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American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society (ACS) is the "nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy and service." The group has its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, and has branches in all 50 U.S. states and Puerto Rico. It also operates about 3400 local offices.[1]

The American Cancer Society was founded in 1913[1] as the American Society for the Control of Cancer (ASCC) by 15 physicians and businessmen in New York City. It adopted its current name and organization in 1945.

Its activities include providing grants to researchers, running public health advertising campaigns, and organizing projects such as the Relay For Life, Great American Smokeout, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, and Daffodil Days.

Charity Navigator rates the society two of four stars.[1] The society is directed to "eliminating cancer" but has never been "able to state the progress it has made (or is making) toward its goal", one of the Charity Navigator criteria for a good place to make charitable contributions.[2]

Among its notable endorsements is the Hopkins 4K for Cancer, a 4000-mile bike ride from Baltimore to San Francisco to raise money for cancer patients.


Fund allocation

The ACS spends 20% of its budget on cancer prevention activities and 20% on patient support (e.g., support groups, transportation, patient education). Detection and treatment programs receive 16% of the budget, and research programs (including prevention research) receive 14% of the budget.

The ACS currently meets the Better Business Bureau's Standards for Charity Accountability (at least 65% to program services and no more than 35% to overhead and fundraising expenses). It spends 8% of its income on administration, $760,000 of which goes to the CEO.[3] [4] However, 22% of its income is spent on fundraising.


The Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition, Dr. Samuel S. Epstein, believes their priorities are economically motivated, and reflect conflicts of interests with the pharmaceutical industry, the pesticide industry, and the mammography industry.[5]

Smoking cessation help centers funded by the states of the United States through taxes paid by consumers of tobacco (sometimes 500% of the cost of the product[citation needed]), sometimes operated by the American Cancer Society,[6] are closed at night[citation needed] and none can provide immediate assistance to callers.[citation needed]

In the past, the ACS has been involved in a few economic scandals, none of which indicated systemic abuse. In 2000, Dan Wiant, an administrative officer, was accused of embezzling $7 million.[7] In the 1980s, an employee discovered that a fund-raiser was leading a $4 million tax fraud scheme.[8]

"Access to Care" is the theme of The American Cancer Society's new ad campaign. While not advocating a specific solution, the American Cancer Society is looking to start a dialogue and increase the "political will" needed to address the issue. Dr. Seffrin, CEO of the ACS states: "if a women gets diagnosed with breast cancer, but doesn't have health insurance, she is 40% more likely to die." Your Cancer Today previews one of the commercials and interviews.[9]

See also

  • Relay For Life, the signature event of the American Cancer Society
  • Great American Smokeout
  • ACS CAN the sister 501c4 advocacy organization to the American Cancer Society
  • Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy A close partner of American Cancer Society in fighting cancer in developing countries


  1. ^ a b c American Cancer Society. Charity Navigator. Retrieved on 2007-12-06.
  2. ^ 6 Questions To Ask Charities Before Donating. Charity Navigator. Retrieved on 2007-12-06.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ No comprehensive list accessible but and intersitial page You are about to leave the American Cancer Society Web site... Go to North American Quitline Consortium. is accessible from Find a Quitline. American Cancer Society. Retrieved on 2007-12-07. and North American Quitline Consortium: and 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) Map inaccessible from Mac OS in Firefox, Safari and (unsupported) Internet Explorer. Retrieved on 2007-12-07.
  7. ^ Cancer Society Executive Surrenders to the F.B.I.. The New York Times. Retrieved on February 9 2007.
  8. ^ Ex-Fund-Raiser At Cancer Society Indicted In $4 MillionTax Fraud. The New York Times. Retrieved on February 9 2007.
  9. ^ John Seffrin, PhD on Your Cancer Today
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "American_Cancer_Society". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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