History & Mission
Founded in 1913, the American Cancer Society is the nation’s largest community-based voluntary health organization and has played a role in virtually every cancer breakthrough in recent history. As a global grassroots force, the Society tackles every cancer in every community to eliminate the disease as a major health problem.
The American Cancer Society’s patient navigation services continues to expand, with new centers at health care facilities across the nation. The program provides one-on-one guidance to people facing cancer through every step of their journey, serving more than 88,000 cancer patients and families yearly and fulfilling more than 157,000 requests for service. Thanks to our cancer-fighting efforts, more than 400 people a day in the US are celebrating birthdays this year who would have otherwise been lost to the disease.
As the largest nongovernmental funder of cancer research, having spent more than $3.9 billion on cancer research since 1946, we’ve played a role in nearly every cancer breakthrough in recent history. We fund beginning researchers with cutting-edge ideas early in their careers – 47 of whom have gone on to win the Nobel Prize, the highest accolade in scientific achievement.
We provide information that empowers people to take steps that help them prevent cancer or find it early, when it’s most treatable. We partner with cities, towns, community groups, schools, faith organizations, corporations, and others to bring practical cancer-fighting information through our programs that promote physical activity and smoking cessation.
American Cancer Society advocates and grassroots volunteers give cancer a voice and face by promoting effective cancer policies and legislation at the federal, state and local levels. Current advocacy efforts include fighting for everyone to have access to quality health care, lifesaving screenings, clean air, and more.
Each year, we help cancer patients everywhere get the help they need when they need it. For example, last year alone we assisted nearly a million people who called us for help, providing free services like a place to stay while traveling away from home for treatment, rides to treatment, emotional support, and much more.