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Facts about ACS

About Your American Cancer Society

As the largest voluntary health organization in the United States, the American Cancer Society is committed to saving lives and finishing the fight against cancer. We combine our relentless passion with the wisdom of over a century of experience to make this vision a reality, and we get results. Thanks in part to our contributions, cancer-related deaths have declined by 20 percent since the early 1990s, saving more than 1.3 million lives in the US.  

How the American Cancer Society Is Organized

The American Cancer Society, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation governed by a single Board of Directors that sets policy, develops and approves an enterprise-wide strategic plan and related resource allocation, and is responsible for the performance of the organization as a whole, with the advice and support of regionally based volunteer boards. 

The Society’s structure includes a central corporate office in Atlanta, Georgia, as well as regional and local offices supporting 11 geographic Divisions. The corporate office is responsible for overall strategic planning; corporate support services like human resources, financial management, IT, etc.; development and implementation of global and nationwide endeavors such as our groundbreaking research program, our global health program, and our 24-hour call center; and provides technical support and materials to regional and local offices for local delivery.

Our regional and local offices are organized to engage communities in the cancer fight, delivering patient programs and services and raising money at the local level. Offices are strategically placed around the country in an effort to maximize the impact of our efforts, and to be as efficient as possible with the money donated to the Society to help finish the fight against cancer. 

Volunteers

The Society relies on the strength of nearly 3 million dedicated volunteers. Supported by professional staff, Society volunteers drive every part of our mission. They raise funds to support crucial research, provide cancer patients rides to and from treatments, and give one-on-one support to those facing a cancer diagnosis – and that’s just the beginning.

How the American Cancer Society Is Saving Lives

Together with our millions of supporters, the American Cancer Society saves lives by helping people stay well and get well, by finding cures, and by fighting back.

Stay well: We help people take steps to prevent cancer or find it at its earliest, most treatable stage.

  • We develop guidelines for recommended screening tests, so people know what tests they need to help prevent cancer or find it at its earliest, most treatable stage.
  • We develop nutrition and physical activity guidelines to help people eat healthy and get active.
  • On cancer.org, individuals can create a personalized health action plan to use to talk with their doctor about what cancer screening tests and healthy lifestyle choices are right for them.
  • Through the Quit For Life® Program, brought to you by the American Cancer Society and Alere Wellbeing, we help people to quit smoking by providing them with the resources they need to make a quit attempt and stay tobacco-free.

Get well: We’re available around the clock to help people through every step of their cancer experience.

  • Whether people have questions about cancer, need practical solutions to daily problems like finding a ride to treatment, or want support from someone who has been there, they can reach us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-227-2345.
  • Each year, we provide information, help, and support to the nearly one million individuals who contact us. Our website serves more than 32 million visitors each year, offering access to the latest information and news on cancer and helping people find programs and services in their area.
  • Through the American Cancer Society Clinical Trials Matching Service, we connect patients with more than 6,000 ongoing studies.  
  • Through our American Cancer Society Hope Lodge® network, we provide cancer patients and their families with free overnight lodging when they have to travel away from home for treatment. In 2013, we provided more than 265,000 nights of free lodging to nearly 43,000 patients and caregivers, saving them nearly $38 million in lodging expenses.
  • With 121 sites at hospitals and treatment centers across the country, the American Cancer Society Patient Navigator Program provides one-on-one guidance to people facing cancer. In 2013, the program served more than 77,000 people.

Find cures: We fund and conduct research that helps us better understand, prevent, and find cures for cancer.

  • As the largest private, not-for-profit funder of cancer research, having spent more than $4 billion on cancer research since 1946, we’ve played a role in nearly every cancer breakthrough in recent history. 
  • Our own research and that of our funded researchers helped:
    • Confirm the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer.
    • Establish the link between obesity and multiple cancers.
    • Develop drugs to treat leukemia and advanced breast cancer.
    • Show that mammography is the most effective way to detect breast cancer. 
  • 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.  

Fight back: We work with lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and rally communities worldwide to join the fight.

  • Together with our nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), we have helped:
    • Enact policies that prevent cancer, such as smoke-free laws and others that prevent and curb cigarette smoking.
    • Educate lawmakers on policies that provide access to quality and affordable health care, including cancer screening tests and treatments.
    • Encourage increased federal investment in cancer research.
  • As the world’s largest movement to end cancer, 4 million people across the globe participate in the more than 6,000 American Cancer Society Relay For Life® events held each year.
  • The American Cancer Society is the leader in the fight to end breast cancer. Our Making Strides Against Breast Cancer® events unite nearly 300 communities across the nation to help save lives from breast cancer – and together, to finish the fight against the disease.