American Cancer Society Research Updates
The American Cancer Society is the largest non-governmental funder of cancer research in the US. We get results by investing in various research efforts to help us understand cancer’s causes, determine how best to prevent it, and discover new ways to cure it. Our funding of groundbreaking cancer research has put us at the forefront of the scientific battle against this disease.
Every year over 200,000 American women are diagnosed with breast cancer. Studies continue to find lifestyle factors and habits that alter breast cancer risk. We are also learning more about how genes influence breast cancer. In the last 20 years, thanks in part to our groundbreaking research, breast cancer death rates have declined 32 percent.
Anyone can get colon cancer, but some people are at increased risk. Scientists are learning more about some of the changes in DNA that cause cells of the colon and rectum to become cancerous. This knowledge is already being used in genetic tests to inform people most at risk.
American Cancer Society-funded research has contributed to a nearly 30 percent drop in lung cancer death rates in men over the past 20 years, and death rates in women are starting to decline after increasing for decades. Although tobacco use is not the only cause of lung cancers, smoking is still responsible for about 87 percent of lung cancer deaths.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men after skin cancer, with about 1 in 6 men receiving a prostate cancer diagnosis during his lifetime. Modern treatments allow many prostate cancers to be cured; but, the disease can be an adamant foe when it progresses to an advanced stage. New therapies are crucially needed to combat stubborn prostate cancers that spread to other parts of the body and aggressive tumors that stop responding to standard treatments.
The American Cancer Society dedicates millions of dollars each year to studying how best to prevent and treat skin cancer, the most common type of cancer in the US. Basal and squamous cell skin cancers are very common but are also usually treatable. Melanoma is a less common but much more dangerous type of skin cancer that affects more than 76,000 people annually.
Perhaps no cancer is more emotionally devastating than those that occur in children. In 2013, an estimated 11,630 children under the age of 15 are expected to be diagnosed with cancer. Some of the top scientists funded by the American Cancer Society are working to find the answers that will save more lives from pediatric cancer.
At the core of our cancer prevention studies is a coordinated effort to change people’s health habits. We have strong evidence that an individual’s risk of developing cancer can be substantially reduced by healthy behavior: not using tobacco, participating in physical activity, eating healthy foods in moderation, and getting recommended cancer screening tests.
More than one million people in the United States get some form of cancer each year. The American Cancer Society funds promising research to prevent and treat all types of cancer. Although each cancer is different, a project linked to one type of cancer can provide insight into other areas because of similarities between cancers.