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Choose a New Year's resolution that lowers your cancer risk

​The New Year is a natural time to try for a new start and do things better - but any time of year is a good time to resolve to take steps in improve your health.

Some of the most common goals – to lose weight, exercise more, and quit smoking – are healthy habits that can help you lower your cancer risk and benefit you for the rest of your life.

Below is a list of healthy habits recommended by the Society. To be most successful, choose SMART goals. SMART is an acronym coined in the journal "Management Review" in 1981 for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. For instance, instead of saying you want to lose weight, choose how much weight you want to lose by a certain time. Be reasonable, perhaps aiming for one pound a week.

In addition to maintaining a healthy body weight, not smoking, being physically active on a regular basis, eating a healthy diet, and limiting alcohol consumption are the most important ways to reduce cancer risk. Studies estimate that adults who most closely follow the healthy lifestyle recommendations listed below are 10%-20% less likely to be diagnosed with cancer, and 20%-30% less likely to die from the disease.

Adopt a physically active lifestyle
  • Adults should engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity each week, or an equivalent combination, preferably spread throughout the week. High levels of moderate-intensity activity (60-75 minutes per day) appear to offset the increased risk of death associated with prolonged sitting. Even low amounts of physical activity appear to reduce cancer mortality compared to no activity at all.
  • Get your kids involved! Children and adolescents should engage in at least 1 hour of moderate- or vigorous-intensity activity each day, with vigorous-intensity activity at least three days each week.
  • Limit sedentary behavior such as sitting, lying down, and watching television and other forms of screen-based entertainment.
  • Doing any intentional physical activity above usual activities can have many health benefits.  
Consume a healthy diet with an emphasis on plant foods
  • Choose foods and beverages in amounts that help achieve and maintain a healthy weight. One SMART goal would be to drink water instead of soda or fruit drinks.
  • Limit consumption of red and processed meat. Replace meat with fish at least once a week. 
  • Eat at least 2½ cups of vegetables and fruits each day.
  • Choose whole grains instead of refined-grain products.
  • Limit alcohol intake to no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. Alcohol consumption is a risk factor for cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, colorectum, and female breast,24 and heavy drinking (3 to 4 drinks daily) may also increase risk of stomach and pancreatic cancer. Cancer risk increases with alcohol volume, and even a few drinks per week may be associated with a slightly increased risk of female breast cancer. Alcohol consumption combined with tobacco use increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, larynx, and esophagus many-fold more than either drinking or smoking alone.

There is strong scientific evidence that healthy dietary patterns, in combination with regular physical activity, are needed to maintain a healthy body weight and reduce cancer risk. Studies show that eating more processed and red meat, potatoes, refined grains, and sugar-sweetened beverages and foods is associated with a higher risk of developing or dying from a variety of cancers, whereas eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and fish or poultry and fewer red and processed meats is associated with reduced cancer risk. A review of the evidence found that people who have the healthiest diet have an 11%-24% lower risk of cancer death than those with the least healthy diet. In addition, improving the quality of diet over time is associated with an overall reduced risk of death. 

Good luck!

Source: Cancer Facts & Figures 2018.

  • What will it take to end cancer?

    An exciting new series that looks into what experts say it will take to end cancer launches today on the blogging platform

    The six-article series by ACS journalists​​ includes interviews with some of the top scientists in cancer research, who share what they think needs to happen to end cancer as we know it.  

    The series covers the major areas of cancer research, including treatment, technology, and prevention, and describes what the end of cancer might look like.

    Cancer is one of the leading causes of death. In 2012, it claimed 8.2 million lives around the world. While experts agree that completely eliminating all forms of the disease is likely not possible, they do believe cancer deaths can one day be a tragic memory. 

    How do we get there? We know, of course, we must continue to invest in the crucial paths of prevention, treatment, technology, and basic science, like epigenetics. Breakthroughs there will have a staggering impact, slowly but surely.

    Over the next week, we will be promoting the story through social media and We encourage you to read the story and share it with others.

  • Surgeon General says e-cigarettes are dangerous to children

    ​A new report from the U.S. Surgeon General says e-cigarette use among youth and young adults has risen to the level of a public health concern. According to the report, electronic cigarette use has grown 900% among high school students from 2011 to 2015. In 2015, about 1 in 6 high school students used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days. 

    The report is the first comprehensive federal review of the public health impact of e-cigarettes on American young people.

    Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said, "Nicotine-containing products in any form, including e-cigarettes, are not safe. As Surgeon General, and a new father, I'm urging all Americans to take a stand against e-cigarette use by young people."

    The report uses the term "e-cigarette" to refer to all the different products that deliver nicotine electronically. Consumers and marketers call them by many names including "e-cigarettes," "e-cigs," "cigalikes," "e-hookahs," "mods," "vape pens," "vapes," and "tank systems." Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which can cause addiction and can harm the still-developing young brain.

    While nicotine is highly addictive at any age, it is especially dangerous for youth and young adults. The harmful effects include reduced impulse control, lowered ability to learn and pay attention, increased mood disorders, and higher risk of addiction to other forms of tobacco and drugs.

    Key messages from the report:

    • E-cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco product among young people.
    • The aerosol from e-cigarettes often contains nicotine and other harmful ingredients, which is unsafe for the user and those who breathe it in secondhand.
    • Research has shown that youth who use e-cigarettes are more likely to go on to use other tobacco products such as regular cigarettes.
    • In 2015, more than ¼ of middle and high school students said they'd tried e-cigarettes.​
    • Brain development continues into the early to mid-20s. Nicotine exposure can harm the developing brain.
    • Exposure to nicotine by pregnant women, including secondhand exposure to the aerosols from e-cigarettes, can harm a developing fetus.

    The FDA now regulates e-cigarettes

    In August 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began regulating e-cigarettes and other tobacco products popular with young people, including cigars, hookah tobacco, and pipe tobacco. Under the new changes:

    • Tobacco products may not be sold to anyone under 18, in person or online
    • Photo ID will be required to verify age
    • Free samples may not be distributed​
    • Sales of tobacco products covered by the rule may not be sold in vending machines unless they are in an adult-only facility. ​​

    The Surgeon General's Report calls on parents, teachers, health providers, the government, and communities to protect young people from the harmful effects of e-cigarettes by treating them as seriously as regular cigarettes. 

    ACS CAN President Chris Hansen said; "This report is just the latest example of why we must continue to invest in comprehensive tobacco prevention and cessation programs at all levels of government that help reduce all forms of tobacco use, including e-cigarettes for youth and young adults. Additionally, comprehensive smoke-free laws should always include e-cigarettes."

  • ACS CAN to Congress: Cancer patients and survivors need continued access to meaningful health insurance

    The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) sent a Dec. 8  letter to congressional leadership stressing that any repeal of the health care law needs to be accompanied by an immediate replacement.

    "More than 20 million individuals including many cancer patients and survivors now have insurance facilitated by current law. Any replacement plan should stabilize and hopefully increase the number of insured Americans. Delaying enactment of a replacement for two or three years, and leaving insurers without any certainty in projecting risk, could lead to the collapse of the individual health insurance market with long-term consequences," said the letter. It was addressed to  U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), majority leader; U.S. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), Democratic leader; U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Democratic leader-elect; U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), speaker of the House; and U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, (D-CA), minority leader.
    The letter asks that they "carefully consider the impact on the health care of millions of cancer patients, survivors, and their families as you consider legislative proposals to replace and repeal the current health law. For years, millions of cancer patients and survivors could not get or keep health insurance coverage simply because of their medical condition. Millions more did not have access to critical preventive services that could have made a difference in their prognosis.
    "The Society’s peer-reviewed scientific research has shown that uninsured and underinsured people are more likely than those with insurance to be diagnosed with cancer at a more advanced stage when treatment is costlier and patients are more likely to die from the disease. We strongly urge that any replacement of the current law build on or improve current protections for patients."
    ACS CAN is asking that several key protections for cancer patients and survivors be maintained, including:
    • Prohibiting patients from being denied health coverage because they have a pre-existing condition such as cancer
    • Preventing patients from being charged more for health insurance because of their health status
    • Prohibiting annual and lifetime dollar limits on coverage that can cut off needed care for patients with cancer
    • Providing individuals and families with lower incomes meaningful opportunities to acquire affordable and adequate health insurance
    • Reasonably limiting the amount patients must pay in out-of-pocket costs and deductibles
    • Ensuring seniors have consistent prescription drug coverage that allows them to afford the medications they need.
    • Eliminating disparities in prevention and treatment of cancer among our nation’s most vulnerable by ensuring comprehensive, affordable coverage is available in every state either through Medicaid or cost-sharing assistance.​
    ACS CAN President Chris Hansen, who signed the letter, closed by saying: “We are confident lawmakers want to do what is in the best interest of cancer patients, survivors and those at risk of cancer. ACS CAN stands ready to work with Congress to ensure any plan that is proposed meets the needs of families affected by cancer and guarantees uninterrupted and meaningful health insurance coverage."

  • Gary Reedy announces a six-region, leaner operating model

    On Dec. 5, our CEO Gary Reedy unveiled a new operating model that puts more power in the hands of our volunteers and reduces our 11 Divisions to six regional areas. 

    The new Regions will be: 

    • West: Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, and Guam

    • North: Idaho, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin

    • South: Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama

    • North Central: Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee

    • Northeast: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.

    • Southeast: Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Puerto Rico

    Gary, in consultation with Senior EVP Joe Cahoon and Talent Strategy, will lead the selection process for the regional executives. Once in place, regional executives will be responsible for filling their direct report positions. 

    This new model is a market-centric one, focused around top markets as defined by population, media, wealth distribution, number of health systems and patient beds, and number of volunteers. All states and all communities in which we have a presence will be included in one of the markets we organize our work around. ​

    Within each Region, volunteers and staff will be empowered to develop market plans aligned with our key enterprise strategies that best represent the needs and opportunities in their respective communities. Each Region will also have ownership and accountability for their revenue and expense activities, ensuring the right activities are being driven from the right part of the organization, and that fundraising and mission strategies are both effective and efficient. Global Headquarters staffing will be realigned to better support the needs of our new Regions.

    A transition team is building a plan to move us into this new operating model by July 1, 2017. The members of that team are: Rob King, SVP, Enterprise Planning & Business Integration; Joe Cahoon, Senior EVP, Field Operations; ​Catherine Mickle, chief financial officer; Phil Monaghan, interim SVP, Talent Strategy; Sharon Byers, chief development and marketing officer; Rich Wender, MD, chief cancer control officer; and Timothy Phillips, general counsel​.

    Gary also announced that a major goal of the new ACS will be to grow and diversify our volunteer network with a systematic way to proactively recruit, train, and align volunteer capabilities to ACS needs.

    A Board-appointed enterprise volunteer engagement advisory team comprised of volunteer leaders from every Division is in place to consider multiple aspects of the transition, including how best for volunteer leaders at all levels of the organization to support our new regional operating model and market-based approach to mission delivery and fundraising. While the group has been active for a few months, they will be meeting for the first time in person in mid-December.​

  • Eight days left to Tweet or retweet #IDriveFor today! $500,000 from Chevy is riding on this!

    We have only 8 days left to make sure we meet Chevy's $500,000 challenge! Please take a minute to post on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #IDriveFor. Retweets count, too!

    Go to Twitter and/or Instagram now and post one of these messages on each channel:


    • One tweet can make a big difference. @Chevrolet will contribute $5 to @AmericanCancer when you use #IDriveFor.

    • Make a difference this October. RT and @Chevrolet will contribute $5 to @AmericanCancer with posts including #IDriveFor.

    • Who inspires you this October? Tweet their name using #IDriveFor and @Chevrolet will contribute $5 to @AmericanCancer.​


    • You can join me in making an impact this October. Post a photo on Instagram with #IDriveFor to honor someone affected by breast cancer and @Chevrolet will contribute $5 to @AmericanCancerSociety.​​​​

    • To make it as easy as possible, here is an #IDriveFor Tip Sheet complete with template messages you can use on Twitter and Instagram. 

    Easy as pie! 

    Retweets and re-grams count, too, so visit the Society's social channels and retweet and re-gram posts that include #IDriveFor:

    3 more simple ways you can help!

    • Encourage your friends and family to retweet or re-gram your message for maximum exposure - and maximum contributions -- to support Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. Remember, each post raises $5!​ 

    • Engage Division and event volunteers in this campaign by promoting this opportunity at all levels, including highlighting the #IDriveFor campaign via Division and event social media channels and through volunteer networks.

    • Leverage relationships within your Divisions and events that are most active on social media with a significant number of followers. Consider engaging your Division and event leaders, university coaches, Real Men Wear Pink groups, members of CEOs Against Cancer, and local media personalities.

    For every post on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag, #IDriveFor, in the month of October, Chevrolet will give us $5 -- up to $500,000. Get posting! Let's not leave any money on the table! 

  • Our New Healthy Eating Cookbook featured on 'Good Morning America"

    Exciting news! Our New Healthy Eating Cookbook, Fourth Edition was featured on "Good Morning America" (GMA) on Oct. 19, and on the Jumbotron in Times Square.

    The book and its author, Jeanne Besser​, were featured in a cooking segment on the popular morning ABC show. You can watch it here!

    Two recipes were featured -- a burrito bowl and a dessert made of frozen bananas and chocolate -- both tasty and flavorful without a lot of calories. 

    With Besser, talking about the concept of eating healthy without sacrificing taste, was her husband, ABC News’ Chief Health and Medical Reporter Rich Besser. GMA hired a cook to pre-prep Jeanne Besser's Flank Steak Burrito Bowls with Corn Salsa and Jeanne Besser's Frozen Bananas 3 Ways​

    About the book

    The 232-page New Healthy Eating Cookbook, Fourth Edition includes more than 120 new, easy-to-make recipes, all with an emphasis on health and taste.

    The recipes were reviewed by our medical and nutrition experts, and emphasize fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and vegetarian dishes. The book also includes:

    • Recommendations for healthy substitutions​

    • Tips for setting up your pantry for healthy meals

    • Instructions on how to read food labels and interpret claims about the benefits of certain foods

    • Notes on how to judge portion sizes

    • Suggestions for eating healthy on the run and when dining out

    • Guidelines for physical activity

    How to order

    Go to​. This book: ACS15. The book is also sold through all book retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and anywhere books are sold. For hospital or bulk order requests, email us at (This book sold out but will be available to order the week of Nov. 21.)

    About the author

    Jeanne Besser is a former food columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and author of numerous cookbooks, including the American Cancer Society's The Great American Eat-Right Cookbook and What to Eat During Cancer Treatment.​​

  • Listen to President Obama's shout out to the American Cancer Society

    During the Oct. 17 White House press conference announcing the completion of the Cancer Moonshot Task Force's final report, President Obama mentioned the Society by name. Our 80% by 2018 colorectal cancer screening initiative also got a mention in the report itself!

    Watch this C-Span video to listen to the President's remarks. Fast forward to 50 seconds in to hear his comment about ACS.

    ​The report referred to 80% by 2018 as the driving initiative that is shaping state and local efforts to increase colorectal cancer screening. The task force plans to sxpand colorectal cancer screening efforts in the U.S. and remove barriers that limit access to colorectal cancer screening.​

    The President said: "By invoking this idea of a moonshot, what I hoped to be able to galvanize the country around was the same sense of urgency and an all-heads-on-deck approach where everybody pulled together -- commercial drug companies, government agencies, philanthropies, organizations like the American Cancer Society, patient organizations, all to look at where, if we really put our shoulder behind the wheel, we can make the biggest impact as quickly as possible."

    Our CEO Gary Reedy attended Vice President's Biden press conference earlier in the day, and that night attended an event at the Vice President's home.

    Read more about the Cancer Moonshot, and follow Gary on Twitter,​​ where he posted a link to the C-Span video.

  • A new way to support the Society during tax time

    The American Cancer Society has partnered with Liberty Tax Online. For every tax return prepared and filed online through Liberty Online (​), Liberty Tax will contribute 100% of the tax preparation fees collected to the Society --  but only if you use the discount code “ACS”.​

    The American Cancer Society has partnered with Liberty Tax Online. For every tax return prepared and filed online through Liberty Online (​), Liberty Tax will contribute 100% of the tax preparation fees collected to the Society --  but only if you use the discount code “ACS”.

    This offer is good from January 2 – April 15, 2015. Please note that this deal is valid for online products only and cannot be combined with other offers or used for past services.​

    Please spread the word wide and far!

    To take advantage of this offer, go to, prepare and file your tax returns and make sure to enter code “ACS” as the coupon code when you checkout. 100% of the tax preparation fee will be contributed back to the Society.

    This partnership came about because Liberty Tax Service has been a member of the Relay For Life National Corporate Team Program for seven years. They are using their new online product to let their customers support ACS, too.​​​

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