ACS & NFL Award Grant to Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation & National Jewish Health

DENVER, COLORADO - January 16, 2020 – The American Cancer Society (ACS) and the National Football League (NFL) have awarded a grant to Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation and National Jewish Health to address lung cancer mortality by increasing screenings and supporting smoking cessation efforts. The grant funding 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 as part of the ACS’s commitment to reduce cancer disparities. Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation will receive $95,000 to enhance their lung cancer screening program to underserved populations. National Jewish Health will receive $25,000 to provide the CT screening and an enhanced report that provides visual evidence of smoking-related diseases in an easy to understand format for the patients.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women in the United States, responsible for about 1 in 4 cancer deaths. 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 about 228,150 new lung cancer cases and 142,670 lung cancer deaths in the U.S. in 2019.

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 8 out of 10 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.

“In 2018, lung cancer took more than 1,400 lives in Colorado,” said Allie Bain, MPH, American Cancer Society Health Systems Manager, State and Primary Care Systems. “The American Cancer Society is excited for the opportunity to partner with the NFL, Saint Joseph Hospital and National Jewish Health to reduce the number of lung cancer deaths and to decrease tobacco use in the centennial state.”

“The project will accomplish two important things,” said Al Steinmann, MD, Chief of Academic Medicine, Saint Joseph Hospital. “First, it will help underserved patients of Saint Joseph Hospital's Graduate Medical Education clinics gain access to evidence-based lung cancer screening through our clinical partner, National Jewish Health, and improve survival rates for low-income individuals. Second, it will help us train the next generation of primary care physicians on the importance and value of lung cancer screening and how to effectively engage their patients in screening decision-making, improving patients' comfort during a stressful time.”

“As a Lung Cancer Screening Center of Excellence, National Jewish Health implements screening in a safe, responsible, effective and equitable manner. This grant helps us get important information to patients at Saint Joseph Hospital who need it most,” said Debra Dyer, MD, Chair, Department of Radiology at National Jewish Health. “The CT scan not only identifies lung cancer, but also can reveal other smoking-related disease in the lungs, cardiovascular system and bones. The enhanced lung cancer screening CT report will serve as a personalized health report for patients who are currently smoking and need to seek additional health services and, importantly, will encourage smoking cessation.”

The American Cancer Society is committed to saving lives and addressing the burden of lung cancer. Each year, the Society partners with the Denver Broncos to focus on prevention and early detection efforts, support people currently battling cancer, celebrating survivors and honoring those that were lost through the Fight Like a Bronco campaign and the Crucial Catch game and initiative.

Since 2009, the NFL’s Crucial Catch has raised more than $20 million in support of ACS. Funding raised since 2012 has supported ACS’s CHANGE program. This program promotes health equity and addresses cancer early detection disparities through community-based cancer prevention programs that increase access to necessary cancer screenings. The program officially launched in 2012 within 17 communities across the country. Since 2012, the NFL has funded over 200 projects in safety-net, primary care systems within 100 miles of an NFL market to increase cancer awareness and access to potentially life-saving screenings. To date, 1 million individuals have been reached with education, navigation, and screening reminders.

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About The American Cancer Society

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. From breakthrough research, to free lodging near treatment, a 24/7/365 live helpline, free rides to treatment, and convening powerful activists to create awareness and impact, the Society is attacking cancer from every angle. For more information go to www.cancer.org

About Crucial Catch

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. Since 2009, the first year of the NFL’s Crucial Catch campaign, the league’s work has raised more than $20 million for the American Cancer Society. Money raised through Crucial Catch supports the American Society’s Community Health Advocates implementing Nationwide Grants for Empowerment and Equity (CHANGE) program, which promotes health equity and addresses cancer-related disparities. Visit nfl.com/crucialcatch to learn more and get involved. 

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