Knowledge is power, especially in the battle against cancer. Nearly two-thirds of all cancer cases may have been prevented through simple lifestyle choices such as avoiding tobacco, improving diet and being physically active. Keeping citizens informed and encouraging them to make positive decisions is and important part of our plan to reduce cancer incidence by 25 percent and cancer deaths by 50 percent before the year 2015.
Day and night
When it comes to questions about cancer, no one should have to wait for an answer. Staffed by trained cancer information specialists, our toll-free help line (1-800-ACS-2345) is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our Web site at www.cancer.org serves, too, as another comprehensive source of information that is available whenever questions arise. For more specific needs, our Patient Services Center – located in Tampa – provides in-depth advice on support services, community resources and other patient needs.
The American Cancer Society, Florida Division also creates brochures and publications related to site-specific cancers as well as reference guides such as the online Consumer’s Guide to Mammography in Florida, which aids individuals seeking help in the prevention and early detection of cancer. Our Cancer Facts and Figures is another valuable reference tool for both professional and public audiences interested in learning more.
Curbing a killer
By simply avoiding the use of tobacco products, more than 28,000 deaths (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tobacco Control State Highlights 2002: Impact and Opportunity) could be avoided each year in the state of Florida. The American Cancer Society, Florida Division has played a leadership role in helping the state design and implement the Florida Tobacco Control Program. The program relies on a comprehensive strategy of education, training, youth programs, marketing, evaluation and increased law enforcement to reduce youth tobacco use. In just over three years, the program has become the most successful of its kind with youth smoking rates declining faster in Florida than anywhere else in the country. Our volunteers also work closely with Students Working Against Tobacco coordinators in middle schools and high schools throughout the state, helping deliver critical information to students and providing mentoring opportunities.
As substantial as our efforts are to prevent smoking, we also work to help smokers make a break from tobacco. Our Quitline (1-877-U-CAN-NOW) provides information, referrals, self-help materials and behavioral counseling for Florida residents interested in breaking the habit. Funded by the Florida Department of Health, Quitline offers all materials and services in both English and Spanish.
Bridging the gap
While cancer can strike anyone, Florida’s African American residents are more likely to develop the disease than any other racial or ethnic group and 33 percent more likely to die from it. Early detection and education can drastically reduce those numbers. With statewide forums, local volunteer-based education programs and community health awareness events that target the African-American population, great strides are being made in bringing the message of prevention and early detection to this community.
The Hispanic community is the fastest growing segment of the nation’s population and currently represents about 17 percent of Florida’s population. Recognizing that many Hispanics face barriers to health-care access including language barriers and lack of insurance coverage, the American Cancer Society, Florida Division’s Hispanic Development Initiative provides leadership in identifying appropriate and effective ways to interact within this community.
Awareness is key
In addition to our Web site and toll free information hotline, the American Cancer Society offers a number of publications and programs designed to increase education and awareness for residents throughout Florida. Community programs such as Triple Touch II, which encourages regular mammograms as well as clinical- and self-exams, help educate and motivate the public. Our nutrition and physical activity programs do the same, urging increased physical activity and better nutrition as preventative measures in the fight against cancer. We also have sought to increase awareness of colon cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death, dedicating additional resources to keeping communities informed. All of these programs, administered by volunteers across the state, create a cohesive message that reaches millions of Florida residents each year.
The American Cancer Society makes a difference in the lives of people with cancer. If you would like to make a difference and help the American Cancer Society fight cancer through its lifesaving educational programs, support services and research, please contact your local office or your American Cancer Society Planned Giving Officer.
A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING 212-929-6300 WITHIN THE STATE. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.
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