As reported by the PRNewswire, January 19, 2006.

New Survey Finds Almost Half of Public Feels Little Power to Prevent Cancer

American Cancer Society's Great American Health Check(SM), Made Possible by MetLife, Raises Awareness of Cancer Prevention and Early Detection

ATLANTA – Citing a new survey(1) that shows 47 percent of adult Americans think they have little or no control over reducing their cancer risk, despite proven ways to do so, the American Cancer Society today is asking Americans to take the Great American Health Check(SM), an online interactive tool that people can use to get a personalized health action plan. Cancers that can be prevented or detected earlier by following the Society's testing guidelines account for approximately half of all new cancer cases in the United States.

The Great American Health Check is an easy, confidential, online health assessment tool available year-round at http://www.cancer.org/healthcheck to raise national awareness of early cancer detection tests and the benefits of following a healthy lifestyle. The tool was developed by the American Cancer Society and is made possible by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company ("MetLife"), with additional support from official sponsors Quest Diagnostics and Bayer Aspirin(R). Building on the long success of the Society's Great American Smokeout(R), always held on the third Thursday in November, the Society is using the third Thursday in January to launch the 2006 Great American Health Check Day.

Survey Shows Doctor - Patient Communication Falls Short
The survey found that nearly a third (31 percent) of Americans age 55 and over and more than four in ten between the ages of 45 and 54 (42 percent) said their doctors had not recommended they get cancer screenings.

Meanwhile, 43 percent of Americans said they have not been screened because they do not know what types of cancer screenings they need to get. "We need much more effective physician-patient communication to educate the public on screening and early detection and when to have the tests," said Society President Carolyn Runowicz, MD, director of the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Program at the University of Connecticut Health Center.

"Given the findings of our new survey, it is not surprising that only 42 percent of Americans 50 and older follow the American Cancer Society screening guidelines for colorectal cancer," said Runowicz. "The Great American Health Check is a key part of a nationwide Society campaign to change Americans' behavior to prevent or detect cancer early in an effort to improve survival."

Survival rates for many cancers have improved over the last two decades, due in large part to increased use of early detection tests and to better treatments. Scientific evidence suggests that about half of the approximately half-million cancer deaths expected every year in the United States will be related to tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and being overweight or obese.

The Great American Health Check is the first in a series of three "Great American" promotional events that the American Cancer Society will carry out in 2006 to raise awareness of lifestyle factors that can affect an individual's cancer risk. "The theme for these initiatives is 'Do Something Great' - that means taking control of your health by getting appropriate early detection tests, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, or quitting smoking," said Runowicz, a 13-year breast cancer survivor. On May 18, the Society will hold the fourth Great American Weigh In(R) and Nov. 16, the 30th annual Great American Smokeout(R).

Screening tests can detect cancers of the breast, colon, rectum, cervix, prostate, oral cavity, and skin at early stages when treatment is more likely to be successful. In addition, tests for cervical and colorectal cancer may detect changes in cells before they become cancerous. The five-year survival rate for cancers that can be prevented or detected early by screening is about 86 percent, a percentage that has been improving as more Americans receive regular cancer screenings.

"Many Americans still see themselves as spectators in the fight against cancer," said Ron Leopold, MD, vice president and national medical director, MetLife Disability. "As a leading provider of employee benefits, MetLife supports efforts to help fight cancer and reduce the financial burden it causes for millions of consumers and companies.

How the Great American Health Check Works
The Great American Health Check online tool focuses on age, gender, height, weight, family history of cancer, dietary habits, physical activity levels, alcohol and tobacco use. Users can answer the questions for themselves or a loved one and then receive a personalized cancer action plan that includes early cancer detection tests they may need and healthy lifestyle recommendations.

Cancer information is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at the American Cancer Society's toll-free call center, 1-800-ACS-2345. Cancer information specialists can mail callers information on the Great American Health Check and specific cancer screenings.

Following American Cancer Society recommendations for cancer early detection is one of the most important things people can do to reduce their cancer risk. In addition to getting the right tests, people can reduce their risk by not smoking; getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity on five or more days a week; and consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, low-fat dairy products, poultry and fish, and limiting intake of processed meats and red meat.

Editors: For more information about the importance of cancer prevention and early detection, please visit http://www.cancer.org/docroot/PED/ped_0.asp.

The American Cancer Society is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by saving lives, diminishing suffering, and preventing cancer through research, education, advocacy, and service. Founded in 1913 and with national headquarters in Atlanta, the Society has 13 regional Divisions and local offices in 3,400 communities, involving millions of volunteers across the United States. For more information anytime, call toll free 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit http://www.cancer.org.

(1) This survey was conducted for the American Cancer Society using Opinion Research Corporation's CARAVAN National Omnibus. Telephone interviews were conducted from December 16-19, 2005 among a random sample of 1,019 adults 18 years of age and older. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percentage points.

SOURCE: The American Cancer Society.