Our Commitment to Privacy
The American Cancer Society, Inc., is committed to maintaining the highest level of confidentiality regarding the constituent information that we collect, use, maintain, and disclose. This privacy standard protects the privacy of constituent information in accordance with federal and state privacy laws, the Society’s contractual obligations, and our constituents’ expectations of privacy.
What does the Society collect?
The Society collects personal information whenever you call our National Cancer Information Center (or Division service center), when you visit a local office, when you use Society products or services, when you visit Society Web pages or the pages of certain Society partners, and when you register for Society events. We also collect personal information when you are referred to us by your health provider or caregiver.
Below are general categories of information that we collect. All information that you provide to the Society is voluntary.
Contact information. We may ask for contact information such as your name, address, telephone number, email address, and contact preferences. We collect this information so that we may: keep you informed about the Society, invite you to upcoming Society events in your area (such as Relay For Life´┐?), or inform you of volunteer or other opportunities to support the Society’s mission. We may also use this information to provide you with patient-related cancer information or to follow-up on a request for services from the Society. We consider this information private and limit how it is used and disclosed.
Demographic information. We may ask for limited demographic information such as your gender, race or ethnicity, marital status, or primary language. This information is used to help us to better understand the individuals we serve or to better communicate with you. We consider this information private and limit how it is used and disclosed.
Health information. If you contact the Society seeking cancer information, request support from the Society, or attend a Society event, then we may ask for limited health information such as your relationship to cancer, type of cancer, date of diagnosis, stage, current treatment(s), and date of treatment(s). We use this information to help us better serve you and your community. We treat this information as confidential.
Financial information. If you make a donation to the Society, then we may ask for financial information such as a credit card number or financial account numbers. This information allows us to process your donation. We consider this information confidential.
Research information. If you inquire about (or enroll in) a Society research study, then we may collect information from you related to the study or studies. Research participant data is maintained in a secure, restricted environment and can only be accessed for research purposes. We treat this information as confidential.
Other information. Depending on the reason for your communication with the Society, we may collect other personal information from you. For example, if you seek assistance with obtaining health insurance, then we may ask for your insurance information. Or, if you contact the Society to donate your automobile under our Cars For a Cure´┐? program, then we may ask for your vehicle’s identification number. We consider this information private and limit its access, use, and disclosure to those parties who are related to the program or service.
How does the Society protect your information?
The Society has adopted a number of recognized standards to protect the privacy of your information, and we have provided a description and an example of these standards below. However, not every particular use or disclosure in every category will be listed.
We restrict and protect how your information is used. We have guidelines which limit access only to those who have a reasonable need to use your information. In addition, we limit how your information is used to only those purposes related to your original inquiry or request. For example, if you ask for patient-related cancer information to be mailed to you, then we will use your name and address to mail the information to you. Finally, we may use your information for mission-related activities, management and administration, or to carry out our legal responsibilities. For example, we may use your information to identify a local event that we believe may be of interest to you and invite you to that event.
We restrict and protect how your information is disclosed. On occasion, we may have a need to disclose your information to third parties. We make every attempt to protect these disclosures. For example, we may hire other companies to provide limited services on our behalf, such as an order fulfillment company. If we do, then we only provide those companies the information that they need to deliver the service. We prohibit them from using that information for any other purpose. We also require those companies have strong privacy protections for the information that we disclose to them.
We may also make your name and postal address available to other reputable nonprofit organizations on a limited basis in exchange for limited access to the names and addresses of their constituents. We have found this to be a cost effective method of reaching additional potential constituents. Your name is only made available to these carefully screened organizations through third-party mailing agents for a limited use. Other organizations will not have continued access to your name and address unless you choose to respond to their initial mailing.
Aside from the above, we may only disclose your information to other third parties only upon your consent or at your direction. For example, if you request transportation, then we may disclose (at your consent or direction) your information to a taxi service so that they can provide you with the transportation to your health provider.
We have strong computer security protections. For our electronic data, we have “industry standard” physical, technical, and procedural safeguards to protect your information. These standards meet our legal or contractual requirements and ensure your electronic data is as secure as practical.
We conduct privacy training and education programs. We require all staff to receive training on privacy and how to protect your information. We also require staff to sign a pledge of confidentiality to further support our commitment to privacy. In many cases, we extend this requirement to our volunteers.
We mitigate (lessen the harm of) any breach of privacy/confidentiality. We have a data incident response process to reduce any harm to you resulting from a breach of your privacy.
What are your rights?
The right to request restrictions. We recognize that you may wish to limit the ways in which we contact you, and we offer the following options for restricting internal and external sharing of your contact information:
For More Information or to Report a Problem
If you have a question, wish to notify us of any desired restrictions, or believe your privacy rights have been violated, then submit your inquiry or file your complaint with us using the contact information below. To protect your privacy and security, we will take reasonable steps to verify your identity before providing information or making corrections. There will be no retaliation for filing a complaint.
Mail: Security and Privacy Requests