The National Cancer Institute estimates that in 2021 about 1.9 million people in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer. Many of them turn to the American Cancer Society for support and information.
This outstanding organization has helped a great number of Americans navigate their way forward with cancer. Their expertise is invaluable and allows cancer patients, survivors, and their families to make the most of their health journey. Here’s what you should know about the American Cancer Society (ACS).
Putting patients in the picture
This nonprofit offers an amazing array of client-focused services to help individuals in their fight against cancer.
It’s understandable that individuals who are newly diagnosed are confused, stressed, and alarmed. While medical specialists do their best to provide patients and their family members with information, having an organization like ACS to fall back on can be critical to a person’s recovery.
Through books, pamphlets, online articles, and scientific journals, ACS makes it easy for patients to access the knowledge they need. Understanding what to expect encourages individuals to be more involved in their care and treatment plan while arming them with enough data to engage proactively with the medical community. This translates to better recovery outcomes.
The American Cancer Society also engages one-on-one with individuals through a 24/7 helpline to offer whatever assistance they can. If someone has questions about health insurance, needs advice on how to cope with medication side effects, or wants more detail about treatment options, ACS is just a phone call away. In addition, the organization will even help with a free ride to treatment or arrange for free accommodations.
The emotional support and day-to-day assistance offered by ACS also includes personal advice from trained volunteers who have recovered from cancer themselves, an online community called the American Cancer Society Survivors Network where patients and families can share their experiences and coping tips, and the option of a video chat for anyone feeling isolated and needing to talk.
Providing preventative measures
One of the areas of focus for the American Cancer Society is providing people with the tools they need to prevent cancer.
It’s known that a person’s risk of certain cancers can be reduced significantly by following certain healthy practices. Healthful habits such as eating right, remaining active at all stages of life, and avoiding smoking each have a positive impact.
The Internet has an overwhelming amount of data about cancer prevention and treatment, but this information can be confusing, overwhelming, and even misleading. However, when it comes to accurate information about cancer, ACS provides clear, direct, science-based guidance in one place. Here you can assess your current lifestyle and behavior to determine where you can, for example, improve your nutrition or reduce your risk of skin cancer.
ACS’ website also describes recommended cancer screening and explains what cancers can be detected at an early stage. Because not all Americans have insurance coverage for various screening procedures, this is where the nonprofit makes a tremendous difference. Incredibly, the American Cancer Society is responsible for more than 1 million cancer screenings for people living in underserved communities.
At the research forefront
The American Cancer Society is probably best known for its research. Since 1946, the organization has invested heavily in the scientific pursuit of knowledge about cancer, better treatments, and, ultimately, how to cure the disease. To date, the nonprofit has spent approximately $5 billion on cancer research.
One promising research endeavor sponsored by ACS is the Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3) that launched in December 2013. This ambitious undertaking invited people between 30 and 65 years of age with no history of cancer to take part in a long-term study. Numbering over 300,000, participants represent a range of ethnic and racial backgrounds and come from across America and Puerto Rico.
The study invited participants to complete a questionnaire and give a blood sample. A follow-up survey has been and will continue to be sent out every three years to update health information and ask about any cancer diagnosis. This research project will continue for 40 years, during which time the organization will gather a wealth of vital data.
In short, there isn’t an avenue not explored and support not provided by the American Cancer Society in the battle against this widespread disease.