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You’re invited to the Global Relay For Life Festival!

Registration is now open for the 24-hour virtual Relay For Life celebration.

The American Cancer Society will host the Global Relay For Life Festival in the ACS Virtual Campus powered by Virbela next month. Relayers from around the globe will unite to celebrate, remember, and fight back. 

All volunteers are invited to register for the event at Global Relay For Life: Home. The American Cancer Society Campus will be open to all registered participants from November 12 at 6 p.m. GMT (2 p.m. ET) through November 13 at 6 p.m. GMT (2 p.m. ET). 

We highly recommend you download the software and create your avatar prior to November 12. Participants will receive instructions once registered for the event. 

During the registration process, each participant will choose a country/organization. All funds raised by that individual and their team will go directly to that charity. There is no fundraising requirement to join the Global Relay For Life Festival, however all of our cancer fighting missions depend on funds raised! You can show support by seeking donations and selling luminaria that will be displayed during the Festival. 

The Festival will be focused on leveraging the energy that comes from the global nature of this program allowing partners to wrap up 2021 and kickstart 2022.

Activities will include live music, purchase and dedication of luminaria bags, survivorship activities, opportunities to meet others from around the Relay world, interactive tools and games, idea sharing, and lots of fun in this virtual platform. Please note: We are looking for musicians and people to host activities, so if you have someone in your network that would want to help, please connect them to us at

  • ACS study estimates number of cancer cases attributable to physical inactivity

    By state, the proportion of cancer cases attributable to physical inactivity ranged from 2.3% in Utah to 3.7% in Kentucky.

    A new report finds more than 46,000 cancer cases annually in the U.S. could be prevented if Americans met the 5 hours per week of moderate-intensity recommended physical activity guidelines

    The latest data appearing in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise show 3% of all cancer cases in U.S. adults aged 30 years and older during 2013 to 2016 were attributable to physical inactivity. The proportion was higher in women (average annual attributable cases 32,089) compared to men (14,277).

    For both men and women, states with the highest proportion of cancers attributable to physical inactivity were in the South: Kentucky, West Virginia, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Mississippi. The lowest proportions were found in the Mountain region and northern states: Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Washington, and Wisconsin.

    Led by Adair Minihan, MPH, at the American Cancer Society, this is the first study to estimate the number of cancer cases attributable to physical inactivity based on cancer sites (breast, endometrial, colon, stomach, kidney, esophageal adenocarcinoma, and urinary bladder) by state. Data show that 16.9% of stomach cancers, 11.9% of endometrial cancers, 11.0% of kidney cancers, 9.3% of colon cancers, 8.1% of esophageal cancers, 6.5% of female breast cancers, and 3.9% of urinary bladder cancers were associated with lack of exercise. By state, the proportion of cancer cases attributable to physical inactivity ranged from 2.3% in Utah to 3.7% in Kentucky.

    While this data shows the importance of physical activity, there are many barriers to recreational physical activity, including a lack of time due to long working hours in low-wage jobs, the cost of gym memberships or personal equipment, lack of access to a safe environment in which to be active, and potential childcare costs involved with recreational physical activity. Unfortunately, these barriers are more likely to affect historically marginalized populations, including the Black population and individuals with a limited income, underscoring the importance of enhancing health equity.

    “These findings underscore the need to encourage physical activity as a means of cancer prevention and implement individual- and community-level interventions that address the various behavioral and socioeconomic barriers to recreational physical activity,” write the authors. “Understanding and reducing the behavioral and socioeconomic barriers to physical activity is essential for optimizing intervention strategies targeting at risk groups across the country.”

    Article: Minihan AK, Patel AV, Flanders WD, Sauer AG, Jemal A, Islami F. Proportion of Cancer Cases Attributable to Physical Inactivity by US State, 2013-2016.  Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000002801.

  • Beginning Oct. 15: Curated online Discovery Shop event includes suits worn by Alex Trebek on Jeopardy!

    Attention shoppers! Beginning at 1 p.m. ET on Friday, Oct. 15, our West Region Discovery team will be holding a curated shopping event on eBay that includes 22 suits worn on Jeopardy! by longtime host Alex Trebek, as well as a skate board signed by legend Tony Hawk. Join the action here. (Please note that the new items chosen specially for this event will not appear until the event goes live Friday morning.)

    This shopping event will feature hundreds of fabulous items that have been donated to our West Coast shop locations, including jewelry, housewares, and collectibles.

    To honor the legacy of Mr. Trebek, proceeds from the sale of the suits will fund pancreatic cancer research, the disease that took his life nearly one year ago. Individual suits, along with other popular items, will be listed for auction on eBay from October 15-22. The suits were donated by a longtime Discovery Shop volunteer. 

    The West Region has the largest number of Discovery Shop locations, but a few other states have Discovery Shop stores, as well. View the list on

    American Cancer Society Discovery Shop stores are not your typical thrift or resale shops. High quality, gently used, and new merchandise – including designer, vintage, and collectible items – are donated by the community and selected for sale in our upscale shops. Every purchase supports our lifesaving mission.

    Throughout October, donate to Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and instantly receive an in-store Discovery Shop savings certificate by email. Learn more here.

  • Groups urge Congress to preserve paid family and medical leave

    ​Patients likely to need paid family and medical leave are the ones least likely to have it

    More than 20 patient and health care groups sent a letter to Congressional leadership and the Administration today making clear the need to preserve the nation’s first-ever paid family and medical leave program as part of forthcoming reconciliation legislation. 

    The groups, which include the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), the American Heart Association, the Epilepsy Foundation, Muscular Dystrophy Association, UsAgainstAlzheimer's, and others, set forth the urgent need millions of Americans have to access paid time away from work when undergoing medical treatment or caring for a loved one who is ill. 

    The letter implores lawmakers to provide this necessary paid time off to the thousands of patients who are diagnosed with a serious condition every day that forces them and their families to try and balance, work, treatment, and finances. 

    “While you are negotiating budget targets in the billions, we ask you to remember the working patients and caregivers who are struggling to balance their own budgets as they get treatment or recover from their illness, or give care to loved ones, and try to still earn a paycheck,” the letter states. 

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, less than a quarter of private-sector workers have paid family leave through their jobs – leaving more than 88 million workers without paid family leave to care for a loved one. Only 42% of workers have access to personal medical leave through an employer-provided short-term disability insurance policy, and fewer than 60% of workers qualify for job-protected, unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Workers of color, low-wage workers, and single parents are disproportionately excluded from leave options, despite also being disproportionately diagnosed with serious illnesses – meaning the very patients who are more likely to need paid family and medical leave are the ones least likely to have access to it.  

    “Our organizations have long fought to ensure that patients have access to care to treat their serious illnesses and health conditions. Being able to take time off work is fundamentally an access to care issue, and our current patchwork system of paid and unpaid leave forces some patients and caregivers to choose between treating their illness and keeping their job or having enough income to survive – while also exacerbating health inequities,” states the letter. 

    Last month a House committee approved legislation as part of the reconciliation process that would create a national paid family and medical leave program. However, as negotiations continue between the House, Senate, and White House, lawmakers are weighing the possibility of cuts as a means to reduce the bill’s overall cost. The letter urges lawmakers to ensure paid leave is included in the final package.

    “Providing millions of Americans the support they deserve to get treatment or care for someone going through a major health issue, like cancer, is not something we can delay,” said Lisa Lacasse, president of ACS CAN. “Families have struggled for far too long to be told their wellbeing will have to wait yet again. We urge Congress to do what’s right and preserve comprehensive paid family and medical leave for Americans in their final reconciliation package.”  

    Read the full letter.

    Full list of patient groups and partners that signed the letter: Alliance for Aging Research, ALS Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, Association of Oncology Social Work, Cancer Support Community, Child Neurology Foundation, COVID Survivors for Change, Epilepsy Foundation, Epilepsy Foundation West Virginia, Friends of Cancer Research, Hemophilia Federation of America, Muscular Dystrophy Association, National Alliance for Caregiving, National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, National Organization for Rare Disorders, National Patient Advocate Foundation, Susan G. Komen, Triage Cancer, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s, WomenHeart—The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease.

  • FDA authorizes first e-cigarette product

    Says benefits in helping smokers quit outweighs risk to youth

    On Oct. 12, for the first time ever, the Food and Drug Administration authorized an electronic cigarette to be sold in the U.S., saying it believes the help the vaping device provides to smokers who want to quit combustible cigarettes outweighs the risk of hooking a new generation of smokers.

    The agency approved Vuse’s Solo Power Unit e-cigarette and two tobacco-flavored replacement cartridges marketed by R.J. Reynolds, while denying applications for 10 flavored Vuse e-cigarettes. 

    “The authorized products’ aerosols are significantly less toxic than combusted cigarettes based on available data,” the FDA said in a statement announcing the decision. The statement concluded, “The FDA determined that the potential benefit to smokers who switch completely or significantly reduce their cigarette use, would outweigh the risk to youth.”

    The approved replacement cartridges each have around 5% nicotine. That is three times the nicotine concentration legally permitted in many countries. In its announcement, the FDA noted that it was aware of the heavy use of Vuse products by youth, but that it was approving “tobacco flavors,” which are less appealing to teenagers.

    Hundreds of more applications are pending, and it's possible the decision could open the door for other electronic cigarettes to stay on the market. For more than a year, the manufacturers of e-cigarettes have been in a holding pattern — most of their products on the market but awaiting official authorization — as the FDA investigated whether they were a benefit or a danger to public health. As part of its review, the agency earlier ordered thousands of vaping products off the market, including a brand that has surpassed Juul as a favorite among teenagers for their fruity and candy flavors, Puff Bars. 

    A statement from American Cancer Society and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) CEO Karen E. Knudsen, MBA, PhD, follows:

    “While we acknowledge the rigorous scientific process undertaken by the Food and Drug Administration to evaluate these products against the public health standard, we remain concerned about the potential implication for youth initiation and lifelong tobacco addiction to high nicotine concentration products.

    “The American Cancer Society strongly recommends against dual use where consumers still use some amount of combustible tobacco alongside e-cigarettes. Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable cancer death. Any amount of tobacco use is dangerous. To maximize public health, it is critical to prevent youth from starting any form of tobacco including e-cigarettes and to support all those who use tobacco products in quitting.

    “While the FDA has issued strict marketing restrictions in an effort to prevent youth exposure, the manufacturer of these authorized products, R.J. Reynolds, has an established track record of circumventing regulation to addict generation after generation of new customers. Continued post-market surveillance will be imperative to ensure the company complies with the regulation and further monitoring of extended use of these nicotine-containing products will be crucial to understand potential long-term health implications.

    “We call on the FDA to continue to prohibit all flavors in all tobacco products to prevent additional youth – and anyone else - from starting and encouraging those who use tobacco to quit for good.”

  • Let’s Talk: Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer Survivorship training extended until Sept. 2022!

    Accredited class helps health care workers discuss nutrition and exercise with survivors.

    The American Cancer Society, with support from the Center for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has created a CME-accredited training simulation called Let’s Talk: Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Cancer Survivorship

    The simulation gives health care providers a safe learning environment in which to practice effective communication techniques for discussions with cancer survivors around the sensitive topics of healthy eating, physical activity, and body weight. 

    This CME-accredited training provides personalized feedback on practice conversations so that health care professionals can assess their competency to lead similar conversations in real clinical interviews. The training is approved for .5 CME credits for physicians and physician assistants and .5 CEU credits for nurses and nurse practitioners. 

     Click here to access the free training. Note that users are asked to create an account. 

    Why it’s important 

    Excess body weight is a risk to cancer survivors, and physical activity and a healthy diet are important for their long-term health and well-being. Health care providers can be key motivators in giving patients the extra support they need to achieve their healthy lifestyle goals, however, talking with survivors about these sensitive topics can be challenging. 

    Where to go for more information 

    Supporting promotional materials, including sample social media posts, email templates, and newsletter content, are available here

  • Nov. 4: Webinar to help LGBTQ+ people take charge of their health

    The Northeast Region's New England LGBTQ+ Strategy Group is hosting a free Nov. 4 webinar called “SPEAK UP for Your Heath: Cancer and Wellness in the LGBTQ+ Community.”

    During this webinar, leaders in the field will share insights to help members of the LGBTQ+ community understand their wellness options and equip them with information to have informed discussions with health care providers. One goal is to provide actionable suggestions for how LGBTQ+ individuals can be better advocates for their own health and wellness, especially concerning cancer screening, treatment, and survivorship.

    “SPEAK UP” is set for Thursday, Nov. 4, at 12:00 noon ET. Read the full details, including confirmed speakers.

    Research shows that LGBT people have a disproportionate burden of cancer. Distinctive risk factors and other barriers to accessing health care mean the LGBTQ+ community has both greater cancer incidence and later stage diagnosis. What’s more, since no cancer registries or surveys consistently collect data on sexual orientation/gender identity (SOGI), LGBTQ+ individuals remain hidden in the current health data.

  • October Monthly Advocacy Update

    A message from Lisa Lacasse, president of ACS CAN.

    This fall is shaping up to be one of the busiest legislative periods on Capitol Hill in recent memory, with robust and ongoing conversations among members of Congress and the Administration about the infrastructure and reconciliation packages currently under negotiation while the process of fiscal year 2022 appropriations is ongoing. It’s during pivotal times like this that the importance of ACS CAN’s role is most clear: to elevate the cancer patient perspective so our elected officials understand and consider the impact of their decision on cancer patients, survivors, and their families. ACS CAN advocates are fully engaged in these discussions to pursue numerous priority policy changes, as you’ll read below, including the critical need to create a health care coverage option for the millions of people in the coverage gap in the states that have refused to expand their Medicaid programs.

    Thank you for your ongoing support of ACS CAN and our lifesaving mission.

    U.S. House Committees Focus on Public Health with Increased Tobacco Tax, Greater Access to Affordable Health Care

    The U.S. House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees passed legislation that would greatly improve public health. 

    • First was the inclusion of doubling of the federal cigarette tax, while creating a first-ever tax on e-cigarettes and creating tax parity on some additional tobacco products. This is estimated to reduce the number of adults who smoke by 1.1 million. As discussions continue on the reconciliation package, ACS CAN volunteers have sent more than 3.7K messages to Senators to date to help ensure the House measure is included in final package. 
    • Secondly, the Committees included a new health care coverage option that will address the insurance coverage gap created in those states that have not yet expanded Medicaid, make permanent increased tax credits for marketplace coverage, create a national paid family and medical leave program, and cap Medicare enrollees’ out-of-pocket drug costs. 

    These bills are part of the larger reconciliation package Congress is currently considering. ACS CAN applauded the initial critical steps to address these important provisions that will impact our cancer mission and will continue to be working closely with both the House and the Senate, as well as the Administration, as they collectively determine the final framework for reconciliation and to pass the measures into law later this fall.  

    Read our press statement here. 

    Health Groups Urge FDA to Promptly Deny Marketing Applications for All Flavored E-cigarettes, Including Menthol

    ACS CAN and other leading public health groups urged the FDA to expedite decisions on remaining marketing applications for e-cigarettes, and swiftly deny applications for all flavored e-cigarettes including menthol products. FDA failed to meet a court-ordered deadline last month, leaving harmful products on the market indefinitely that endanger youth and our public health. Overwhelming data demonstrates the negative impact these flavored products have had on public health and their role in the youth e-cigarette epidemic. New data from the 2021 National Youth Tobacco Use Survey released in the final week of September found more than 2 million middle and high school students report using e-cigarettes in 2021, 85% of whom say they used flavored e-cigarette products. These data show Big Tobacco is succeeding in addicting another generation to the harms of tobacco use. 

     Digital Advertising Campaigns Urge Support of Early Detection Bill, Highlight Importance of Medicaid Programs 

    • New Ads Calls on Congress to Support Legislation Aiming to Increase Early Cancer Detection

    Graphical user interface, text, application    Description automatically generatedTo coincide with Leadership Summit & Lobby Day held the final days of September, ACS CAN launched new digital ads urging Congress to cosponsor the Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act, a bill that aims to improve access to innovative cancer screening among Medicare patients. The animated ads underscore the importance of early detection in the fight against cancer, and will run through this month in Washington, D.C., California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Oregon. Read our press statement here. 

     ACS CAN Ads Feature Patients and Provider Stories Highlighting Critical Role of Medicaid 

    Last week ACS CAN launched new digital ads through the Medicaid Covers US public education project. The ads feature stories of patients, survivors and health care providers who share how having access to care through Medicaid helps improve their health and create stronger communities, aiming to educate the public about the benefits of this lifesaving program. The ads, dually branded with ACS and ACS CAN logos, will run in Washington, D.C., Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oklahoma. 

    ACS CAN Calls for Strong Patient Protections Against Surprise Medical Bills

    At the end of 2020, Congress passed major legislation to stop patients from receiving surprise medical bills, a win that ACS CAN strongly advocated for. As several federal agencies have worked to prepare for implementing the law on Jan. 1, 2022, ACS CAN has been actively involved to ensure that cancer patients and survivors are protected from receiving these bills – which penalize patients for receiving out-of-network care when they had no choice. ACS CAN submitted comments on the patient protections in the first interim final rule in September, and remains active in giving the agencies feedback as they continue to release more information. 

    Read our comments here.  

    State & Local Advances

    • The San Jose, CA, City Council voted to end the sale of many flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, flavored e-cigarettes and cigarillos, becoming the largest city in the country to end the sale of menthol cigarettes. Shisha (a tobacco product smoked in a hookah or waterpipe), premium cigars and loose leaf tobacco were exempted. Five ACS CAN volunteers testified at the hearing; ACS CAN’s Facebook Live virtual rally reached an audience of nearly 15K; and news coverage, including on Spanish-language network Telemundo, made clear our commitment to advancing comprehensive tobacco control policies, of which eliminating all flavors from the market is a critical success factor.
    • Last Friday marked the beginning of Medicaid expansion in Missouri. In July, the state Supreme Court ruled that the state must move forward with implanting voter-approved Medicaid expansion. ACS CAN helped elevate the story of Amanda Reynolds who applied for the program and is looking forward to having access to consistent and affordable health care. 
    • After ACS CAN provided written comments at a hearing last fall, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services lowered the eligibility age for the state’s breast and cervical cancer screening program to 21 and eliminated an administrative hurdle some patients faced. 
    • More than 170,000 Oklahomans have enrolled in Medicaid following the passage of the 2020 ballot initiative to expand Medicaid, a campaign that ACS CAN successfully worked in coalition with partner groups to increase access to affordable, comprehensive health coverage. 
    • ACS CAN submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services noting our strong objection to Tennessee’s Medicaid waiver request, which would “block grant” the state’s TennCare program and severely limit federal funding to the state. This radical restructure of funding could risk thousands of cancer patients and survivors’ access to health coverage. 
    • ACS CAN united with other leading patient advocacy groups to launch a coalition to support Medicaid expansion to provide health care to more than 42,000 lower-income South Dakotans. South Dakota is one of the 12 states that has refused to increase access to health care through Medicaid expansion. 
    • A new law took effect Sept. 1 in Texas that  removes out-of-pocket costs for patients needing a colonoscopy following a non-invasive screening – the 6th state to do so. The legislation also covers coverage for colorectal cancer screenings for those ages 45 and older in accordance with USPSTF guidelines released this past May. ACS CAN Texas volunteers and staff advocated throughout the legislative session to secure this win. 

    Replay: Recent Virtual Events 

    • Paid Family and Medical Leave

    On September 14, the ACS CAN-led coalition Patients and Caregivers for Paid Leave hosted a congressional briefing highlighting patients, caregivers and experts and discussing why the establishment of a national paid family and medical leave program is critical to people with serious illnesses and health conditions and their caregivers. Without access to paid leave, patients and caregivers risk financial hardship or not getting the care they or their loved ones need. Watch the replay here. 

    • Medicaid in the US Territories

    On September 30, ACS CAN hosted Medicaid in the US Territories: How Inequitable Funding Exacerbates Health Disparities, a virtual event exploring the role of Medicaid in addressing the health care needs of residents of the territories. Patients, providers and territorial leaders from Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands discussed the challenges caused by block granted Medicaid funding, and historical inequities in funding for health care in the territories. This was the fourth webinar in a series, to highlight the role of Medicaid and Health Equity, hosted by the ACS CAN Medicaid Covers US project. Watch the replay here

    • Biomarker Testing and Targeted Therapies

    ACS CAN worked with diverse partners to develop model legislation, which Illinois recently became the first state in the nation to pass, to expand insurance coverage of guideline-indicated biomarker testing, which can lead to improved outcomes, survivorship, and quality of life for cancer patients. Recent education events hosted by ACS CAN Texas and Florida teams explore the promise of precision medicine in oncology and the importance of ensuring timely patient access to this innovation. Watch here.  

    Advocacy in the News

    CNN: FDA Takes More Time to Decide on E-cigarettes

    New York Times: F.D.A. Delays Decision on Juul’s E-Cigarettes but Orders Others Off the Market

    The Cancer Letter: The Cancer Patients’ Bill of Rights: Helping Cancer Care Find Its Way Again

    The Post Newspaper, TX: State Law Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Takes Effect

    St. Croix Source, USVI: Cancer Society Says Inequitable Medicaid Threatens Lives in the V.I.

    KSTS-TV (Spanish), CA: A San Jose Mother Asks the City to Ban Flavored E-Cigarettes

    KELO Radio, SD: South Dakota Medicaid Expansion

    Corvallis Gazette, OR & 1 other: ACS Still Advocates for Cancer Patients

    Washington Informer, DC: CBCF Panel Pushes Nationwide Policy for Paid Family Medical Leave

    Mountain Xpress, NC: Letter: Pandemic intensifies need for Medicaid expansion

    Santa Fe New Mexican, NM: New Mexico Lawmakers Eye Tobacco Tax Hike to Curb Use

    Bangor Daily News, ME: Bangor Would Be First in Maine to Ban Flavored Tobacco Sales

  • ACS/ACS CAN statement on retirement of NIH director Francis Collins

    Dr. Collins is the longest serving presidentially appointed NIH director.

    Our CEO, Dr. Karen E. Knudsen, MBA, PhD, released the following statement today in response to the announcement that Francis Collins, MD, PhD, pictured above, will be stepping down by the end of the year as the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He has held that position for more than 12 years. Read the NIH press release on Dr. Collins' retirement.

    “For more than a decade, Dr. Collins has provided exemplary leadership and stewardship as head of the NIH, the nation’s top medical research engine and the driving force behind numerous recent breakthroughs in cancer treatment and prevention through the National Cancer Institute.

    “During his tenure as director, Dr. Collins has overseen an increase in NIH funding from $29.5 billion to $43 billion, and has successfully shepherded the creation and implementation of numerous significant research initiatives. Among the most significant to cancer is the Cancer Moonshot, which has already funded more than 240 research projects and helped speed the development of improved and new uses for immunotherapies, boosted research efforts into childhood cancer, and worked to expand the use of early cancer detection strategies.

    “Additionally, Dr. Collins’ leadership helped ensure that years of NIH research into coronaviruses was quickly put to work developing safe and effective COVD-19 vaccines in partnership with industry. The critical science that led to an accelerated pathway to these vaccines is an essential component to curbing the pandemic and ensuring everyone, including cancer patients, can safely access necessary medical care and build a healthy future.

    “Before his tenure as NIH director, Dr. Collins worked for decades as a researcher, contributing to critical science, most notably for his leadership on the Human Genome project that is the direct result of the federal government's essential year-over-year investment in medical discovery.

    “We extend our gratitude to Dr. Collins for dedicating his career to the advancement of medical science in public service and look forward to working with the next director to continue the advancement of medical research, cancer breakthroughs, and the lifesaving work of the NIH.”

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