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May 29, 7 - 8 p.m. ET: Country music singer Andy Velo to perform benefit concert for ACS

We are excited to share that this Friday, May 29, country music star Andy Velo will be performing a live virtual concert on his Andy Velo Facebook page. 100% of proceeds will benefit ACS.

The Facebook live event will take place from 7-8 p.m. ET.  Thirty minutes before the show, visit Mysetmusic.com to request your favorites. The portal will be live at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Spread the word among all the country music fans you know #StillAttackingCancer #AndyVelo

Find more details here.


  • Grab some friends and run (walk, or hike) across the U.S.

    Our goal is to cover the 2,900+ miles across the country as a unified team

    Our DetermiNation program is launching a virtual event called DetermiNation Runs the Country.

    From June 1 – June 7, we are encouraging everyone to join together as a nationwide group and log more than 2,900 miles over the course of the week. You can log your miles indoors or outdoors while practicing social distancing.

    You don’t run? No problem. Walk or hike – anything you can do on two feet. It all helps.

    Registrants on the DeterminNation Runs the Country website will get their own fundraising page that they can personalize with photos and text – and share to Facebook to boost the number of donations. Please note that current ACS participants of any event (DetermiNation, RFL, MSABC, ResearcHERS) can use the personal fundraising link associated with their event. Use the hashtags #DNRunsTheCountry #DNRTC #IRunDNation when sharing photos from your run!

    Registration is just $25 per individual, or $50 for participants who want an event T-shirt. Registration ends at midnight ET on Saturday, June 6. 

    Register now and start tracking your miles on June 1!  

    Each registrant receives a virtual personalized running bib, daily motivation in the event’s Facebook group, social media templates they can use to drum up support, and a finisher certificate.

    There is swag to be had for top fundraisers:

    • $500 - Custom Goodr DetermiNation Sunglasses
    • $1,000 - Custom Goodr DetermiNation Sunglasses + DetermiNation Tech Shirt
    • $1,500 - Custom Goodr DetermiNation Sunglasses + DetermiNation Jacket
    • $2,500 - Custom Goodr DetermiNation Sunglasses + DetermiNation Jacket + FREE ENTRY to an upcoming DetermiNation Race


  • REPLAY: Special NCCRT webinar on the latest colorectal cancer stats and trends

    In this May 18 webinar, Robert Smith, PhD, senior vice president of cancer screening at ACS, and Rebecca Siegel, MPH, scientific director of surveillance research at ACS, provide a closer look at the findings from Colorectal Cancer Statistics 2020.

    Watch the replay here.

    The webinar focuses on findings released on March 5, 2020, that indicate the burden of colorectal cancer is swiftly shifting to younger individuals as incidence increases in young adults and declines in older age groups. 

    Also, the median age of diagnosis has dropped from age 72 in 2001-2002 to age 66 during 2015-2016, and half of all new diagnoses are in people 66 or younger. The publication is accompanied by a consumer version, Colorectal Cancer Facts & Figures and a press release is also available.


  • Coaches vs. Cancer Wisconsin Virtual Gala raises $430,000

    Kudos to the North Region!

    Congratulations to the North Region and the Coaches vs. Cancer Wisconsin team on their successful virtual Gala on May 20!

    The collaborative team of AJ Prathivadi, senior development manager;  Amy Rohrer, senior director, Distinguished Events; Colleen McDonald, director, Communications; and the Board of Ambassadors, led by Chair Matt Uselman, worked together to orchestrate an impactful, entertaining and mission-focused program that was watched on nearly 400 unique computers/devices!  

    The 45-minute virtual event featured past keynote speakers,including NCAA Men’s Basketball coaches Jim Calhoun, Jim Boeheim, and Tubby Smith, as well as sportscasters Tim Brando, Andy Katz, Shelly Smith, and many more!

    You can watch it here. Please note that the first 30 minutes is pre-show messages & sponsor recognition; the actual show starts at the 34-minute mark).

    The honoree this year was Madison native Jim Lemon, a former professional golfer and father of a 1-year-old, who is courageously battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer. 

    The event also recognized Coach Bo Ryan (pictured above) and his wife, Kelly, for reaching $1 million in lifetime giving to the American Cancer Society. He is the first and only coach in the country to reach that mark. Ryan is a retired University of Wisconsin men's basketball coach. He was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017.

    In total, the gala raised just over $430,000 through sponsorship, auctions, and an adjusted-for-virtual-experience paddle raise (via the GiveSmart platform).  




  • Cancer patients increasingly face COVID-19 health impact

    Second ACS CAN survey finds more delays in care, financial strain, and negative mental health effects

    Cancer patients and survivors are finding it increasingly challenging to get necessary health care as the COVID-19 pandemic persists. Many are experiencing financial stress and mental health issues as they try to navigate the difficult health and economic environment. 

    In an ACS CAN survey of cancer patients and survivors, 87% of respondents said the pandemic had affected their health care in some manner, up from 51% in an April survey. Of those in active treatment, 79% reported delays to their health care (up from 27%), including 17% of patients who reported delays to their cancer therapy like chemotherapy, radiation, or hormone therapy. The most commonly reported effects for those in active treatment were changes to in-person cancer provider appointments (57%*), and delays in access to imaging services (25% up from 20%) and surgical procedures (15% up from 8%). Delayed access to support services, including physical therapy or mental health care, remained steady (20%).

    Nearly 1 in 4 patients surveyed say the pandemic has made it more difficult to contact their providers with questions about their health care needs, and 1 in 5 say they are worried their cancer could be growing or returning due to delays and interruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

    “The situation is getting worse, not better for cancer patients during this pandemic,” said Lisa Lacasse, president of ACS CAN. “Health practitioners continue to work to balance safety for an immunocompromised population at increased risk for contracting COVID with timely treatment to prevent the spread of cancer. Unfortunately, this results in delays in treatment for many cancer patients.”

    Patients are also under significant financial strain. Forty-six percent said the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted their financial situation and ability to pay for care in some way (up from 38%). And nearly a quarter (23%) said they worry they may lose their health insurance due to the pandemic and its effects on the economy.

    While a majority of respondents said they are sheltering in place, 18% said they were working outside the home, including 11% of those still in active treatment. More than a third (34%) of patients say they’re anxious the pandemic will make it hard to afford basic household expenses. Concerns are especially prevalent among lower-income patients, with more than half (54%) of those earning $30,000 or less reporting that they’re worried about affording essentials like rent, food, and utilities

    This combined medical and financial stress has resulted in nearly half (48%) of patients saying the COVID-19 pandemic has had a moderate or major effect on their mental health. In particular, 67% said they worry it will be harder for them to stay safe when social distancing and other restrictions are relaxed in their area, and 70% of patients worry they will be unable to find protective equipment like gloves or masks to help keep them safe.

    The survey also collected feedback from a small group of providers and caregivers who similarly reported concern about delayed care and difficulties providing support for patients while being unable to see them, as well as a lack of personal protective equipment. Caregivers, like patients, reported anxiety over reopening and the increased potential for their and their loved one’s exposure to the virus.

    “A cancer diagnosis brings any number of challenges and stressors, but right now it’s even more fraught with additional barriers to timely and affordable care that could be further exacerbated by job loss – like millions of Americans have already endured,” Lisa said. “COVID-19 has shone a spotlight on the barriers to affordable health care that cancer patients have long faced. The survey responses highlight the increasing and urgent need for Congress to swiftly pass measures that help these patients alleviate their physical, financial and emotional strain during and beyond the pandemic.”

    The web-based survey was taken by more than 1,200 cancer patients and survivors. This sample provides a margin of error +/- 3% and 96% confidence level.  Additional input was provided by 111 caregivers and 139 health care providers supporting cancer patients and survivors.

    A full polling memo can be found here.

    NOTE: The previous survey did not distinguish between cancer provider and other in-person provider appointments, so no comparison is available.




  • ACS CAN's new Junior Cancer Fighter Action Center teaches kids the power of advocacy

    With the school year ending and many summer camps and activities being cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is helping to fill the gap with the launch of a new online action center for kids.

    Located on ACS CAN’s website, the Junior Cancer Fighter Action Center provides elementary and middle school-age children and their parents, grandparents, and loved ones with a series of fun and educational activities to help them learn about advocacy, fighting cancer, and ACS CAN. It features videos, advocacy opportunities, and fun activities that kids can complete on their own, as well as with the help of an adult. 

    The action center is the brainchild of Becki Panoff, associate director, social media and digital content for ACS CAN and the mother of three young children. Becki’s two oldest children inspired the concept and helped to test the content for target age groups. 

    “The Junior Cancer Fighter Action Center is a great way for kids to learn about advocacy, fighting cancer and ACS CAN during a time when we’re all at home, and parents are looking for activities for their kids,” she said. “The educational activities give kids an opportunity to learn and do activities with their parents, grandparents or adult in their life, or do them independently - giving mom and dad a little break.”

    One feature of the action center includes the opportunity for kids to participate in a longstanding ACS CAN fundraiser, Lights of Hope. It highlights the beautiful artwork of ACS Media Relations Director Charaighn Sesock’s 14-year-old daughter, Stefania, pictured above. Stefania, who is an ACS CAN Youth Ambassador and is fundraising for Lights of Hope for the first time, is using social media to encourage family and friends to donate and support her efforts for ACS CAN.

    The activity center is not meant to be a formal educational curriculum, nor is it intended to be promoted to schools or school systems. Rather, it’s a series of fun activities to provide ACS CAN volunteers with some great ways to interact with (and help occupy) the children in their lives while they’re at-home, while potentially fostering a new generation of advocates. 

    For more information, visit fightcancer.org/junior.




  • Advanced prostate cancer rates continued to rise after guideline change

    Rise accompanied by drop in early-stage cancers

    A new study led by ACS investigators finds rates of advanced prostate cancer continued to increase in men age 50 and over in the U.S., five years after the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended against prostate-specific antigen-based screening for all men. 

    The study says the rise in cancers that had spread beyond the prostate gland was accompanied by drops in early-stage disease during the same time period. The study appears in JNCI, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

    The researchers say future studies are needed to identify reasons for the rising trends.

    The USPSTF began recommending against prostate-specific antigen-based screening for men 75 and older in 2008, and for all men in 2012. In 2018, the USPTF recommended individual decision-making for men 55 to 69, and said men 70 and over should not be screened.

    National self-reported survey data found past-year routine PSA testing rates among men aged 50 and over declined from 40.6% in 2008 to 38.3% in 2010, to 31.5% in 2013, and remained unchanged in 2015.

    Previous studies reported that prostate cancer incidence rates in the U.S. declined for local-stage disease and increased for regional- and distant-stage disease soon after the USPSTF recommendations against routine screening. The new study looked at whether these patterns persisted in the longer-term, through 2016.

    Researchers led by Ahmedin Jemal, DVM, PhD (pictured here), used data from the U.S. Cancer Statistics Public Use Research Database to look at trends - annual percent change - in invasive prostate cancer incidence from 2005 to 2016 in men 50 and older stratified by stage, age group, and race/ethnicity.

    They found that for all races/ethnicities combined, incidence for local-stage disease decreased by 6.4% per year from 2007-2016 in men 50 to 74. In men 75 and older, incidence declined by 10.7% per year from 2007-2013 then stabilized during 2013 to 2016.

    In contrast, incidence for prostate cancer spread beyond the gland (regional- and distant-stage disease) increased in both age groups during the study period. For example, distant-stage incidence in men 75 and older increased by 5.2% per year from 2010-2016.

    "These data illustrate the trade-off between higher screening rates and more early-stage disease diagnoses (possibly overdiagnosis and overtreatment) and lower screening rates and more late-stage (possibly fatal) disease," write the authors. "Several modeling studies, however, showed that the harms associated with higher PSA screening rates can be mitigated while preserving the benefit of screening through PSA-stratified strategies including longer screening interval based on baseline PSA, higher PSA threshold for biopsy referral in older men, and restricting routine testing to men aged ≤70 years."

    The study did not cover the period after 2018, when USPTF recommendations changed again to include screening as an option for men 55 to 69, and against screening for men 70 and over. The impact of that most recent change on prostate cancer rates has yet to be seen, as cancer registry data is not yet available.


  • 16 of 19 new AACR fellows have ties to ACS

    ​We have a great track record of funding the best cancer research - here's more proof

    On May 12, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) announced its newly elected class of Fellows of the AACR Academy, whose mission is to recognize and honor distinguished scientists whose scientific contributions have propelled significant innovation and progress against cancer. 

    Fellows of the AACR Academy serve as a global brain trust in the cancer field, helping to advance the mission of the AACR to prevent and cure all cancers through research, education, communication, collaboration, science policy and advocacy, and funding for cancer research.

    We are pleased to report that of the 19 elected, 16 were either ACS grantees or mentors to ACS grantees. 

    They are: 

    • Myles A. Brown, MD - Emil Frei III Professor of Medicine; Director, Center for Functional Cancer Epigenetics, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston 
      For elucidating the role of steroid hormones and their receptors in promoting the onset and progression of various hormone-dependent malignancies and for the discovery of regulatory complex components such as the p160 class of transcriptional co-activators that facilitate the epigenetic regulation of steroid receptor activity. ACS grantee from 1992-1997; a former peer review committee member, and chair of the Council for Extramural Grants.

    • Judith Campisi, PhD - Professor, Buck Institute for Research on Aging, Novato, California; Senior Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California
      For groundbreaking contributions to the understanding of the links between aging and cancer and for her research related to identifying the molecular mechanisms associated with cellular senescence, aging, and tumorigenesis that has defined the role of DNA damage and repair in genomic instability and premature aging. ACS grantee from 1979-1981.

    • Arul Chinnaiyan, MD, PhD –Director, Michigan Center for Translational Pathology; S.P. Hicks Endowed Professor of Pathology; Professor of Urology; American Cancer Society Research Professor, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
      For demonstrating the presence of chromosomal rearrangements in solid tumors including the identification of the TMPRSS2-ETS family of gene fusions and for harnessing such discoveries to define novel underlying pathologies in prostate cancer as well as other epithelial cancers. ACS grantee from 2002-2006 and 2009-2019. Named ACS Clinical Research Professor in 2009.

    • Alan D. D'Andrea, MD – Director, Susan F. Smith Center for Women's Cancers; Director of the Center for DNA Damage and Repair, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Alvan T. and Viola D. Fuller American Cancer Society Professor of Radiation Oncology, Harvard Medical School, Boston
      For pivotal contributions to the field of DNA damage and repair that have defined the specific defects responsible for the development of Fanconi anemia and for elucidating the role of nuclear protein complexes on chromatin remodeling, cell cycle checkpoints, and DNA repair. Primary mentor of two past ACS grantees.

    • Mark M. Davis, PhD – Director, Stanford Institute for Immunity, Transplantation and Infection; The Burt and Marion Avery Family Professor of Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California
      For identifying the first T cell receptor genes responsible for the detection of foreign antigens, contributing to the characterization of T cell receptor variable regions and for developing imaging techniques capable of capturing interactions that occur at immunological synapses. ACS grantee from 1984-1985 and primary mentor of three past ACS grantees.

    • Gregory J. Hannon, PhD - Director and Senior Group Leader, Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute; Professor of Oncology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom
      For fundamental contributions to characterizing the role of cyclin-dependent kinases and small RNAs including microRNAs, piwi-interacting, and short-hairpin RNAs in cell cycle regulation, carcinogenesis, and drug development. Primary mentor of two past ACS grantees.

    • Rakesh K. Jain, PhD – A. W. Cook Professor of Radiation Oncology (Tumor Biology); Director, E.L. Steele Laboratories, Department of Radiation Oncology, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
      For landmark studies describing and highlighting the relationship between the tumor microenvironment and surrounding vasculature and for his investigations involving antiangiogenic therapy to induce tumor vascular normalization that have resulted in improved survival rates for a number of solid tumors. Five-time ACS grantee. First one in 1979; last one ended in 1996.

    • Maria Jasin, PhD – Laboratory Head, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York
      For illuminating the role of homologous recombination in maintaining genetic stability, demonstrating the crucial role of BRCA1 and BRCA2 in facilitating such genetic events and for proving that BRCA2 loss, coupled with aberrant p53 activity in breast cells, can result in replication stress and subsequent tumorigenesis. ACS grantee from 1996-1999; primary mentor of four past ACS grantees.

    • Robert S. Langer, ScD - David H. Koch Institute Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
      For vast contributions and discoveries in the field of drug delivery systems and for spearheading the fields of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, generating synthetic polymer systems capable of facilitating controlled drug release as well as serving as platforms for the engineering of blood vessels, cartilage, and skin. Grantee from 1980-1982; primary mentor of two past ACS grantees.

    • Bert W. O'Malley, MD - Thomas C. Thompson Chair in Molecular and Cellular Biology; Chancellor, Baylor College of Medicine and Associate Director of Basic Research, Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston
      For pioneering research focused on the understanding of molecular endocrinology, gene regulation, and steroid receptor biology that has revealed how intracellular hormones and cofactors function at the DNA level to regulate protein production, affect cellular function, and modulate cancer cell metastasis. ACS grantee from 1980-1987; primary mentor of three past ACS grantees.

    • Drew M. Pardoll, MD, PhD - Professor of Oncology; Director of Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy; Director of Cancer Immunology, The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore
      For enriching the understanding of tumor immunology and immunotherapy through his discovery of gamma-delta T cells and interferon-producing killer dendritic cells and for his contributions to developing GVAX and Listeria monocytogenes-based cancer vaccines. Primary mentor of three past ACS grantees.

    • Kornelia Polyak, MD, PhD – Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston
      For dissecting the role of intratumor heterogeneity in breast cancer and metastatic disease to develop risk assessment and personalized cancer therapy models and for extensively characterizing the metastatic potential of polyclonal tumors compared to monoclonal tumors. ACS grantee from 2005-2009.

    • Peter J. Ratcliffe, FRS, FMedSci ­– Nuffield Professor of Clinical Medicine; Director, Target Discovery Institute, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford; Director of Clinical Research, Francis Crick Institute, London
      For his landmark, Nobel Prize-winning contributions to the understanding of the molecular responses to oxygen depletion, specifically the identification of oxygen sensing and signaling pathways that link hypoxia-inducible factor 1 to the availability of oxygen, which has proven to be critically important to the understanding of tumor initiation and progression. 

    • Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD – Professor of Medicine, Surgery and Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, University of California Los Angeles Medical Center, Los Angeles
      For his seminal clinical research contributions that have led to the development of pembrolizumab as the first-in-class approved anti-PD-1 immunotherapy for the treatment of melanoma, for his characterization of BRAF, CTLA-4, and MEK in cancer, and for deciphering the molecular mechanisms responsible for immunotherapeutic resistance, which have since fueled additional efforts to understand the relationship between the immune system and cancer.

    • Gregg L. Semenza, MD, PhD – Director, Vascular Program, Institute for Cell Engineering; C. Michael Armstrong Professor of Genetic Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore 
      For his revolutionary, Nobel Prize-winning contributions to uncovering the molecular mechanisms of oxygen regulation within cells and for discovering hypoxia-inducible factor 1, critical for cellular adaptation to changing oxygen levels, which has had far-reaching implications for the treatment of numerous diseases characterized by low oxygen levels, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. ACS grantee from 2012 to the present; ACS Research Professor and 2019 Nobel Prize winner.

    • Charles Swanton, MD, PhD – Group Leader, The Francis Crick Institute and University College London Cancer Institute; Thoracic Oncologist University College London Hospitals, London
      For his innovative research focused on identifying molecular mechanisms of cancer evolution and its impact on drug resistance and patient stratification and for demonstrating the crucial biological connection between intratumor heterogeneity and clinical cancer biomarker efficacy. Primary mentor of two past ACS grantees.

    • David A. Tuveson, MD, PhD – Roy J. Zuckerberg Professor of Cancer Research; Director, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Cancer Center, Cold Spring Harbor, New York
      For his trailblazing contributions to establishing human pancreatic cancer mouse models, for developing preclinical and clinical therapeutic strategies for the disease, and for characterizing many of the barriers to successful pancreatic cancer treatment, including poor drug delivery and the presence of survival factors in the microenvironment. Primary mentor of two past ACS grantees.

    • Michael Wigler, PhD – Russell and Janet Doubleday Professor of Cancer Research, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, New York
      For his renowned contributions to cancer genetics and the establishment of genetically engineered animal cells and for first describing a role for the RAS gene family in human cancer and describing how point mutations are capable of activating the oncogenic potential of select genes. ACS grantee from 1984-2012; named ACS Research Professor in 1986; primary mentor of one past ACS grantee.
       
    • Sir Gregory P. Winter, CBE, FRS, FMedSci  Master, Trinity College; Professor Emeritus, Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, United Kingdom
      For Nobel Prize-winning scientific breakthroughs including the development of the first humanized antibodies, for establishment of refined phage display technology that has led to the development of adalimumab, the first marketed fully human antibody approved by the FDA, and for collective contributions to the generation of therapeutic antibodies for the treatment of various cancers and autoimmune diseases.

    All Fellows are nominated and elected through an annual peer review process conducted by existing Fellows of the AACR Academy and ratified by the AACR Academy Steering Committee and AACR Executive Committee. This process involves a rigorous assessment of each candidate’s scientific accomplishments in cancer research and cancer-related sciences. Only individuals whose work has had a significant and enduring impact on cancer research are considered for election and induction into the AACR Academy.

    About the American Association for Cancer Research

    Founded in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is the world’s first and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research and its mission to prevent and cure cancer. AACR membership includes 47,000 laboratory, translational, and clinical researchers; population scientists; other health care professionals; and patient advocates residing in 127 countries. 

    The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise of the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, biology, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer by annually convening more than 30 conferences and educational workshops, the largest of which is the AACR Annual Meeting with more than 22,500 attendees. In addition, the AACR publishes nine prestigious, peer-reviewed scientific journals and a magazine for cancer survivors, patients, and their caregivers. 

    The AACR funds meritorious research directly as well as in cooperation with numerous cancer organizations. As the Scientific Partner of Stand Up To Cancer, the AACR provides expert peer review, grants administration, and scientific oversight of team science and individual investigator grants in cancer research that have the potential for near-term patient benefit.


  • Update on #GivingTuesdayNow

    ​Donations exceeded $771,000!

    #GivingTuesdayNow – which took place on May 5 – was launched as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. 

    Thanks to the support of our volunteers, staff, partners, and anonymous matching gift donors, ACS raised more than $771,000 on #GivingTuesdayNow! 

    It was also a successful day for ACS CAN, which attracted more than 200 donors and raised over $23,000.

    Thank you!

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