ACS: 100 years of saving lives

One hundred years ago the word “cancer” was not spoken, and we lost almost all patients to the disease. Physicians sometimes did not tell their patients or their families they had cancer. A group of 15 prominent physicians and business leaders in New York City knew they had to raise public awareness about cancer if progress was to be possible. Despite the enormity of their task, these determined trailblazers started writing articles for popular magazines and professional journals, published a monthly bulletin of cancer information, and recruited physicians throughout the country to help educate the public. It was this group of people and their brave actions in 1913 that started what we know today as the American Cancer Society.

Research on causes, treatment and prevention became one of the main efforts of the American Cancer Society, funding researchers across the country in their efforts. Many cancer breakthroughs were made by these funded researchers. In 1947 the first successful chemotherapy treatment producing remissions in children with leukemia was discovered by an American Cancer Society researcher, Sidney Farber, MD. A total of 46 researchers funded by the American Cancer Society have received the Nobel Prize for their work on cancer.

In 1948 the pap test was developed by a funded researcher resulting in a 70-percent decrease in uterine and cervical cancer. In 1954 the American Cancer Society launched an era of Cancer prevention research, beginning with the fight to stop smoking and reduce lung cancer occurrence. In 1976 the Great American Smokeout was started as one of those prevention efforts.

As the official sponsor of birthdays, the American Cancer Society knows how important each and every birthday can be. From deadly to treatable, from treatable to preventable: The progress the American Cancer Society has helped make in the past 100 years is remarkable. On May 22, 2013, we will celebrate 100 years of saving lives. The American Cancer Society is celebrating past success and focusing on finishing the fight against cancer.

Warren County joined the American Cancer Society after World War II with a Board of Directors and volunteers. Door to door fundraising, called the Cancer Crusades, enabled the Society to provide local services such as providing transportation for cancer patients, educating the community and even wrapping bandages to be used in caring for patients. One popular phrase of the early years was “Help Fight Cancer with a Checkup and a Check.” Today, the Warren County Unit of the American Cancer Society supports Relay For Life as their primary fundraiser for the county. This year’s Relay will be at Betts Park from noon on Friday, June 21, until noon on Saturday, June 22. Relay For Life teams and the community will come together on those days to celebrate and fight back. As a part of increasing the Relay awareness this year, Relay For Life is sponsoring a “Paint the County Purple.” Purple bows are available to hang in businesses and on doors and windows at home. Call the local office for more information at 723-5781.