Tag Archives: Cancer

Cancer death rates declining in Cook County, study finds

(CHICAGO) The likelihood that a cancer diagnosis will lead to death has dropped significantly both in Cook County and across the nation during the past three decades, according to the findings of a new county-by-county study.

Between 1980 and 2014, the overall cancer death rate in Cook County dropped by about 24 percent, compared with a national decrease of about 20 percent, according to the study published this week online in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

A total of about 19.5 million cancer deaths were recorded in the United States between 1980 and 2014, with lung cancer being the biggest killer, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

Smoking continues to take its toll in Cook County, although less so than in other parts of the country. Cook County’s lung cancer mortality rate dropped by 26 percent, compared with 21 percent nationally, the study found.

When it comes to pancreatic cancer, Cook County’s mortality rates dipped by 6.1 percent, compared with a 1.9 percent national average.

The study found that cancer death rates varied widely from county to county. In 1980, the overall lowest mortality rate occurred in Summit County, Colorado, with 130.6 deaths per 100,000 people. The highest rate for that year was 386.9 in North Slope Borough, Alaska. In 2014, the lowest mortality rate continued to be in Summit County, with 70.7 deaths per 100,000 people. While Union County had the overall highest mortality rate, with 503 deaths per 100,000. In Cook County, 197 people out of 100,000 died from cancer in 2014.

“This variation in cancer is at least partially explained by differences in risk factors, socioeconomic factors and access to high-quality treatment,” according to the study authors.

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Cancer charities defrauded donors out of $187 million, feds allege

(CHICAGO) Four cancer charities bilked $187 million from donors who thought their money was going to help patients, but instead went for personal amenities such as cruises, jet ski outings and luxury cars, federal authorities said in a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

The suit is one of the largest actions ever brought by enforcers alleging charity fraud, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Regulators from all 50 states and the District of Columbia joined the FTC in filing the suit.

“These are among the most appalling cases of charitable fraud that my office has prosecuted,” Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said in a statement Tuesday announcing her office’s participation in the suit.

Named in the complaint are the Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Support Services, Children’s Cancer Fund of America and The Breast Cancer Society, as well as several current and former executives, according to the FTC.

The charities told donors their money would help pay for patients’ pain medication, transportation to chemotherapy sessions, and for hospice care, authorities allege.

Instead, the defendants spent the donations on cars, trips, luxury cruises, college tuition, jet ski outings, tickets to sporting events and concerts, and dating website subscriptions, as well as creating lucrative jobs for friends and relatives, the FTC claims.

According to the suit, the charities “operated as personal fiefdoms characterized by rampant nepotism, flagrant conflicts of interest, and excessive insider compensation, with none of the financial and governance controls that any bona fide charity would have adopted.”

Some hired professional fundraisers who kept 85 percent or more of every donation, authorities said.

The charities hid their high fundraising and administrative costs from donors by falsely inflating revenues with donated “gifts in kind,” authorities said.

Several defendants have agreed to settle the charges, the FTC said. The Children’s Cancer Fund of America (CCFOA) and The Breast Cancer Society (BCS) will both be dissolved and their assets liquidated.

CCFOA President Rose Perkins and BCS Executive Director James Reynolds II will be banned from fundraising and charity management, as will Kyle Effler, CFO of Cancer Support Services. All three face significant monetary judgments.

The litigation, filed in federal court in Arizona, continues against Cancer Support Services, Cancer Fund of America and executive James Reynolds Sr., according to the FTC.

“These operators played on the heartstrings of well-intentioned donors, diverting what could have been significant funds for legitimate charities that instead were used by the defendants for their personal benefit,” Madigan’s office said.

Meanwhile, the Better Business Bureau is recommending anyone who wants to donate to a charity should research the organization first. Donors should be cautious if pressured to make an immediate decision to contribute, especially over the phone, and should seek out experts like the BBB’s Give.org to verify whether charities are trustworthy.

“We believe that charity financial ratios should not be the sole basis for a giving decision,” said H. Art Taylor, president and CEO of Give.org. “But today’s government action does show that a charity’s fund raising ratio can be a good initial marker to root out fraud and poor financial management.”