Biz Blog Profile Series: American Cancer Society Blogs


Biz Blog Profile: is a behind the scene look at how corporations, non profits and Cancer_wrist_band___hopehigher education institutions are using blogs to support marketing goals.

About The American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society (ACS) is setting the bar high when it comes to developing innovative marketing strategies in the non profit space. For profits...take note!

Lisa (Meyers) Brown, VP of Marketing, American Cancer Society/Eastern is passionate when it comes to fighting cancer. I met Lisa at the Innovations Conference (on social networking) that was chaired by Randal Moss. I was immediately impressed by her creativity, as well as, the leadership position ACS is taking in terms of leveraging technology to support out reach programs.

Lisa is involved in several exciting social networking initiatives, including blogs. Fabulous at 50, is a unique program that supports colon cancer awareness. I love that a blog tactic is integrated into the overall strategy. Team ACS is an online fund raising program that Lisa created. It targets volunteers who participate in marathons, triathlons, bike races and other community events.

Biz Blog Profile: Fabulous at 50 Blog
The American Cancer Society is the nationwide community-based voluntary heath 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.

Why ACS is Blogging

Cancer doesn't discriminate, even in the blogosphere. In a broad sense, blogs offer another way for us to reach all kinds of communities and it's a medium that can help us fight cancer - whether staff is internally blogging about best practices and using the blogosphere to facilitate better communication, or whether we're recruiting those touched by cancer to share their experiences as a means to help raise awareness. At the end of the day, this is 100% about our mission and blogs are a means to help us make a difference in the fight against cancer.

How Blogs Fit into ACS's Marketing Strategy

At its most basic function, blogs are examples of how social networks can develop online and facilitate grass roots mobilization. They are starting to play an important role in our marketing strategies.

We are a community-based organization so blogs offer us another touch-point to raise awareness of early detection and prevention.

One key way we can continue to elevate awareness is through the personal experiences of those touched by cancer. We all know there's tremendous power in stories like this and blogs help us tap into this important part of raising awareness.

During National Colon Cancer Awareness Month, we launched a campaign to help raise awareness about the importance of colon cancer screening. We implemented a number of strategies, one of which was to develop a web presence where a limited number of volunteers blogged about their colon cancer screening experience. We then promoted these personal stories (with our bloggers permission) through traditional and new media.

We're also using blogs to discuss the future of the American Cancer Society, particularly as it relates to innovation and change. The Futuring and Innovation Center (FI Center) started a blog sometime ago in effort to increase the dialog about innovation, change makers, organizational change, social change and a host of issues that may affect our mission.

Selling-in To Management

We have an entity of our organization - the Futuring and Innovation Center (FI Center) - that is charged with identifying, testing, and fostering breakthrough innovations. They are constantly on the prowl for new ways to utilize technologies to help fight cancer.

A few months ago, the FI Center hosted a social networking conference and several of our national and division leadership attended. During the two-day gathering, we heard from several experts and well-known bloggers including Judith Meskill, Chris Allen, Stowe Boyd, Jason Calanconis, Liz Lawley and more. It was an intense two days jam packed with information but I think every organization there (ACS convened several national voluntary health organizations) and was sold after hearing from this group.

How ACS is Marketing Blogs

Aside from the colon cancer effort (Fabulous at 50 blog), we really haven't put that much into marketing our blogs. We're still new to the blogosphere and still trying to better understand how we can contribute effectively and strategically.

For the colon cancer awareness initiative we relied on viral tools - Fabulous 50 quiz - earned media efforts and some donated search engine optimization.

Lessons Learned

There are many lessons learned and to be frank, we're still capturing them. Most obviously, we learned that it's not enough to "build it and hope people will come." Our colon cancer blogs, Fabulous At 50, were developed to facilitate the chronicling of these experiences and at the time, we didn't really grasp the importance of regularly updating blogs.

Blogging provided the best technology to chronicle the experiences of our volunteers around Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Hopefully, through these shared stories, others will find strength, not feel so alone, face their fear of getting screened, and fight back however possible (if everyone over 50 got screened for colon caner alone, SO many lives would be saved...colon cancer is actually one type of cancer that can be prevented).

I should point out that this was our first time using blogs this way and that we learned a great deal. Primarily the importance of having volunteers update the blogs regularly and the importance of linking into the blogosphere.

But overall, using blogs in this way did reinforce the power of the medium, the power of personal testimony.

Future Direction

We really want to better integrate blogs into a broader spectrum of our efforts but are still learning about the medium. So our goal, over the next several months, really is to test ideas on a small scale, continue to explore the medium, start listening to the conversations already going on in the blogosphere about cancer. We're still very much in the student mode, trying to learn as much as we can about how this medium can further support our efforts to fight cancer.

Lisa (Meyers) Brown On Blogs

I find it very interesting that this new medium is the result of people wanting to share themselves (opinions, likes, dislikes, etc.) with the world. When you're talking about raising awareness about something like cancer, this type of energy and openness is a step in the right direction.

We all know that half of the battle is often getting people to talk about cancer -- it's still often a scary and intimidating subject. Remember when women dare not say the words "pap smear?" Remember when men dared not discuss getting a PSA test? It's now okay to not only talk about this type of stuff at the dinner table with your family and friends, but also okay to talk about it with strangers around the world ... via mediums like blogs.

Would it be too much of a stretch to suggest that blogs are saving lives ?!?

I'm also extremely interested to see where this medium goes in-general ... we may reach a point where every department of every corporation has a blog to communicate internally and cross-functionally (a la email). We may reach a point where academic courses are conducted on a sort of edu-Blog.
Sidebar: University of Delaware

We may reach a point where society re-defines corporate/social responsibility because of the blogosphere. We may reach a point when instead of having to physically to to the doctor, you visit your doc's blog to access quick remedies. We may reach a point where everyone has a blog and instead of a resume, you market yourself through your blog (alreaCancer__strivesdy happening). We may reach a point where blogging is a first step to dating (already happening). We may reach a point where blogs can help marketers determine product development (already happening).

It's an exciting time!

Sidebar: Lisa's personal blog, The Rhetoric of Me is a must visit also.



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» Biz Blog Profile Series: American Cancer Society Blogs from Community Mobilization
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Tracked on Apr 22, 2006 10:14:31 AM


Peter Deck
Research Consultant
3 Mosely Ave.
Staten Island, NY 10312-4113
Email: [email protected]

Does Washington Really Want To Cure Cancer?
Cancer Cure Within The Next Five Years

According to the American Cancer Society there will be 570,280 deaths due to cancer in the year 2005 along with 1,372,910 new cases reported. Let me repeat it that’s 570,280 dead men, woman, and children that shouldn't have to die. Do you realize that over the last five years more Americans have died from cancer than in all the wars put together since the American Revolutionary War over, 1.5 million American soles have perished from cancer.

Why haven't we cured cancer?

The U.S. government throws billions of dollars at medical research, ever more if you include various charities and still no cures. The Goal at least I thought the government had one, was to find medical cures. With billions of dollars in spending since 1938 diseases like Cancer, MS, Hepatitis, Diabetes etc. are still with us.

Can we find cures?

The answer is yes and it doesn't have to take 60 years, with the technologies currently at hand and a group of highly focused & motivated researchers, cures could be rolling off the assembly line instead of tanks and bombs. Your wondering how I can possibility say that, well just look at our past, do you remember a top secret government project named "The Manhattan Project" & The Man On The Moon Program? When the government was really committed and focused it could do the impossible. (See the background data section)

Medical Cure Vs Treatment

A short time ago I noticed that I could not think of any modern day medical researcher since Dr. Jonas Salk & Albert Sabin (polio vaccine 1952) that has published a paper on any major cure. It is now 2005 over 50 years since the polio vaccine and were still saddled with the same diseases such as cancer, MS, hepatitis, diabetes etc. I could probably list a hundred more.

I thought this can't be, we have the best technology in the world! As I looked at the problem I first thought there had to be some government agency responsible for leading the fight for medical cures, perhaps The NIH (National Institute of Health) with it's 27 Billion dollar a year budget, but it acts more like a charity than an agency leading the fight for cures. I couldn't find one. I thought if the government wasn't focused on finding cures it had to be the drug companies. What soon became obvious was that the drug companies are looking for profits. If a drug company spends hundreds of millions of dollars on a drug, they need to recoup their investment. So if they produce a treatment medication that the medical patient must take for the rest of their life to suppress a disease a huge profit results for the drug company. On the other hand if the medical patient just takes one pill and their cured theirs not much of a profit. The awful truth there is no profit in cures only in treatment plans for the drug companies.

Just look at what you hear on the news every other day "stay tuned for the latest news on a new treatment for breast cancer etc.". The word cure seams to have been removed from our everyday life and replaced by the word treatment.

The big question is who or what group is the overseer for medical cures?

What's Wrong With Our Present System

The problem is that we don't have a system. That’s right there is no system in this great country.
There is no central medical authority mandating and overseeing medical cures. Instead it's more like a free-for-all, everybody going in different directions, with different agendas.

The Bottom Line

In order for change to take place something has to change. You have to do something, Women might still not have the right to vote if it wasn't for the efforts of Susan B Anthony.

The solution isn't just throwing money at the problem but rather how you go about solving the problem

Peter Deck
Research Consultant
3 Mosely Ave.
Staten Island, NY 10312-4113
Email: [email protected]

Background data section

Background 1. The Manhattan Project

In 1939, the Nazis were rumored to be developing an atomic bomb. The United States initiated its own program under the Army Corps of Engineers in June 1942. America needed to build an atomic weapon before Germany or Japan did. The first atomic test blast named trinity succeeded in late July 1945.
When the U.S. was highly motivated and focused on doing what seamed impossible in 1939 had taken only 6 years to complete. PD

Background 2. Man On The Moon

Apollo 11 - "One Giant Leap". On July 20, 1969, the human race accomplished its single greatest technological achievement of all time when a man first set foot on another celestial body. We entered a new era, no longer bound by the circles of the earth that had held us so jealously so close to its surface for so long. On that day we evolved from lowly, apelike homo sapiens to homo universalis, Man of the Universe, through the power of our minds and the strength of our indomitable will.

The moon walkers left behind a plaque on the lunar surface that read:
"Here Men From Planet Earth First Set Foot Upon The Moon. July 1969 A.D. We Came In Peace For All Mankind."
Since 1969 over 10 million Americans have died from cancer! (Do we have our priority's in the right place.)

Background 3. The March of Dimes

Let's start with a look at the March of Dimes. I downloaded this paragraph from their web site.

When Franklin D. Roosevelt founded the March of Dimes in 1938 he chose research to be one of the cornerstones of the effort to defeat polio. Seventeen years and $25.5 million dollars in March of Dimes funded research later, the polio vaccine was declared safe and highly effective.
As the new century proceeds, our research investments continue to be one of the cornerstones of the March of Dimes mission. March of Dimes programs fund several different types of research, all aimed at preventing birth defects and infant mortality. These programs include basic research into life processes, such as genetics and development; clinical research applied to prevention and treatment of specific birth defects and prematurely; the study of environmental hazards; and research in social and behavioral sciences relevant to our mission.

The March of Dimes is certainly a fine organization but as you can see they still hype the polio vaccine from 1952 as there claim to fame. Its 53 years later any other cures? PD

The next 2 paragraphs are part of a bio on Dr. Jonas Salk, he was ostracize from the medical community for simply applying the work of others and came out with a vaccine that stopped polio. We could use more people like him today. PD

The success of the vaccination effort won Jonas Salk unsought fame. The March of Dimes, hoping to boost publicity and donations to fund vaccination programs, lionized Salk to the point of offending his colleagues. He had applied the findings of others in a successful bid to prevent disease. Other researchers and doctors grumbled that he hadn't found anything new; he had just applied what was there. But the timing of his successful vaccine at the peak of polio's devastation made the public blind to that.

Salk's vaccine was soon replaced by a variation developed by Albert Sabin that could be taken orally. There were pros and cons to each, but the oral vaccination won out. In 1963, still somewhat alienated from the medical community, Salk founded the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences in La Jolla, California. "I couldn't possibly have become a member of this institute if I hadn't founded it myself," he said. Jonas Salk died of congestive heart failure in 1995.

I don't know how many hundreds of millions of dollars the March of Dimes has spent since 1938, any cures since the polio vaccine? PD

Background 4. The National Institutes of Health

Mission: The National Institutes of Health is the steward of medical and behavioral research for the Nation. It is an Agency under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Location: NIH headquarters are located in Bethesda, Maryland, and the surrounding area. NIH funds scientific studies at universities and research institutions across the Nation. NIH also sponsors public events around the Nation.

Organization: The NIH comprises the Office of the Director and 27 Institutes and Centers. The Office of the Director is responsible for setting policy for NIH and for planning, managing, and coordinating the programs and activities of all NIH components.

Leadership: NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D.
Institute and Center Directors

Staff: More than 18,000 employees

Funding: $27,066,782,000 in FY2003 Congressional appropriations
Above data downloaded from the NIH web site.
The NIH is a pretty big deal, I'm sure they do wondrous things except deliver medical cures.
Lets see why, you would think with $27,066,782,000 billion dollars a year in funding we might expect a cure or two. The following paragraph is also from their web site. PD

New Organs and Tissues: In the United States, the total cost of health care for patients who have lost organs or tissues -- such as the air sacs in the lung, a heart valve, or blood vessel -- due to damage or disease exceed $400 billion annually. Because of the dearth of transplantable organs, many of these people die. In an effort to improve the treatment of heart, lung, and blood diseases, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) will award grants to develop ways to "grow" functional tissues and organs to replace those that are lost or damaged, and create suitable substitutes such as artificial blood components or heart valves.

There a lot of billions being spent. as Carl Sagan would say, Billions & Billions and not a cure insight.
NIH Funding: $27,066,782,000 in FY2003 Congressional appropriations PD
$400 billion annually: total cost of health care for patients who have lost organs or tissues

Background 5. Can a Virus Kill Cancer?
Genetic engineers are turning nasty, infectious microbes into smart treatments for a deadly disease.
From an article published in Popular Science May 2005 by Joshua Tomkins

Here are some excerpts from that article.

In February, researchers at UCLA announced a clash of titans, biochemically speaking: They turned one of the great scourges of humankind-HIV-into a hunter on another: cancer. Around the same time, researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, announced similar results after engineering the measles virus to seek and destroy cancerous tumors while leaving healthy tissue unscathed. as radical as it sounds, the idea of turning viruses loose on cancer actually predates the genetic technology that now fuels it.
During the 1950s, scientist proved that adenovirus, a version of the common cold bug, was mildly effective against cervical cancer. But research was abandoned as chemotherapy gained prominence, and virotherapy was resurrected only after a study published in the Journal Science in 1991 showed that a virus could be genetically modified to invade a tumor with out inflicting disease.

It seams to have taken 50 years for some people in the medical field to come to the conclusion that chemotherapy isn't a cure for cancer, but it sure is a profit center (I hope your getting the message) P.D.

Background 6.
Dr. Emil Frei Establishes a New Cancer Services Platform
Updated: 6:00 a.m. ET Feb. 17, 2005

Here are some excerpts from this article.

LAS VEGAS, Feb. 17, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- Dr. Emil Frei III, one of the world's premier researchers in the field of oncology chemotherapy, today announced that he has established a new consultative services firm to meet the growing global needs of entrepreneurs and scientists in the fight against cancer. His plan will provide for a stronger and more consistent approach to the development of drugs and most therapeutic biologics used to diagnose, treat, and prevent cancer.

Dr. Frei 's new service platform makes him available for a variety of consultative arrangements including reviewing non-profit grant applications, project grant reviews, Cancer Center Grant Application reviews, assisting with recruitment for executive management and or specific medical/scientific skillsets, and industry collaboration guidance. Pricing for various services are ascertained on a per time basis.

Dr. Frei, being one of the leading cancer researchers in the world, has originated some of the most revolutionary oncology breakthroughs of the last century and is respected throughout the medical community for his stellar contributions. Dr. Frei is a legend in the development of modern chemotherapy treatments. He is Physician-in-Chief Emeritus at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute -- Harvard Medical School and has served on the editorial board of the New England Journal of Medicine and Journal of Clinical Oncology among others. Past appointments in his distinguished career include: served as President of both the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). He was the Director of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and Chief of Medicine at the U.S. National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD and Chief of Clinical Therapeutic Research at M.D. Anderson in Houston Texas.

(With no disrespect to Dr. Frei but it was right there in the first paragraph of the article "to meet the growing global needs of entrepreneurs and scientists in the fight against cancer." instead of saying "to meet the growing global needs of humankind in the fight against cancer." We get that same old word entrepreneurs and that stands for profits.

Background 7.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (At least they have the right idea, finding a cure) PD

Dedicated to Finding a Cure The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International (JDRF) is the leading charitable funder and advocate of type 1 (juvenile) diabetes research worldwide. The mission of JDRF is to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research. Building Upon Research Successes JDRF funding and leadership is associated with most major scientific breakthroughs in type 1 research to date. In fact, JDRF funds a major portion of all type 1 diabetes research worldwide, more than any other charity. JDRF provided over $80 million to diabetes research in FY 2003, and is responsible for more than $680 million in direct funding since it was founded. Our research review process not only includes leading research scientists from around the world, but lay reviewers who either have type 1 diabetes or have family members with type 1 diabetes, ensuring that JDRF funds research with the greatest impact throughout the world, leading to results as soon as possible. Moving Research from Bench to Bedside JDRF is driven by results and successes in three major cure goals: restoring normal blood sugar, preventing and reversing diabetes-related complications, and preventing diabetes. Working toward these goals, JDRF has taken the lead in translating basic research breakthroughs into cure therapies in such areas as experimentation in islet transplantation, transplant tolerance, beta cell regeneration, and diabetes prevention. The Foundation creates multidisciplinary programs that bring together diabetes researchers from many institutions and diverse disciplines to find a cure for diabetes and its complications. Efficiently Organized for Successful Results JDRF is structured on a business-world model that efficiently and effectively directs resources to research aimed at finding a cure as soon as possible. More than 80 percent of JDRF’s expenditures directly support research and research-related education. Because of its unwavering focus on its mission to find a cure, JDRF annually receives top rankings from independent sources that rate charitable giving. JDRF leverages its research impact by partnering with and stimulating increased research spending on the part of public and private medical organizations and other entities throughout the world. A Backbone of Dedicated and Active Volunteers JDRF was founded in 1970 by the parents of children with type 1 diabetes. As a result, JDRF volunteers have a personal connection to type 1 diabetes, which translates into an unrelenting commitment to finding a cure. These volunteers are the driving force behind more than 100 locations worldwide that raise money and advocate for government spending for type 1 diabetes research. For more information, visit the JDRF Web site at, or call 800-533-CURE. March 2004

(The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation may have a great mission statement but there still a charity and must dedicate most of their time searching out new funding sources. As you can see It's been 35 years since they started and type 1 diabetes is still with us.) PD

Posted by: Peter Deck on Jun 28, 2005 1:31:02 PM

In my view if in general use in the treatment of cancer, cancer chemotherapy and cancer hormone treatments must be covered whether performed in a physician’s office, an outpatient department of a hospital, a hospital inpatient, or any other medically appropriate treatment setting.

Posted by: Andrew Spark on Feb 7, 2006 12:45:08 AM

In my view if in general use in the treatment of cancer, cancer chemotherapy and cancer hormone treatments must be covered whether performed in a physician’s office, an outpatient department of a hospital, a hospital inpatient, or any other medically appropriate treatment setting.

Posted by: Andrew Spark on Feb 7, 2006 12:45:09 AM

In my view if in general use in the treatment of cancer, cancer chemotherapy and cancer hormone treatments must be covered whether performed in a physician’s office, an outpatient department of a hospital, a hospital inpatient, or any other medically appropriate treatment setting.

Posted by: Andrew Spark on Feb 7, 2006 12:45:10 AM

In my view if in general use in the treatment of cancer, cancer chemotherapy and cancer hormone treatments must be covered whether performed in a physician’s office, an outpatient department of a hospital, a hospital inpatient, or any other medically appropriate treatment setting.

Posted by: Andrew Spark on Feb 7, 2006 12:45:11 AM

Great marketing ideas! I'm constantly checking back and always amazed..keep going girl!

Posted by: Tech Savy on Jun 17, 2006 2:41:00 PM

I find this blog space so encouraging and in a way liberating. For one, cancer is a scary scary thing for most people and to get advice and have the ability to hear from other people on the matter is something that should definitly provide the support that people need. I think that continuation of learning and growing through this blog space will have remarkable results. There have been many helpful rescources online that have impacted the survivors, patients and even friends or family involved. The American Cancer Society is using innovation to stay ahead and being a cancer pateint myself, am moved that there are still programs that get involved and who havent given up yet.
Keep up the strategy and the good work! :)

Posted by: Marsais Goldman on Dec 1, 2006 2:42:22 PM

One of the most successful research vehicles, blogs are a natural for creative support.

Posted by: A Key on Dec 5, 2007 4:51:43 PM

I'm glad ACS is now blogging!! I think the greatest weapon we have against cancer is early detection!! Self check, get annual screenings, and survive!!

Posted by: Signs of Cancer on Aug 15, 2011 9:27:39 PM

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