When the American Society for the Control of Cancer (ASCC) was founded, cancer was rarely mentioned in public. A cancer diagnosis was considered a near-certain death. However, that’s no longer the case. And it all started with the coming together of 10 doctors to form the ASCC (presently known as the American Cancer Society) in 1913.
The American Cancer Society’s (ACS) primary mission is to end cancer for everyone. And while it’s widely known for its cancer research efforts, research is just one of the several fronts on which ACS fights cancer.
One in every two cancer deaths is avoidable. That’s why the ACS is dedicated to reducing preventable deaths. Some preventive measures the organization promotes are quitting smoking and living healthier lifestyles. To this end, ACS provides science-backed resources and information to help various populations adopt and stick to healthy habits.
The earlier cancer is detected, the easier it is to treat or manage. As such, ACS recommends people go in for cancer screenings regularly. Early screening means early detection of cancer cells, if present, before they spread, making treatment harder and more expensive. Early detection also means less time spent recovering.
Cancer can take a toll on the patient and those around them. ACS provides around-the-clock support to help people who have been touched by cancer to ease the pressure. Support and guidance come in many forms, including cancer information services. Timely and accurate cancer information helps people make informed decisions about care, treatment options, and potential side effects. Beyond educating people, it also helps them locate relevant patient services, support groups, financial programs, wigs, and prostheses.
ACS also aims to help and support people every step of the way. This has necessitated a change of tack. Instead of viewing palliative care as end-of-life care, ACS focuses on supporting patients and their caregivers right from the moment someone is diagnosed with the disease. This has made the cancer experience much more bearable.
By rethinking palliative care, ACS has also developed ways of providing patients and their caregivers the much-needed support to face the disease. For instance, patients and their caregivers struggling to access cancer treatment get free rides to treatment centers and lodging, thanks to ACS’ over 1.5 million volunteers.
The ACS recognizes that all its efforts may not account for much if a significant portion of the population is left out. Because of healthcare disparities, such as (access and affordability), many people suffer more from the disease than others. That’s why fighting against health inequities is at the forefront of ACS’ mission.
ACS also works with lawmakers to help fight cancer. Its advocacy efforts include working with federal, state, and local lawmakers to implement laws that improve access to healthcare for all. The Society also pushes for more cancer research funding in prevention and treatment areas.
Today, 1,700 people die from cancer every day. But even many more beat the disease. And those who die from it face the disease with courage and determination, thanks to the American Cancer Society’s efforts.