The American Cancer Society (ACS) is an organization that funds and conducts research, shares expert information, and supports patients to free the world from cancer through prevention and care. Education and support are important when people are newly diagnosed with cancer. Being diagnosed with cancer is a shocking, and life changing experience. Knowing the correct places to go for answers can help with the anxiety of the diagnosis. Many people research their medical diagnoses in google, and are brought to unreliable sources. Unreliable information may cause their anxiety to become worse. The ACS is committed to providing research based information to the community to improve the quality of life in cancer patients and to provide better treatments. They provide information for specific cancers on their website, including information about understanding the pathology report, learning about recent news, and understanding the specific diagnosis. For example, patients with lung cancer may have three different types of lung cancer, including non-small cell, small cell, and lung carcinoid tumors.
They also provide information about treatments, side effects, what to expect during and after treatments, and ways to find and pay for treatment. In addition, ACS provides information for caregivers and family, end of life care, and includes information for children with cancer (ACS, 2017a).
They also provide resources for support. They provide information for connecting to the national cancer information center, are connected to patient lodging programs and rides to treatment, and give information for cosmetic companies to improve coping from hair loss or breast loss. Their webpage helps patients to search for programs for support in their area and online groups (ACS, 2017b).
For my friend or colleague, I would suggest the National Cancer Information Center. They provide up to date information and the ability to connect the patient with services and resources (ACS, 2017b). I would also point them to the information about payment and finding treatment for their cancer. Even with insurance, cancer can be expensive and knowing where to seek treatment is not always easy. The information provided on their website would be beneficial to lessoning that burden (ACS, 2017c).
2) According to the National Cancer Institute, lack of health care coverage and low socioeconomic status are factors that contribute to health disparities. This information, plus medically underserved populations contributes to mortality rates, because those patients that do not receive regular care are more likely to be diagnosed later, when cancer may be untreatable. Race also contributes to the incidence and mortality rate. Some races and groups are more likely to have certain types of cancers. For example, African Americas, Asian Americans, Hispanics and Latinos, American Indians, Alaskan Natives, and underserved Whites are more likely to have higher incidences of cancer and higher death statistics (NCI, 2008). The NCI also notes that obesity and aging are risk factors for cancer (NCI, 2017).
Policy changes and practices help to decrease the rates of cancer. For example, work environments, restaurants, and other public facilities have changed to non-smoking. The decline in smoking has caused a decline in cancers caused by smoking. From 2004 to 2013, the rate of cancer deaths have decreased by 1.8% in men and 1.4% in women; in addition, there was a 1.4% decreased from children aged 0-19 between 2009-2013 (NCI, 2017). Screening for cancer can affect the figures over time, because early screening may detect early cancer inpatients. For example, a new campaign by the CDC, Inside Knowledge: Get the Facts About Gynecologic Cancer, helps to raise awareness, and has been popular, with 5.6 million visits to their website. More people may be screened, which in turn would increase the rates of detected cancer (CDC, 2016).
3) There are several different research programs funded by the ACS. Nutrition is always on my mind. When I go to the store, I am forced to decide between organic foods or inorganic foods, whole grain or whole wheat, dairy-free or dairy. The ACS funded research about nutrition and cancer, with a $726,000 5-year grant. The Harvard Medical School and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA conducted research to discover how diet increase or decrease the chance of developing colon cancer. They use plasma samples and look at 2,700 different samples to compare diets and metabolism. The Western diet is very different from the Mediterranean diet in foods consumed. “The bottom line is, we are not what we eat but what we metabolize,” and blood will show what we eat and what we are at risk for developing because of our dietary choices (Dale, 2017). This information will help to prevent cancers by educating the population on diet changes. When more processed foods are consumed, it can lead to more inflammation. When more fruits, vegetables, and fish are consumed, people tend to have less chronic inflammation, which results in less colorectal cancer (Dale, 2017).