2017 Leadership Summit and Lobby Day. This Opportunity will give 6 people, who are not already invited as part of the ACS CAN Volunteer Structure, a chance to attend ACS CAN's annual Leadership Summit and Lobby Day. This event includes training opportunities for ACS CAN staff and volunteers, awards ceremonies to honor them, a day on Capitol Hill lobbying lawmakers and an evening honoring those touched by cancer at ACS CAN's Lights of HOPE ceremony. It will take place September 10-13, 2017, in Washington DC. 

    ACS CAN will hold an application process to select the 6 participants. Applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 35 and may not have been selected as a Gen2End Ambassador last year. In addition to covering their travel, lodging and meal expenses for Leadership Summit and Lobby Day, selected participants will commit to be an active ACS CAN volunteer for one-year after the event.

    Details & application here:


    May 22, 2017                     

    • 2017 Gen2End opportunity announced     

    June 22, 2017                   

    • Applications due at 5:00pm EST

    July 2017                                             

    • Applications reviewed
    • Six applicants (one from each American Cancer Society Region) selected
    • Selected applicants will register for Leadership Summit and Lobby Day

    Action requested:  Please share the application link with anyone who meets the criteria and may be interested in this opportunity.

    Applications are due by June 22, 2017 at 5:00 pm EST.  For more information, please contact Rachael Eerdmans at

  • Atlanta honors two Society staffers

    Congratulations to Irma Shrivastava and Katina Lett, both of whom recently received honors from Atlanta organizations.

    Irma, senior vice president, Strategic Marketing and Alliances, was selected as one of metro Atlanta's leaders to participate in Leadership Atlanta's Class of 2018 Program. The prestigious program aims to bring together the region's most influential, engaged, and creative leaders to move Atlanta forward by working together for the greater good.

    Irma will participate in a nine-month program which includes retreats, full-day seminars, service projects, discussion groups and community tours, among other activities aimed at building the leaders' knowledge of regional issues and boosting their own effectiveness.

    Katina, corporation counsel, is this year's recipient of Corporate Counsel Rising Star Award, sponsored by the Atlanta Business Chronicle and the Association of Corporate Counsel Georgia Chapter. In an article about the award, Katina said one of her proudest achievements was negotiating the lease agreement for all desktop and laptop computers that saved the Society money. "Every single donor-dollar counts," she said.

    "Her dedication to her clients, exceptional attention to detail, and humble manner have epitomized our department's mantra to be excellent in all we do," said Timonthy Phillips, our general counsel, who was quoted in the article.

    TOP PHOTO: From left, Katina Lett and Irma Shrivastava.

  • Cancer Prevention & Early Detection, 2017-2018: Behavior changes needed to prevent more cancers

    Much of the suffering and death from cancer could be prevented by more systematic efforts to reduce tobacco use and obesity, improve diet, and increase physical activity and the use of established screening tests, according to the just-released Cancer Prevention & Early Detection Facts & Figures 2017-2018.

    While there have been improvements in some areas of cancer prevention and early detection, the use of potentially lifesaving measures is suboptimal and strongly influenced by individual behaviors, as well as social, economic, and public policy factors, the Society's report says.

    Since 1992, the American Cancer Society has published Cancer Prevention & Early Detection Facts & Figures as a resource to strengthen cancer prevention and early detection efforts at the local, state, and national levels. Published every two years, the report assesses current prevalence of cancer risk factors and prevention measures, an important component of monitoring progress and strengthening cancer prevention and early detection efforts. 

    The World Cancer Research Fund estimates that about 20% of all cancers in the U.S. can be attributed to a combination of overweight and obesity, poor nutrition, excess alcohol consumption, and insufficient physical activity. These health behaviors are modifiable risk factors, and if changed, can reduce cancer risk. "Thus, for the 85% of U.S. adults who do not smoke cigarettes, the most important ways to reduce cancer risk are: maintaining a healthy body weight, engaging in regular physical activity, adhering to a healthful diet, and avoiding or limiting alcohol consumption," the report says.

    Highlights from the 2017-2018 report:

    Tobacco Use

    • In 2015, 15% of adults were current cigarette smokers. Smoking prevalence varied widely by state, ranging from 9% in Utah to 26% in Kentucky.
    • Current cigarette smoking among high school students declined from 29% in 1999 to 9% in 2015. By state, smoking prevalence among high school students in 2015 ranged from 5% in Rhode Island to 19% in West Virginia.
    • Since 2002, there have been more former smokers than current smokers in the U.S. In 2015, there were approximately 52.8 million former and 36.5 million current cigarette smokers.
    • In 2017 about 190,500 cancer deaths in the U.S. will be caused by cigarette smoking alone.

    Overweight and Obesity, Physical Activity, and Nutrition

    • About 7 out of 10 adults are overweight or obese; 38% are obese (men: 35%, women: 40%). The prevalence of obesity among women continues to rise, while it appears to have stabilized among men in recent years.  
    • The prevalence of obesity tripled between 1976 and 2002, among adolescents (ages 12-19 years) and is currently about 21%, unchanged in recent years.
    • In 2015, about 50% of adults reported meeting recommended levels of aerobic physical activity. An estimated 27% of high school students met recommended levels of physical activity.
    • In 2015, only 29% of adults reported eating two or more servings of fruit and 16% reported eating three or more servings of vegetables per day. About one in three (32%) high school students consumed fruit two or more times per day and 15% consumed vegetables three or more times per day.
    • About 28% of adults reported excessive alcohol consumption, according to 2011-2014 data.

    Ultraviolet Radiation and Skin Cancer

    • Only 13% of adults reported wearing a long-sleeved shirt and only 15% reported wearing a wide-brimmed hat always or most of the time when outside on a warm, sunny day for more than an hour.
    • Among U.S. high school students, 56% (girls: 60%, boys: 52%) reported having had a sunburn in the past year.
    • In 2015, approximately 4% of adults reported using an indoor tanning device in the past year; use was higher among women (6%) than men (2%) and those living in the Midwest (6%) compared to other regions.
    • The use of indoor tanning devices among female high school students appears to have declined in recent years from 25% in 2009 to 11% in 2015. However, only 13 states and the District of Columbia have a law prohibiting indoor tanning for minors without exemptions as of January 1, 2017.

    Infectious Agents

    • Though HPV vaccination rates have increased in recent years, uptake lags behind other vaccines. In 2015, about 52% of girls and 39% of boys completed two or more doses.

    Cancer Screening

    • In 2015, 50% of women 40 years of age and older reported having a mammogram within the past year, and 64% reported having one within the past two years. The lowest prevalence of mammography use in the past two years occurred among uninsured women (31%).
    • In 2015, 81% of women 21-65 years of age had received a Pap test in the past three years, with lowest use among women who are uninsured (61%) and recent immigrants (68%).
    • In 2015, 63% of adults 50 years of age and older reported having either an FOBT/FIT within the past year or sigmoidoscopy within the past five years or colonoscopy within the past 10 years. Prevalence was lowest among uninsured individuals (25%) and recent immigrants (34%).

    "While some measures of cancer prevention and early detection have improved over time, others have either stabilized or worsened," said Ann Goding Sauer MSPH, lead author of the report. "For example, cigarette smoking among U.S. adults has dropped to 15% but remains at the level of the 1970s in some geographic areas and population groups. The prevalence of obesity among both adults and youth remains high, particularly among black women.

    "The bottom line is that despite improvements in some areas of cancer prevention and early detection, systematic efforts to further reduce the suffering and death from cancer are needed," Ann said.

  • Toll Brothers raises $1M for American Cancer Society at 25th anniversary gala in Philadelphia

    Each spring, luxury home builder Toll Brothers hosts a gala benefitting the American Cancer Society. Last Friday, it marked two major milestones: its 25th anniversary and a record-breaking $1 million raised. It was the most money ever raised by the event, shattering its $790,000 projected goal.  

    "We are so grateful to Toll Brothers for their extraordinary support," said Caitlin Wagner, senior development manager, Distinguished Events. "The gala is always a beautiful event, and Toll Brothers does a wonderful job connecting the guests with the mission of the Society."

    More than 620 guests attended the Toll Brothers gala, held at the Waterworks on Philadelphia's historic Boathouse Row.  Joe Frick, CEOs Against Cancer, Pennsylvania Chapter member, and cancer survivor, along with Society-funded researcher Jonathan Brody, PhD, gave a stirring presentation that helped raise more than $38,000 at the event as part of a mission appeal. Guests also enjoyed dinner, dancing, a silent auction, and more.

    Toll Brothers employees across the nation are actively involved in fundraising for the gala. Each of the company's divisions nationwide had its own unique fundraising site so its employees could participate and contribute to the gala's net profit. The team pages secured more than $100,000 in donations for the event.

    Toll Brothers, headquartered in Horsham, PA, is a major supporter of the American Cancer Society. In addition to its annual gala benefitting the Society, its CEO, Douglas  C. Yearley, is a chair of the CEOs Against Cancer, Pennsylvania Chapter. 

    Small photo (from left to right): Joanna Coleman, Toll Brothers Gala Committee; Caitlin Wagner, Senior Development Manager, Distinguished Events; Martha Fisher, Toll Brothers Gala Committee; and Lauren McShea, Executive Director, Community Development. 

  • Conference brings together experts to shape the future of healthcare. You can attend virtually!

    ​The Council of Accountable Physician Practices (CAPP) and the American Cancer Society will co-host Better Together Health 2017: All Systems Go! Closing the Gaps in Cancer Care on Wednesday, May 24, at The Center for Total Health in Washington, D..C.

    Richard Wender, MD, our chief cancer control officer, will be one of the featured speakers at the event. His presentation will take place at approximately 2:40 p.m. ET. American Cancer Society volunteers and staff are encouraged to participate in this free conference - in person or virtually. 

    This event will showcase how coverage and accountable health care systems can improve detection and survival rates for people living with complex conditions like cancer. The three-hour event will include a panel discussions with national physician leaders, policymakers, and two cancer survivors.

    For more information or to register, visit BetterTogetherHealth.orgA link to view the conference virtually will be sent to all registered the morning of the conference.

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