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The American Cancer Society

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The American Cancer Society (ACS) is a nationwide, community-based, voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. Together with its supporters, ACS is committed to helping people stay well and get well by finding cures and by fighting back. Critical Thinking Questions:

Imagine that a family friend or colleague has just been diagnosed with cancer. Explain how the American Cancer Society might provide education and support. What ACS services would you recommend and why? According to statistics published by the American Cancer Society, there will be an estimated 1.5 million new cancer cases diagnosed each year over the next decade. What factors contribute to the yearly incidence and mortality rates of various cancers in Americans? What changes in policy and practice are most likely to affect these figures over time Select a research program from among those funded by the American Cancer Society. Describe the program and discuss what impact the research will have on the prevention or treatment of cancer.

Re:Module 2 Mandatory Discussion Question:
Unfortunately, I think everyone has or will be affected by some form of cancer in our lifetime whether it is a family member or a friend. My experience with cancer comes from my best friends mother she was diagnosed with Thymoma 3 years ago and was given only months to live, and today she is a walking miracle. The cancer was diagnosed by a routine chest x-ray. Her complaints to her doctor consisted of chronic cough she had for over 8 months. She tried every type of cough medicine/drops/ and allergy medication known to man kind, and her cough would not go away until her Dr. finally ordered a routine chest x-ray. Thymomas are usually asymptomatic and are diagnosed when an imaging study is performed for another reason.

Thymoma is commonly associated with a medical condition like myasthenia gravis (MG). MG is a autoimmune disease of the nerve-muscle junction that manifests signs like weakness, fatigue, double vision, ptosis and even difficulty swallowing. Research has shown that fifteen percent of patients with myasthenia gravis will eventually be diagnosed with Thymoma. As I witnessed the heartbreak this family went through and the devastation Mrs. Cuevas experienced her family has been brought together as one unit and no one or nothing can tear them apart. They are such a close-knit family. The most challenging part of treating cancer for my friend’s best friend mom is seeing the psychological, physical and mental deterioration that occurred through out her body as she went through various surgeries, chemotherapy drugs, radiation treatment and immune therapy.

The Cuevas family had no medical experience so this diagnosis and treatment plan was a rolled coaster ride of a lifetime. The Cuevas family was introduced to The American Cancer Society (ACS) by another family friend whom does Cancer research for the living at the City of Hope. She has many connections with both the ACS and the City of Hope that she guided this family through the different treatment plans refereed them to the right physicians. The (ACS) is “nationwide, community-based, voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy, and service” (American Cancer Society, 2014).

ACS provides education and support in every way possible; especially with challenges of fully understanding their disease processes and the extensive treatment that goes along with the process. In Mrs. Cuevas case this cancer took years to grow. The Mass was wrapped around her aorta, causing pressure and irritation to her trachea. The services that really caught their attention was the online support communities, such as “What Next” (Cancer Support Network.) This service connected the cancer patient with other individuals who have the same type of Cancer or even to survivors who beat the disease. This type of service is offered through the ACS, because thymoma is a rare type of cancer to treat, and “occurs at a rate of only 1.5 cases for every million people each year. In the US, this works out to about 400 cases per year, and the exact number of people diagnosed each year is not truly known” (The American Caner Society, 2014).

The ACS pairs up with many different medical organizations and preforms research that is best related to the individuals diagnosis and specific needs. Another service the family got involved in is the Rely for life. This organization raises money for all types of cancer prevention. Rely for life has been a “life changing event in that it gives everyone within communities and across the globe a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, along with remembering our loved ones that lost their battle, and fight Back against the disease”(American Cancer Society, Relay for life 2014). This event takes place every year at their local community park. This type of fundraising looks for ways in preventing cancer and researches ways people acquire this disease. For example, people obtain cancer through their lifestyle, the environment they live in or work in and/or their genetic make up (ACS, Rely for life 2014).

There are multiple contributing factors that play a role in the incidence and the mortality rate of the various cancers we fight today, Many of these preventable factors include tobacco use, alcohol consumption, obesity, poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, exposure to workplace carcinogens, exposure to ultraviolet light and more. The non- preventable factors include age, race, gender. Individuals need to be properly educated on all risk factors inherited or not. People need to know the full aspect of all carcinogens we partake in for recreational use. As health care providers we need to encourage citizen we serve to assist in any and all research projects by participating and funding when ever possible. As the health care systems continues to improve it’s detection process and increase health promotion we are one step closer to a cure.

The research program that is associated with Thymoma is the The CancerGenome Atlas (TCGA). This study determines the genomic mutations that lead to thymoma, especially those that serve as therapeutic targets and investigates the patterns of the metastasis. This research program advances includes how and where thymoma will spread through out the body. This research project has also identified the genomic pattern such as myasthenia gravis and the effects it has on Thymus gland. This organization assists in preforming a combination of surgical studies; chemotherapy and radiation agents that have been known improve a patients prognosis. The TCGA also preforms follow up studies in assessing and monitoring their patients for any and all sorts of relapse and/or other malignancies that might take place. (National Cancer Institute, 2013.)

Since there is no cure for Thymoma the treatment and management process has sure prolonged a loving angel here on earth.

The American Cancer Society. (2014). What is Thymoma Cancer and the Key statistics about thymus cancers. Retrieved from Web August 26. 2014. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/thymuscancer/detailedguide/thymus-cancer-what-is-thymus-cancer

Relay for Life: (2014). American Cancer Society Relay Events. Retrieved from Web August 25, 2014. http://www.relayforlife.org
National Cancer Institute. (2013). Research Programs and Funding. Retrieved from Web Aug 27, 2014. http://www.cancer.gov/researchandfunding

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