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Advice for ages 27 to 45: should you get the HPV vaccination?

In June 2019, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted in favor of catch-up HPV vaccination for men and women through age 26. ACIP did not recommend catch-up HPV vaccination for adults age 27 through age 45. Instead, ACIP recommended “shared clinical decision making” for men and women ages 27 through 45 years. What does this mean for you or your loved ones who fall in this age range and haven’t had the HPV vaccination?

“While HPV vaccination is highly effective when given at the recommended age of 11-12, most adults will have minimal benefit,” said Debbie Saslow, PhD, manager director of HPV & GYN cancers. “The recommendation is to talk with your health care provider about whether to get vaccinated if you are 27 years old or older. Three doses are recommended for those who choose to get vaccinated in this age range.”

Most HPV-related cancers are thought to have been caused by HPV infections acquired at younger ages. While a small number of people will benefit from vaccination at older ages, little evidence is available on who those people are or what the benefit would be.

“If you haven’t been vaccinated against HPV before and are within ages 27-45, getting vaccinated now may have no benefit at all, or it might prevent an HPV infection that could lead to genital warts, or—for women—a cervical precancer (that would likely be detected during routine screening, but which might require invasive follow-up procedures), or possibly an HPV cancer” said Dr. Saslow.

It has been suggested that adults more likely to benefit from vaccination are those who have had limited exposure to HPV in the past and who plan to have new sex partners, such as men and women who are newly divorced or widowed. Adults who are least likely to benefit from vaccination are those who are in a long-term monogamous relationship or who are not (and don’t plan to be) sexually active.

If you have already been diagnosed with an HPV-related cancer or precancer, then HPV vaccination will not help to treat any existing infection. HPV vaccination only prevents new HPV infections.

Insurance coverage might also be a determining factor in deciding whether to get the vaccine at age 27-45. “Some insurers pay for any vaccine recommended by ACIP, including those with shared decision making, as soon as the vote is taken,” said Dr. Saslow. “Other insurers do not currently pay for adult HPV vaccination but will once the CDC publishes the recommendation, usually within a few months, or at the end of the year.”

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  • Hurricane disasters affect patient care

    Lung cancer patients who had a hurricane disaster declared during radiotherapy had worse overall survival than those who completed treatment in normal circumstances. The finding comes from a report by American Cancer Society investigators published in JAMA, which suggests several mitigation strategies, including arranging for transferring treatment and eliminating patient out-of-network insurance charges during disasters.

    Natural disasters such as hurricanes can interrupt the provision of oncology care. Radiotherapy is particularly vulnerable because it requires dependable electrical power and daily presence of specialized teams and patients for treatment delivery. Disruptions are especially concerning for patients undergoing treatment for locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) because treatment delays as little as two days can impact survival.

    "While we could not analyze every potentially explanatory factor for the poorer outcomes in our study, treatment delay is one of the few hurricane-related disruptions that can actually be prevented," said Dr. Leticia Nogueira, lead ACS investigator. "Cancer patients receiving radiotherapy are a vulnerable population, and right now, there are no recommended strategies to mitigate treatment delays, so disaster management efforts that include tactics to identify patients, arrange for their treatment to be transferred, and to eliminate out-of-network insurance charges should be considered."

    The authors say research is needed to evaluate the potential impact of other types of natural disasters on cancer and other diseases and their treatments.

    Learn more on

  • ACS research finds more screening doesn’t fully explain the rise in colorectal cancer cases

    ​Colorectal cancer (CRC) is being diagnosed more often in the United States among adults younger than age 55. Does this mean more of them are getting colorectal cancer? Or are doctors finding it more often because more younger adults are having colonoscopies? In a study published in the Journal of Medical Screening, researchers at the American Cancer Society (ACS) found that colonoscopy trends don’t completely line up with the rates of colorectal cancer diagnosis by age, so more screening doesn’t fully explain the rise in CRC cases.

    ​Fewer people 55 and older in the United States are being diagnosed with colorectal cancer, in part because more of them are having colonoscopies. With this screening tool, doctors can find and remove growths before they become cancerous. But it’s a different story for younger adults: Among people in their 40s, for example, colon cancer rates have increased by 1.3% per year since the mid-1990s, and rectal cancer rates have gone up by 2.3% per year since the early 1990s.

    ​To better understand the increased colorectal cancer rates, ACS researchers looked at US data from 2000 to 2015 for 53,175 adults aged 40 to 54. The researchers looked at the percentage of people who said they’d had a they’d had a colonoscopy in the past year. They also looked at the percentage of people who were diagnosed with colorectal cancer during the 15-year period.

    ​The study divided people into three age ranges: 40 to 44, 45 to 49, and 50 to 54. Colonoscopy rates didn’t increase for every age group, but CRC rates did. Specifically, colonoscopy rates went up for the 45 to 49 and 50 to 54 age groups but were fairly stable for the 40 to 44 group. Colorectal cancer rates increased in every group. 

    ​“In this study, some patterns in colorectal cancer diagnoses were consistent with colonoscopy trends, like the rise in both colonoscopy and early-stage cancer among 50- to 54-year-olds, whereas others weren’t,” said Stacey Fedewa, PhD, lead author of the study. “For example, there was no increase in colonoscopy among people in their early 40s to match the increasing rates of colorectal cancer in this age group.”

    ​If the increase in CRC rates was only because colonoscopies were finding more tumors, then researchers would expect to see large increases in early-stage cancers. That’s because screening is most likely to find cancer when it is localized or limited to the place where it started with no sign of spreading. But only some age groups had increased diagnoses at an earlier stage.

    ​However, ACS researchers did find that the number of people diagnosed with later stage colorectal cancer increased for all age groups, with people ages 40 to 44 having the steepest increase.

    ​“This study only addressed one hypothesis—increasing colonoscopy—as to why colorectal diagnoses are increasing in younger adults,” Fedewa said. “It’s thought that changes in established risk factors for colorectal cancer could also be contributing to the increase. Those risks include obesity, drinking too much alcohol, poor diet (such as eating too little fiber and too much red/processed meat), physical inactivity, and smoking.”

    ​The ACS recommends that most people – those at average risk – start regular screening at 45. People can choose from among several types of tests, including stool-based tests, colonoscopy, CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy), and sigmoidoscopy. People with an increased risk may need to start screening before age 45. Learn more by reading the full ACS guidelines for colorectal cancer screening.

    What to know about colorectal cancer

    ​Use these links to do all you can to lower your risk for getting colorectal cancer.

    Article written by Sandy McDowell, Senior Editor, Research and appears on

  • ​New digital storybook gives voice to individuals impacted by Medicaid

    On July 10, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) launched a digital collection of stories about individuals, families, and health care providers sharing their experiences with the Medicaid program.

    Developed as part of ACS CAN's Medicaid Covers US public education project, the digital storybook features individuals who have been impacted by this insurance program, those that could have been aided by Medicaid if they had qualified, and health professionals that have seen the impact this program has made in the lives of patients and in the health care system.

    The digital storybook can be accessed at

    Launched in April 2019, the Medicaid Covers U.S. public education project intends to engage decision makers, community members, and the public in a dialogue about the vital services Medicaid provides. The public education project is supported by a grant to ACS provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and funding from ACS and ACS CAN. ACS CAN is investing additional funding to support ongoing advocacy work across the country.

    The project focuses on six states: Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Virginia. Leveraging the power of storytelling, ACS CAN aims to promote the positive impact Medicaid has made on beneficiaries and health care providers, as well as state and local economies.

    "In the fight against cancer, we know that affordable access to health care is critical, and Medicaid plays a major role in helping people get and stay healthy," said Lisa Lacasse, president of ACS CAN. "By helping to ensure people have access to health care when they need it most, Medicaid makes it possible for people and economies to thrive."

    The storybook may be shared with volunteers, donors, and others who are interested in learning more about the role Medicaid plays for residents, health care providers, and state economies. 

    If you have questions about the storybook or the overall Medicaid Covers US project, please contact Hilary Gee Goeckner, ACS CAN state and local campaigns manager – Medicaid.

  • House subcommittee considers bills addressing patient health care costs and access issues

    ​On June 11, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health began marking-up a series of bills aimed at reducing patient out-of-pocket costs and preserving access to health care. 

    Specifically, the committee is considering a measure that would exempt patients from having to pay surprise medical bills in most circumstances. Surprise medical bills are bills that result from a patient unexpectedly receiving care or a service from an out-of-network provider, often during an urgent situation where neither the patient nor the provider are aware of the discrepancy.

    Also being considered are several measures on prescription drug pricing and a bill extending funding for the Community Health Center Fund for four years at $4 billion annually.

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

    “We welcome today’s committee action focused on reducing patients’ out-of-pocket health care costs and preserving access to essential health care services.

    “In particular, we commend Committee Chairman, Rep. Pallone (D-N.J.) and Ranking Member Walden (R-Ore.) for their bipartisan work on the issue of surprise billing. Taking the patient out of the middle of billing issues when they receive care or services that are inadvertently outside of their insurance network would provide significant relief to cancer patients, many of whom are already struggling with difficult financial circumstances. We’re pleased that this bill would provide cancer patients more certainty for their medical expenses.

    “We’re also pleased to see the committee advance legislation reauthorizing and extending funding for the Community Health Center Fund. This program is essential to providing preventive services and timely care to cancer patients and their families. In fact, evidence shows those who receive care at community health centers are more likely to receive mammograms, pap smears and colorectal cancer screening than non-health center patients nationally.

    “Additionally, we applaud the Committee for examining ways to address rising prescription drug prices. Drug therapies play an integral role in cancer treatment. As more innovative cancer therapies become available, greater transparency will be necessary to support better choices, lower costs, and improved care for cancer patients.

    “On behalf of all cancer patients, survivors and their families, we urge Congress to continue working together to reduce health care costs and improve access to quality health care services.”

  • Atlanta joins the list of cities that recognize everyone’s right to breathe clean air

    A long-awaited and hard-fought victory for ACS CAN volunteers and staff

    Today, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms signed into law the smoke-free ordinance passed by the Atlanta City Council last week. The law will take effect on Jan. 2, 2020, making restaurants, bars and Hartsfield-Jackson Airport smoke-free. 

    ACS CAN will continue to work with the Mayor’s office and the City of Atlanta to effectively implement the law and ensure everyone’s right to breathe clean air is protected.

    Read below for a recap of this successful campaign led by ACS CAN and the Smoke-free ATL coalition.

    On July 1, the Atlanta City Council passed a smoke-free ordinance that will make workplaces, including restaurants, bars and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport smoke-free. This successful campaign was spearheaded by ACS CAN as leaders of the Smoke-free ATL coalition. Staff and volunteers, both in Georgia and nationally, were joined by senior leadership, including ACS CAN and ACS CEO Gary Reedy and ACS Acting Chief Medical and Scientific Officer Len Lichtenfeld, MD, in garnering support for this important measure that will benefit the health of those who work and live in Atlanta.

    The smoke-free ordinance was introduced earlier this year in Atlanta City Council in the effort to implement a strong local smoke-free law that protects workers, patrons, and visitors in Atlanta from the harms of secondhand smoke exposure. There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke, which causes nearly 42,000 deaths each year in the U.S. 

    According to U.S. Surgeon’s General, comprehensive smoke-free policies are the only effective method of fully protecting the public from dangerous secondhand smoke, and ACS CAN has been instrumental in advocating for comprehensive smoke-free policies in states and ordinances around the country. Now, Atlanta will join the list of cities that prioritize and recognize everyone’s right to breathe clean air.

    This accomplishment comes after years of dedication and strategic work by ACS CAN advocates and volunteers who sent petitions to council members, attended committee hearings, and spread awareness of this important opportunity to improve the public health of this major city. 

    The Smoke-free Atlanta campaign also received extensive support from public health leaders. Gary, as CEO of ACS CAN, vocalized his strong opinion that Atlanta – home to both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and ACS’ Global Headquarters – should finally adopt a smoke-free ordinance. Last month he joined Dr. David Satcher, 16th Surgeon General of the United States, on WABE to discuss why Atlanta needed to adopt this important smoke-free measure. Dr. Len testified multiple times to educate the City Council on the dangers of secondhand smoke and the serious health risks associated with secondhand smoke exposure. Just a few weeks ago, three top former U.S. public health leaders wrote an op-ed in the Atlanta Journal Constitution calling on the City Council to pass the smoke-free ordinance.

    This is a long-awaited and hard-fought accomplishment in ACS CAN’s ongoing work to reduce the burden of cancer through advocacy and public policy change, and one that was successful due to the skill and determination of the ACS CAN Georgia team, volunteers, and other partners. 

  • $1 million raised through Raise Your Way fundraisers

    Raise Your Way lets anyone turn an activity they are passionate about into a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. 

    This year, the Raise Your Way initiative has already raised $1 million towards our mission. There is still time to spread the word by inviting your friends, coworkers, and family to start a fundraiser to help us meet our goal of $3 million for all CrowdRise fundraisers by the end of the year.

    These supporters found creative ways to help us save lives from cancer. Here's how:

    • The AEPI Rock-A-Thon at Mizzou celebrated its 50th anniversary by spreading awareness about pancreatic cancer. This fraternity rocked its way to $110,000, exceeding their goal of $100,000. More than $35,000 of the total was raised through their CrowdRise site. Learn more about who these students rocked for in this promo video.
    • ACS fundraiser Amie Greer originally wanted to raise $1,000 in her fundraiser Home to Nome: 1000 to fight cancer. She surpassed this goal by raising a total of $2,125. Amie, her husband Matt, and a friend Noah rode snow machines from their front door in Fairbanks, Alaska to Nome, Alaska. This 1,000-mile, six-day trek crossed rivers, mountains, and ran along the west coast of Alaska.   
    • ACS fundraiser and lacrosse player Andrew Xiques raised more than $5,000 through Face-Off Against Cancer. On the senior night of his final lacrosse season at Toms River High School South, he cut his hair that he had been growing since 6th grade to raise money for the American Cancer Society. He was inspired to do something for others after watching the documentary "Man in the Red Bandanna" in memory of Welles Crowther, a hero of 9/11.  

    Get your own fundraiser started or tell a friend to by visiting and click "Start a Fundraiser."

    After registering, a fundraiser can be personalized with stories, photos, and videos. If a campaign needs to be tied to a Society Key, please fill out this intake form before the fundraiser accepts donations, as donations cannot be attributed retroactively. 

    For more information, review the CrowdRise – Raise Your Way Quick Reference Guide on Society Source.

    Don't forget! The following premium features are available to anyone raising funds for the American Cancer Society: 

    • Advanced registration/ticketing: CrowdRise registration/ticketing system, including unlimited ticket types and form questions, waiver authorization, coupon codes, inventory, and in-line donations.
    • Advanced campaign configurability: Campaign design features including configurable page layout, section titles and content, administrative account codes, and team templates.
    • Configurable forms: Customize the questions and pre-set content on your donation and fundraiser setup forms.
    • Custom emails: Update automated emails with unique content and branding.
    • Fundraising minimums: Require fundraisers to agree to raise a certain amount by a specific deadline or be automatically charged the difference. 

    If you or someone you know gets a message that says a feature you need to customize your CrowdRise campaign is blocked, simply email with the link to your fundraiser to have the premium features enabled!

    If you have any questions, more RYW resources are available by visiting the Raise Your Way folder in the Marketing and Communication drop down navigation on Brand Toolkit. They include general RYW resources, as well as our featured fundraiser assets.

  • Court urged to prioritize patients and uphold health care law

    Protections for pre-existing conditions and coverage standards at risk

    Patient groups are urging the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to prioritize patient protections, including those for people with pre-existing conditions, when it hears oral arguments today (July 9) in the case Texas v. United States. The case is being appealed after a lower court ruling that the entire health care law should be struck down because Congress repealed the individual mandate’s tax penalty. The case was brought by 20 states and is led by the Texas Attorney General.

    The patient groups filed an amicus brief with the Court in April arguing the law was intended to help protect patients with pre-existing conditions, and Congress’s rejection of efforts to repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) confirms that intent.

    Following is the groups’ joint statement:

    “Millions of Americans rely on the critical patient protections included in the ACA to access, afford and retain meaningful health coverage that is essential for their well-being. This includes people who suffer from serious, acute and chronic health conditions, like cancer, heart and lung disease, chronic neurological diseases, diabetes, pregnancy, and mental health and substance use disorders.

    “If allowed to stand, the lower court’s ruling would once again mean people could be charged more or denied coverage based on their health history. Insurance plans could impose arbitrary annual and lifetime limits on patients’ coverage and could exclude whole categories of care—like prescription drugs—from their plans. Striking down the law would also jeopardize the tax credits 8 million Americans rely on to afford health insurance on the individual market, and could result in millions of others being dropped from Medicaid should states decide to rescind expanded coverage.

    “The consequences of invalidating the patient protections included in the ACA would be profound and immediate. An estimated 27 million people could lose their health coverage by next year, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

    “We urge the court to keep people with chronic and serious conditions top of mind when they hear arguments today and to respect the will of Congress by preserving health care for millions of Americans.”

    The groups on the brief include the American Cancer Society, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Crohn's & Colitis Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Epilepsy Foundation, Hemophilia Federation of America, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, March of Dimes, National Alliance on Mental Illness, National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, National Hemophilia Foundation, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and The Kennedy Forum.

  • Shop with AmazonSmile on Prime Days July 15 & 16

    Please select ACS as your charity of choice! It costs you nothing but does ACS a lot of good.

    Amazon shoppers, did you know that you can shop the same great products on and the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice?

    As you shop during Amazon Prime Days (yes, there are two this year) next Monday and Tuesday, July 15 and 16, use our special link or shop at and select the American Cancer Society as your charity of choice.

    ACS has been a beneficiary of the AmazonSmile program since 2014, and has received more than $658,000! 

    It’s such an easy way to raise money for our mission, and there is no cost to the shopper. 

    Help us spread the word about shopping with AmazonSmile and selecting the American Cancer Society as a charity of choice!

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