ACB and American Cancer Society Collaborate to Create Greater Access to Health Information

by Melanie Brunson

On Feb. 23, 2011, ACB and the American Cancer Society issued a press release announcing two initiatives undertaken by the American Cancer Society (ACS) in collaboration with ACB. First, ACS has taken affirmative steps to make its newly redesigned web site accessible to people with visual impairments. The web site provides an improved experience for anyone looking for information, help or ways to fight back against cancer. It is divided into four main sections - Stay Healthy, Find Support & Treatment, Explore Research and Get Involved - that reflect the primary ways the American Cancer Society helps save lives from cancer. By making its web site compliant with web accessibility guidelines, ACS has made it easier for people using screen readers to navigate and gain greater access to this valuable information.

The society's accessible web site is part of a broader initiative to ensure the availability of cancer information to people who are blind and visually impaired. As part of that initiative, ACS has also worked with ACB to develop a pilot program that will offer certain ACS materials in braille, large print and audio formats to individuals whose disabilities prevent them from reading standard print. These items can be ordered either by visiting the Accessibility page of the ACS web site,, or by calling 1-800-227-2345. 

The following publications are now available in braille and large print:

Breast Cancer (Publication D104.00)

A Message of Hope: Coping with Cancer (Publication D104.00)

Guide to Quitting Smoking (Publication D6696.00)

Talking with Your Doctor (Publication D6714.00)

Helping a Smoker Quit: Do's and Don'ts (Publication D6946.00)

Prostate Cancer (Publication D117.00)

Colorectal Cancer (Publication D107.00)

Lung Cancer (Non-small cell) (Publication D6976.00)

All ACS publications and brochures that are longer than 3 pages are available in audio CD, audio MP3, and accessible PDF formats, which can be sent either as an e-mail attachment or mailed on a disc. Brochures with fewer than 3 pages are available in accessible PDF format or can be read to a caller over the phone upon request.

Finally, individuals with visual impairments can speak to a cancer information specialist 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 1-800-227-2345. All of the cancer information specialists are trained in appropriate techniques for reading documents to people with visual impairments as well as how to find, navigate to, and read information on

The agreement between ACB and ACS was the result of structured negotiations that began with the advocacy of an ACB member with cancer. It is the first agreement we've negotiated with very detailed standards for large print, and a specific requirement for both electronic formats and audio in both CD and MP3 format.

We hope that these new efforts by ACS to reach out to our community will be of help to those whose lives are touched by cancer, and that those of you who use these resources will take a moment to share any feedback you gave with us, so that we can pass it on to the American Cancer Society.