Friday, February 18, 2011

Sharon Cohrs - Climbing For A Cause

The American Cancer Society is proud to hold more than 5,100 Relay For Life events in the United States and in 19 countries around the world. Sharon Cohrs of Australia is just one inspirational survivor that’s part of the International Relay For Life movement.

Sharon and her husband are avid mountain climbers, and in 2007 they were preparing to climb Aconcagua, a 22,841 foot tall peak in South America, the highest mountain outside of Asia, when Sharon found a pea-sized lump in her left breast. After a biopsy and days of waiting, she learned she had breast cancer. “Instead of embarking on an amazing adventure with my husband doing what we love, I was undergoing surgery and chemotherapy treatment,” she says.

Sharon had climbed several soaring mountains in the past 4 years, but this time she was scaling a different kind of mountain. Taking “one step at a time,” she remained focused, positive, and determined to beat breast cancer.

Now she is “Climbing for a Cause” in an effort to raise $250,000 for cancer research and to bring awareness to the disease. With a goal of being the first breast cancer survivor in the world to reach the summit of Mount Everest, Sharon climbed Ama Dablam in Nepal in October 2009 and is climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and Cho Oyu in Nepal this year. When Sharon reaches the peak of each mountain, she showcases her Relay For Life pride by putting on her Relay shirt and taking a photo with her homemade banner saying, “Survivors can conquer mountains.”

Sharon’s story is an incredible message of hope. Will you share yours as well to motivate survivors worldwide to keep up the fight? Use this form to submit your message of hope and encouragement to cancer survivors across the globe, then encourage friends and family to do the same. Help us gather 1,000 messages of hope by the end of February! The more messages we have, the stronger our collective voice will be.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Your Donations At Work

One of the most frequently asked questions of those who are fund raising for Relay For Life is, "Where does my money go". Here is some information that will help you answer this very important question. These are just a few examples of how the contributions you raise make a difference in the American Cancer Society’s lifesaving mission.

Helping people stay well

* Our telephone counseling service, the American Cancer Society Quitline®, doubles a person’s chances of quitting tobacco for good.

* We develop guidelines for recommended cancer screenings and nutrition and physical activity, so people know what tests they need to find cancer early and how to help prevent the disease.

* We provide tips, tools, and online resources to help people set goals and stay motivated to eat healthy and maintain an active lifestyle.

Helping people get well

* Our phone lines are open every minute of every day and night to help connect people with the answers they need. Each year, we provide information, help, and support to the nearly one million individuals who call us at 1-800-227-2345. In addition, our Web site,, offers access to the latest information and news on cancer and helps people locate programs and services in their area.

* We offer an online support community for cancer survivors and caregivers to share stories and find support.

* We assist cancer patients in need with getting transportation to and from their treatments and offer help with free lodging for cancer patients and their caregivers.

* Through our clinical trials matching service, we connect patients with thousands of different treatment options.

* With sites at hospitals and treatment centers across the country, our American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program provides one-on-one guidance to people facing cancer through every step of their journey.

Finding cures

* We’ve had a hand in nearly every major cancer breakthrough of the last century, including confirming the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, establishing the link between obesity and multiple cancers, developing drugs to treat leukemia and advanced breast cancer, and showing that mammography is the most effective way to detect breast cancer.

* We’re the largest private funder of cancer research in the United States.

* We fund researchers with cutting-edge ideas, often early in their careers. Of the researchers chosen for Society funding, 44 have gone on to win the Nobel Prize, the highest honor in scientific achievement.

Fighting back

* The majority of Americans are now covered by a smoke-free law, thanks in part to the efforts of the Society and our nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).

* We help mobilize communities to fight back against cancer with events such as Relay For Life and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer®

* We have helped uninsured, underinsured, and low-income women get breast and cervical cancer screening tests and follow-up treatment since 1991 and, along with ACS CAN, we have successfully fought for legislation protecting this care.

* By supporting Relay For Life, you help make the American Cancer Society’s mission possible, and that helps us all move closer to our ultimate goal: a world with less cancer and more birthdays.

For more information about programs and services of the American Cancer Society, please visit or call 1.800.227.2345 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Miracle Cures

Miraculous cancer cure!" shouts the headline. "My cancer is completely gone!" says a woman in the testimonial. "One pill can guarantee better health!" claims the email. A quick and easy cure for cancer is the heartfelt wish of people facing the disease and of doctors and researchers who are working to treat it. Too often, though, ads and offers that promote "miracle" cures do not deliver as promised. In fact, some treatments can actually be harmful to a person's health. So how can you tell if a particular treatment is the next big thing or a potential hoax?

The first thing to consider is whether the treatment falls into the category of complementary medicine or alternative medicine. Complementary medicine is a form of treatment used along with mainstream medical care. For example, some people find that activities such as aromatherapy, massage, meditation, or yoga are useful in controlling symptoms. These methods do not treat the cancer, but if they are chosen carefully and used properly, they can help improve your quality of life. Alternative medicine is just the opposite: a treatment used instead of standard or mainstream medical treatment. Alternative medical treatments, although they may seem promising, often have not been scientifically tested or proven to work. Patients who choose these treatments may sometimes give up or delay the use of proven treatments, and that can give cancer more time to grow and pose a dangerous health risk.

The next thing to think about is if the treatment follows some of the common characteristics you might find in a questionable or fraudulent treatment claim. For example, is the treatment or drug a secret, or is it or only offered by one person or clinic? Once a treatment is found to be helpful, it will often be used by other qualified professionals, not just one doctor. Does the article or information offer personal stories of amazing results, but no actual scientific evidence? Again, without research and testing, it's hard to know if a treatment truly works. Does the treatment promise a cure for all cancers or other serious illnesses, such as AIDS, chronic fatigue, or multiple sclerosis? These illnesses are complicated, and claims promising a single cure for all are almost certain to be false.

Last but not least, do your own research. If you're considering alternative or complementary treatments, learn about new treatments from respected sources you can trust, and work to uncover the potential benefits and risks. Then, talk to your health care professionals about any treatment you are considering. The decision to use an alternative or complementary treatment should not be taken lightly, and being well-armed against false claims could not only save you time and money, but it could also save your life.