Less Cancer Campaign: Raising Awareness to Reduce Cancer

Updated February 2, 2022
Cancer survivor with support group in background

Less Cancer is the name by which the Next Generation Choices Foundation, a public charity dedicated to cancer prevention, is commonly known. Founded in January 2004, the foundation has worked tirelessly since that time to provide powerful cancer prevention programming and educational resources with the ultimate goal of reducing the occurrence of cancer in the world.

Raising Awareness to Lead to Less Cancer

Less Cancer offers a number of programs and services to help advance its platform of seeking to reduce cancer by educating the public about cancer prevention. They focus on boosting awareness of what causes cancer and what people can do to reduce their risk of getting it. The organization's programs include:

National Cancer Prevention Day

February 4 was designated as National Cancer Prevention Day by a 2013 resolution enacted by the U.S. House of Representatives resolution. The day represents a time to focus in particular on how to prevent cancer and mitigate cancer risks. On that day, experts, students, and others representing the mission of Less Cancer address legislators on Capitol Hill and engage in additional outreach efforts.

National Cancer Prevention Workshop

Less Cancer hosts an annual National Cancer Prevention Workshop, which is a multi-day educational event that overlaps and extends beyond National Cancer Prevention Day. The workshop is approved for continuing education credit for doctors and nurses, as well as professionals who work in the public health sector. The workshop's sessions present research findings that relate to cancer prevention, such as links that exist between cancer and various behavioral, lifestyle, or environmental factors.

Congressional Cancer Prevention Caucus

The Congressional Cancer Prevention Caucus came into being in 2015, as an outgrowth of collaboration between Michigan Congressional Representative Debbie Dingell and Next Generation Choices Foundation founder Bill Couzens. The caucus provides a bipartisan forum in which federal legislators and their staffers can meaningfully engage with medical professionals, advocacy groups, academicians, and members of the public to boost awareness and explore policy-based solutions.

Less Cancer Journal

The organization publishes a blog called Less Cancer Journal on its website. Here, people can find a wealth of information related to cancer prevention, including health updates, lifestyle factors, policy updates, community-based resources, and educational opportunities. No subscription is required; anyone can read and learn from the content.

Other Less Cancer Campaign Efforts

In addition to the ongoing programs described above, Less Cancer has actively campaigned to reduce cancer in many ways. The organization's founder Bill Couzens explains, "We raise awareness to reduce those exposures linked with cancer, especially those that are unnecessary and preventable. We reach out to people in several different ways, beyond media." He shares a few examples to illustrate:

Smiling girl with cancer holding a teddy bear
  • "In the hospital, there is potential to teach the whole family simple tips to encourage good nutrition, exercise, and even choices with toys. Less Cancer has in the past provided some children in the hospital with a non-toxic teddy bear."
  • "We have had several programs from removing pesticides from play spaces to instituting best practices for communities on the reduction of potentially dangerous exposures" to cancer-causing substances.

Couzens explains, "For the most part, the foundation is a volunteer grassroots movement." The organization has spearheaded and participated in numerous grassroots campaigns to promote policy change and facilitate public discussion of cancer prevention.

Important Work That's Making a Difference

Couzens states, "The goal of the Next Generation Choices Foundation Less Cancer Campaign is to unify people on the message that we all want to see less cancer and what we can do to get this to happen." That is a simple, but important message that's making a real difference in the lives of people. Couzens asserts, "The changes have been huge, not just because of us, but also the many collaborative relationships that have resulted in work towards change. Not only are more people aware of the hazards in our environment, but they are making greener and healthier lifestyle changes."

Ways to Get Involved and Support Less Cancer

If you want to play a role in helping to support the work of Less Cancer, there are several ways you can get involved. The organization relies heavily on donations from supporters and funders, such as the Heinz Endowments. If you enjoy cycling and want to set an example of healthy living through your own behavior, consider participating in the Less Cancer Bike Ride. This event is a major fundraiser that provides financial support for Less Cancer's educational efforts. Follow the Less Cancer Facebook page to connect with the group and keep up with their activities. Help spread the word about their important work by commenting on their content and sharing with your connections.

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Less Cancer Campaign: Raising Awareness to Reduce Cancer