Health Magazine

An ACS Toast…Here’s to More Birthdays!

Posted on the 20 November 2011 by Jean Campbell

ACS birthdaysAs the video on this site says, “Here’s to more birthdays from the American Cancer Society (ACS), the official sponsor of birthdays.”

At first it may sound strange that ACS claims to be sponsoring birthdays but if you think about it, because of the funding they have donated and continue to donate to research and their direct patient support services, many of us are living to celebrate more birthdays.

The research they’ve funded over the years has played a major role in advancing treatment options and prolonging life for people with all types of cancers. The American Cancer Society is the largest voluntary public health organization source of cancer research funding in the United States.

Since this is a breast cancer site, let’s look at how ACS continue to enable women and men with breast cancer to celebrate more birthdays.

Since 1993, nearly 5 million walkers across the country have raised more than $340 million through Making Strides events to help fight breast cancer. Funds raised through Making Strides help the American Cancer Society (ACS) save lives in many ways:

  • Funding research into breast-conserving surgery, using lumpectomy plus radiation for treatment
  • Establishing mammography as the gold standard to find breast cancer early
  • Discovering lifesaving treatments (such as Herceptin) to improve breast cancer survival and drugs (such as Tamoxifen) to reduce the risk of second or first breast cancer
  • Discovering genes for inherited breast and colon cancer
  • Knowledge that genetics, diet, lack of exercise, and alcohol abuse can increase a person’s cancer risk
  • Discovering cancer-causing oncogenes and tumor-suppressor genes
  • Helping People Stay Well – ACS provides screening guidelines, physician education, and engages in efforts to increase public awareness about the importance of yearly mammograms.
  • ACS  has successfully lobbied Congress for millions of dollars for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, which helps low-income, uninsured, and underinsured women get access to critical screenings and follow-up treatment.
  • ACS actively support legislation that would increase access to treatment for breast cancer patients and the quality of life for breast cancer survivors.
  • ACS addresses disparities by promoting important public policies that provide access to quality health care and screening for all women.

From personal experience, I can speak to the life-saving direct patient services that the American Cancer Society provides through its in-hospital patient navigator programs nation-wide.

During the years I was an ACS patient navigator in New York City’s public hospitals, I witnessed how receiving free services such as transportation made the difference between many cancer patients being able to get to treatment or having to forgo treatment.

Free wigs and being linked to ACS community partners for an in-home meals program meant everything to women and men with limited resources and few, if any, family supports.

Having access to navigators who were survivors, came from similar backgrounds, and spoke their language gave many patients the emotional support to get through treatment.

So, given what I know about the work of the American Cancer Society (ACS), I would have to agree that when it come to cancer, they are the official sponsor of birthdays!

I am pleased to have the opportunity to write this editorial post for the American Cancer Society.

To learn more about the American Cancer Society’s many programs and services, visit

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