American Cancer Society

Code of Ethics
American Cancer SocietyThe American Cancer Society (ACS), together with millions of supporters, saves lives and creates a world with less cancer and more birthdays by helping people stay well, helping people get well, by finding cures, and by fighting back” (ACS, 2012). The American Cancer Society’s headquarters are in Atlanta, GA and has 12 chartered divisions, more than 900 local offices nationwide, and a presence in more than 5,100 communities (ACS, 2012). Code of ethics is defined as “A written set of guidelines issued by an organization to its workers and management to help them conduct their actions in accordance with its primary values and ethical standards” (Business Dictionary, 2012). A goal is defined as “An observable and measurable end result having one or more objectives to be achieved within a more or less fixed timeframe” (Business Dictionary, 2012). What are the goals of the organization?

The American Cancer Society’s main goals are to eliminate cancer by prevention, saving lives, and diminishment of suffering through education, research, advocacy, and service.Their mission statement, “The American Cancer Society is the 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” (ACS, 2012). The international mission statement, “The American Cancer Society’s international mission concentrates on capacity building in developing cancer societies and on collaboration with other cancer-related organizations throughout the world in carrying out shared strategic directions” (ACS, 2012). How are they tied to its ethical principles?

“All institutions that conduct or support research with human subjects are subject to regulatory requirements and are to be guided by the ethical principles of the Belmont Report. In 1974, Congress passed the National Research Act which created the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research. The Belmont Report contains the ethical principles upon which the federal regulations for protection of human subjects are based” (ACS, 2012). Staff and investigators of the ACS are dedicated to confidentiality and ethical and regulatory requirements. They receive ongoing education and monitoring of the conducting of CPS-3 and through partnership with the Emory University Institutional Review Board. Describe the role and importance of the corporation’s ethical values?

Confidentiality is of the utmost importance to the ACS.They have taken extreme measures to ensure the personal information of study participants and the personal information collected. They vow to: •“label your data with a unique number when it is collected •store your blood sample, survey data, and other study materials separately from all personal identifying information (like your name, address, and social security number) •limit access to any identifying information to authorized study personnel only •keep study documents in a locked, limited access research storage room •have all staff sign confidentiality forms and undergo training in research ethics •have all Volunteers sign confidentiality forms

•not share results with your family, your doctor, your employer, any insurance company, or other third parties and we will keep your records private to the extent allowed by the law” (ACS, 2012). What is the relationship between the organization’s culture and ethical decision-making?

The American Cancer Society relationship between the organization’s culture is they save lives by using a variety of strategies to reach individual and communities to stay well by helping them take steps to reduce their risk of cancer or detect it early. Each person’s needs or obstacles to getting well are different, and they strive to address these by providing around the clock information, help with decision-making, and free services like transportation to and from cancer treatment or a free place to stay while receiving treatment far from home. The Society funds groundbreaking research that explores the disease from all angles and perspectives to uncover cancer’s causes and cures. They also give everyone a voice to fight back by rallying communities through events and working with lawmakers to help pass laws that defeat cancer and improve access to affordable, quality health care. Cancer as we know does not discriminate and it knows no boundaries. It is diagnosed in more than 1.4 million Americans every year people of every conceivable background, culture, and life experience. The American Cancer Society listens, shares, heals, and nurtures a spirit of hope and a culture of caring through volunteerism. The Society offers many opportunities to get outside, get moving and get healthy all while making a difference. The American Cancer Society takes its mission to save lives seriously and therefore works to protect the resources entrusted to it by the public. An appropriately structured system of organizational governance ensures the input of appropriate experts on decision-making and strategic oversight of comprehensive nationwide operations. According to The American Cancer Society (2012), “The American Cancer Society, Inc. is governed by the American Cancer Society Board of Directors, which is made up of volunteers from the medical and lay communities. The roles and responsibilities of the Board of Directors are set forth in the Society’s Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws.” Everyone who is to be involved in the decision-making process needs to receive relevant background information in order to make an informed choice. If decisions are to be made at meetings, the agenda and background materials should be distributed well in advance so that participants can arrive prepared and informed. Is it important that the organization’s ethical values support your ethical values? Explain.

Ethics is based on a set of moral and ethical values. Ethics is basically two different things. Ethics refers to the founded standards of right and wrong. These standards are known as what humans ought to do, in terms of obligations, rights, fairness, specific virtues, and benefits to society. Ethics also refers to the research and advancement of an individual’s ethical standards. Ethics is the constant effort of evaluating our own moral beliefs and conduct. It is the attempt to ensure that employees, and the organizations they help to shape, live up to standards that are acceptable and unconditionally based.

These values must be absolute. Employees must take these values seriously enough to disregard any human rationalization, ego, or personal faults. Employees should look at these core values, when all else fails. Life is not that easy and there is always dispute about what values should have position over the other. In business ethics, the employer is there to help his or her employees. To simplify it, an organization’s values are the employee’s values, when concerning work. The ability to choose an individual’s ethical values is somewhat limited, and in a sense the organization’s ethical standards are its employee’s ethics when they are at or in the workplace.

The American Cancer Society’s Code of Ethics should support any employees own ethical values. As it states, the purposes of the Code is to provide evidence of the Society’s commitment to the lawful and ethical conduct of its business, to promote lawful and ethical behavior by its associates, and to protect those who report violations of the Code (American Cancer Society, 2011). According to the Code it is every associate’s duty to discharge his or her responsibilities in a way that endorses and perpetuates public trust, true stewardship, and confidence in the integrity of the Society. The American Cancer Society informs its associates that they must adhere to the Society’s standards and regulations. Associates are also to behold high standards of conduct, and take part in constituting and maintaining such high standards. Social Responsibility of the American Cancer Society

The U.S. is now in a crisis mode dealing with absorbent amounts of healthcare spending. As the cost of healthcare in the U.S. surpasses 17% of the gross domestic product (GDP), it is imperative that organizations like the ACS work to help improve the health of the world and continue the fight against cancer. A mission statement for the ACS goes something like this; The American Cancer Society is committed to using the established scientific methods of epidemiology to define the problems and identify possible solutions. We are committed proponents of the rational, evidence-based use of health care to avoid the wasteful and inefficient rationing of health care. (The Oncologist 2011; 16:920-925). The ACS is a vocal advocate for rational, high quality, evidence-based use of medicine. The goal is prevention of disease through community education and research. The ACS health promotions activity stresses public education about cancer prevention and patient education about quality treatment. The ACS believes that only by pushing for quality, efficient health care and having an open mind toward change will control of costs reach out to all Americans that are in need. In the community, the ACS works with organizations to provide education and resources to promote the sense of improving the health of America with a focus on prevention. The American Red Cross and the CDC are an example of who the ACS teams up with in order to further promote the health crisis facing America in this day and age. Community wide information is available on the ACS website and they contribute too many journals and newspaper articles about up and coming research and to keep the world up on new trends pertaining to their fight against cancer. Cancer, A Cancer Journal for Clinicians and Cytopathology is the official journal of the ACS.

David Marks

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