+ -Text Size

Facts about ACS

About Your American Cancer Society

As the largest voluntary health organization in the United States, the American Cancer Society is passionately committed to saving lives from cancer. We’re working to create a world with less cancer and more birthdays – a world where cancer never steals another year from anyone’s life. We combine our relentless passion with the wisdom of nearly a century of experience to make this vision a reality, and we get results. We save lives by helping people stay well, helping people get well, by finding cures, and fighting back. Thanks in part to this work, more than 14 million cancer survivors and countless others who have avoided the disease will celebrate another birthday this year. 

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, ensuring that we have a presence in every community. The corporate office is responsible for overall strategic planning; corporate support services such as human resources, financial management, IT, etc.; development and implementation of global and nationwide endeavors such as our groundbreaking research program, our international program, and 24-hour call center; and provides technical support and materials to regional and local offices for local delivery.
The American Cancer Society fights for every life threatened by every cancer in every community. Our regional and local offices are organized to engage communities in the cancer fight, delivering lifesaving 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 fight cancer and save lives.


As a global grassroots force, the Society relies on the strength of more than 3 million dedicated volunteers. From leadership volunteers who set strategy and policy to members of the community who organize special events, patient support, and education programs, Society volunteers, supported by professional staff, drive every part of our mission. The Society’s vast array of volunteer opportunities empowers people from every community to play a role in saving lives, while they fulfill their own.

 How the American Cancer Society Is Saving Lives

Together with our millions of supporters, the American Cancer Society is saving lives by helping people stay well, helping people get well, by finding cures, and by fighting back. No other cancer-fighting organization has such a comprehensive mission.

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

  • We help people eat right, get active, quit smoking, and get screening tests.
  • We develop guidelines for recommended cancer screening tests and nutrition and physical activity, so people know what tests they need to find cancer early and how to prevent the disease.
  • On our website, cancer.org, individuals can create a personalized health action plan to discuss with their doctor that shows which cancer screening tests are right for them, as well as healthy lifestyle choices to consider.
  • 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 in your corner around the clock to guide you through a cancer experience.
We know that every cancer patient is a fighter – and we’re in the ring with you through every round.

  • Whether you have questions about cancer, need practical solutions to daily problems like finding a ride to treatment, or just want support from someone who has been through it all before, we’ve got answers around the clock.
  • Our phone lines, at 1-800-227-2345, are open every minute of every day and night to help connect people with the answers they need. Each year, we provide information, help, and support to the nearly one million individuals who call us or contact us online. Our website serves more than 25 million visitors each year, offers access to the latest information and news on cancer, and helps people find programs and services in their area.
  • Through the American Cancer Society Clinical Trials Matching Service, we connect patients with more than 64,000 different treatment options. We also offer an online support community for cancer survivors and caregivers that has brought together more than 93,000 people since 2000.
  • Through our American Cancer Society Hope Lodge® network, we provide cancer patients and their families with a free place to stay 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 through every step of their journey. In 2013, the program served more than 77,000 people.

Find cures: We’re getting results by investing in research that helps us understand cancer’s causes, determine how best to prevent it, and discover new ways to cure it.

  • 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 to confirm the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, established the link between obesity and multiple cancers, developed drugs to treat leukemia and advanced breast cancer, and showed 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 help pass laws that defeat cancer and rally communities to join the fight.

  • At its core, the American Cancer Society is a grassroots force of more than 3 million passionate volunteers who tirelessly seek to save lives from cancer. We work with lawmakers everywhere to make this world a healthier place to live and we rally communities around the globe to join our fight. 
  • Whether it’s passing smoke-free laws, increasing funding for cancer research, improving access to quality health care, or inspiring communities to take up the fight, we fight on all fronts, because the lessons we learn from one battlefield can mean victory on another. Thanks in part to the efforts of the Society and our nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network℠ (ACS CAN), more than 81 percent of the US population is now covered by some form of smoke-free law. Together with ACS CAN, we have helped pass state laws ensuring that people have access to and coverage for lifesaving cancer screenings and treatments. We have helped more than three million uninsured, underinsured, and low-income women get breast and cervical cancer screening tests since 1991, and, along with ACS CAN, we have successfully fought for legislation protecting this care. 
  • As the world's largest movement to end cancer, 4 million people across the globe participate in the more than 5,000 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 communities across the nation to help save lives from breast cancer -- and together, to get to the finish line faster.