American Cancer Society: Fighting for Michigan and Beyond

Julie Bitely

| 3 min read

Scientist looking through a microscope
When it comes to the fight against cancer, the American Cancer Society has been leading the way for more than 100 years. In Michigan alone this year, it is estimated that 58,680 Michiganders will be diagnosed with cancer and another 21,150 will die of the disease. But nationally, the cancer death rate for men and women is dropping. As of 2016, the combined rate had fallen 27% from its peak in 1991. The decline translates to about 1.5% per year and more than 2.6 million deaths avoided between 1991 and 2016. The ACS works to ensure that fewer people are diagnosed with cancer in the first place through prevention efforts and contributes funding to important research that helps people diagnosed with cancer live longer, healthier lives. While the organization has nationwide reach, there’s also a dedicated Michigan team working to improve the lives of cancer patients right here in our state. Here’s how they do it. They invest in local researchers. Since 1946 when the Society’s research program began, more than $112 million has been invested in Michigan. This year alone, the ACS is funding more than $14.7 million in studies at six Michigan institutions – with the goal to find the causes of and better treatments for cancer and improve the overall lives of cancer patients. They promote prevention and early detection. The ACS strives for health equity by creating healthier communities, helping to shape a more effective health care delivery system and empowering people to live a cancer-free life, or their best life with cancer. Staff work closely with hospitals, Federally Qualified Health Centers, various state and county health entities, state organizations, health systems, tribal health clinics and health plans. In 2018, 64 health centers partnered with the society in Michigan to prevent and detect cancer and reduce the burden of cancer for patients and caregivers. They support people living with cancer. In 2018:
  • The Road to Recovery® program provided 16,908 rides to Michiganders, saving them almost $700,000 in transportation costs. Rides are available for patients traveling to and from cancer-related treatments.
  • Through their Hope Lodge® communities and Hotel Partners Program, provided 7,024 nights of free or reduced lodging for Michigan cancer patients undergoing treatment far from home, saving more than $1 million in lodging costs.
  • The ACS answered 22,228 call and chats from Michigan residents with cancer questions and concerns, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
They advocate for changes that promote better health. Their Cancer Action Network volunteers and staff in Michigan advocate for more medical research funding. Congress approved a $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health, including $475 million for the National Cancer Institute in fiscal year 2018. With a coalition of state partners, 10 million Michigan residents are also covered by smoke-free laws, another change made possible because of passionate advocacy by the ACS and others. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is proud of a long and rich history of partnering with the ACS to better the health of Michiganders. Throughout the years, we’ve collaborated on initiatives to provide cancer information focused on members, health care providers and staff. Examples have included co-branded cancer screening reminders, educational materials and trainings, presentations and other cancer-related resources. We’ve also been happy to support fundraising events in various communities across the state. Thank you to the American Cancer Society for everything you do in Michigan! If you’re inspired by the ACS’ mission, find out how to become one of the more than 38,000 volunteers they rely on in Michigan. People across the state generously offer their time to participate in events, give rides and serve on boards and planning committees – you could be one of them. Learn more at If you found this post helpful, you might also enjoy:
Photo credit: sanjeri

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