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Taking Action to Finish the Fight Against Cancer

March 4, 2013

By John R. Seffrin, Ph. D., chief executive officer    


Last month our volunteer president, Vincent T. DeVita, Jr., M.D. began the countdown to the American Cancer Society’s 100th birthday by emphasizing the incredible progress we’ve made in our ongoing efforts to save as many lives as possible. As we move closer to that milestone birthday I want to highlight another area in which your American Cancer Society is leading the way: improving quality of life for people with cancer and their loved ones.

Thanks in part to our work, 68 percent of people diagnosed with cancer in this country now survive at least five years. Ours is a culture that celebrates cancer survivorship, where the word hope – not fear – is associated with the disease. We’re working to transform cancer from deadly to treatable and from treatable to preventable. With that change has come the need to help people through many phases of life with cancer and after it. The Society provides help understanding the disease, living through the process of treatment and recovery, and emotional support throughout the journey.

We offer many programs and services to meet these needs, from providing the latest cancer information to rides or a place to stay during treatment, to assistance with appearance related side effects of treatment. We also provide emotional support, peer-to-peer mentoring, and a world class Patient Navigator Program®. Many more programs and services to fulfill specific needs are listed on Everything is coordinated at our truly unique National Cancer Information Center, which is the only cancer helpline where live specialists are available 24 hours a day, every single day, at 800-227-2345.

Of course as we focus on improving quality of life, our relentless efforts to prevent and treat cancer are always ongoing. I believe we can finish this fight once and for all. As the Society celebrates its 100th birthday, we’re using this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rally people everywhere to help us put the American Cancer Society out of business.

With your help, we believe we can create a future in which all people who are diagnosed with cancer survive it. We’ve learned during our 100 years that cancer thrives on silence and complacency. Progress comes when we speak out, make noise and take action.

I sincerely hope I can count on you to join us on the next – and last – leg of this journey. We know that silence won’t finish the fight; only action will. And we believe together, we can make this cancer’s last century.

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