The American Cancer Society (ACS), National Football League (NFL) and San Francisco 49ers have awarded a $110,000 grant to Community Medical Centers and St. Joseph’s Cancer Center in Stockton addressing lung cancer mortality by increasing screenings and supporting smoking cessation efforts. The grant was made possible through ACS’s partnership with the NFL and the league’s Crucial Catch campaign.
The grants are the latest in ACS’s Community Health Advocates implementing Nationwide Grants for Empowerment and Equity (CHANGE) program, which provides funding opportunities to reduce cancer disparities. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among both men and women in the United States, responsible for about one in four cancer deaths.
“Community Medical Centers is proud to work with St. Joseph’s Medical Center, the NFL and the American Cancer Society to increase lung cancer screening in our community,” said Ginger Manss, Community Medical Centers’ Chief Nursing Officer. “This is a project close to my heart as I have worked in cancer care for most of my nursing career and my father died of Stage 4 Lung Cancer many years ago and would have benefitted from risk-associated screening.”
The NFL’s Crucial Catch campaign has raised more than $20 million in support of ACS since 2011. Funding raised since 2012 has supported ACS’s CHANGE program, which promotes health equity and addresses early cancer detection disparities through community-based cancer prevention programs that increase access to necessary cancer screenings. In the past eight years, the NFL has funded more than 200 projects in safety-net primary care systems like Community Medical Centers that are within 100 miles of an NFL market to increase cancer awareness and access to potentially life-saving screenings. To date, one million individuals have been reached with education, navigation, and screening reminders.
Lung cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women but takes more lives than any other cancer. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast and prostate cancers combined. The ACS estimates there will be nearly 229,000 new lung cancer cases and more than 135,000 lung cancer deaths in the U.S. in 2020.
“Many people are not aware of the work we do around public health here at the American Cancer Society,” said Samantha Ruegsegger, Senior Manager, Cancer Control Strategic Partnerships at the American Cancer Society. “Our team convenes these types of opportunities which will lead to implementation of evidence-based strategies that have broad population impact on reducing cancer incidence and decreasing mortality rates. I’m especially excited to work on a project that directly impacts the community I was born and raised in and am grateful we have two wonderful collaborating health system partners who also see this as a priority and opportunity to make a difference.”
Lung cancer can be diagnosed in anyone, including those with no known risk factors. Cigarette smoking increases the risk of several cancers and is clearly the strongest risk factor for lung cancer, accounting for about 80 percent of lung cancer deaths in the U.S. For smokers, quitting is the best way to reduce the risk of lung cancer and helps lower the risk of developing several other types of cancer.
“St. Joseph’s Cancer Institute is excited to collaborate with Community Medical Centers, NFL and ACS to increase the early detection of lung cancer in our community,” said Kathryn Langford, Cancer Institute Director at St. Joseph’s Medical Center. “Lung cancer symptoms typically do not appear until the disease has progressed to later stages and we would like to improve early detection through the Low Dose CT Lung Cancer Screening exam.”
Community Medical Centers is a network of neighborhood health centers serving over 100,000 patients in San Joaquin, Solano and Yolo counties. To learn more about CMC, visit www.CommunityMedicalCenters.org.
The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of 1.5 million volunteers dedicated to saving lives, celebrating lives, and leading the fight for a world without cancer. For more information go to www.cancer.org.
The NFL, its clubs, the NFL Players Association and the American Cancer Society are committed to the fight against cancer. Crucial Catch expands the impact of the NFL’s work around breast cancer to address multiple types of cancer through prevention, early detection, and timely access to follow-up care as needed. Visit nfl.com/crucialcatch to learn more and get involved.