Research to Prevent Cancer
Research is at the heart of the American Cancer Society’s mission. The Society has been funding cancer prevention research since 1946 as we relentlessly pursue the answers that help us understand how to prevent all cancer types.
The American Cancer Society first began conducting long-term prospective studies in the 1950s. The participants provide initial lifestyle, medical, or behavioral information, and then are followed over time to assess their health outcomes to determine how those outcomes are related to the previously collected data. Previous long-term Society studies have played a major role in cancer prevention, including demonstrating the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, the impact of being overweight or obese on risk of cancer occurrence and death, and much more.
There has been a recent shift in focus from the traditional role of compiling and interpreting surveillance data to a greater focus on original research on international tobacco control with particular emphasis on the economics of tobacco control. At the American Cancer Society, this work is done in collaboration with national and international investigators and serves to build capacity for collection and analysis of economic data to provide the evidence base for tobacco control in low- and middle-income countries.
The American Cancer Society was one of the first organizations to recognize the importance of behavioral and psychosocial research in the prevention and control of cancer, and to develop a specific program for funding extramural research in this area, including research into the impact of cancer on the family, the quality of life, health behaviors, and health care of cancer survivors, smoking cessation, and other issues and problems of cancer.
The best way to outwit cancer is to prevent it altogether. That's why the American Cancer Society dedicates millions of dollars each year to fund prevention research, including over $7 million in 2012, to help scientists understand the role of diet and physical activity, screenings, vaccines, hormone use and other exposures in cancer development.