Skip to main content

ACS & ASCO are Stronger Together: Cancer.Net content is now available on



Facts About the American Cancer Society

About your American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society is the leading cancer-fighting organization with a vision of ending cancer as we know it, for everyone. We are the only organization working to improve the lives of people with cancer and their families through advocacy, research, and patient support, to ensure everyone has an opportunity to prevent, detect, treat, and survive cancer.

We provide the support and guidance people impacted by cancer need at every step – from increasing access to screening at the local, state, and federal levels and advocating for more affordable health care to guiding patients and caregivers through our free 24/7 helpline and helping them get the treatment they need by offering free transportation and lodging. In addition, we fund and conduct research so people in every community have the opportunity to prevent, detect, treat and survive cancer.

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 is responsible for setting policy, establishing long-term goals, monitoring general operations, and approving the organizational outcomes and allocation of resources. The Board is composed entirely of volunteers from the medical and lay communities.

With a presence in more than 21,000 communities, the American Cancer Society is working to support people facing all types of cancer, in every community. We help mobilize communities in the cancer fight, delivering potentially lifesaving programs and services and raising crucial funds to support our mission.

How donations help fight cancer

The American Cancer Society is committed to our obligation to spend donor dollars wisely. Here’s a year-end glimpse at how your donations helped impact millions of lives – by the numbers. The most recent data is from the year ended December 2022.

Fulfilling our mission

Overall, in 2022, 81% of American Cancer Society resources were invested in patient support, discovery, and advocacy. The other 19% of resources were used to fund our management and general expenses, and fundraising expenses.

Resources allocated to program services (totaling 81% of American Cancer Society resources) include:

  • $354 million invested in patient support - We provide the latest, evidence-based cancer information; equip people to make healthy choices that can help reduce their cancer risk like eating right, staying active, and avoiding alcohol and tobacco; and develop guidelines for screening that can help detect certain cancers early and save lives. We are available 24/7 to help people find answers and resources, whether they want to understand their diagnosis and treatment options, learn how to cope with side effects, or find transportation or a place to stay when treatment is far from home. We provide information and support to cancer patients, caregivers, and survivors through online communities and one-on-one support.
  • $166 million invested in discovery - The American Cancer Society launches innovative, high-impact research to find more – and better – treatments, uncover factors that may cause cancer, and improve quality of life for people facing cancer. We fund research grants and conduct cancer research studies to help accelerate the pace of progress. We conduct equity-focused research to identify and understand issues related to cancer disparities in an effort to advance health equity among all communities.
  • $46 million invested in advocacy - Through our nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network SM (ACS CAN), we fight at all levels of government to demand change from our elected officials to build healthier communities, create safer workplaces, and provide greater, more equitable access to quality medical care.

Resources allocated to supporting services (totaling 19% of American Cancer Society resources) include:

  • $26 million used to fund management and general expenses (executive, financial, and administrative services needed to direct the efforts of the American Cancer Society)
  • $107 million spent on fundraising expenses (securing charitable financial support for American Cancer Society programs and services)


As a global grassroots force, the American Cancer Society relies on the strength of millions of dedicated volunteers. From leadership volunteers who set strategy and policy to community volunteers who organize special events and patient support programs, our volunteers, supported by professional staff, drive every part of our mission. Our diverse volunteer opportunities empower people from every community to play a role in saving lives, while fulfilling their own.

How the work of the American Cancer Society improves lives

Our mission delivery efforts are focused on the critical areas of discovery, advocacy, and patient support. Despite the incredibly challenging start of the decade, we are still seeing progress being made in the fight against cancer.

As the nation’s leading cancer-fighting organization, the American Cancer Society (ACS) is committed to ending cancer as we know it, for everyone.

We are working to achieve this goal through targeted efforts that include investments in research, improving equitable access to care, urging people to resume cancer screening, and working to reduce long-standing disparities in cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment outcomes. Globally, we convene government and civil society stakeholders, share our expertise, invest resources, and design programs and initiatives to reduce the stark disparities in cancer outcomes in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs), particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, India, and Colombia.

Below are some examples of our efforts to reduce the cancer burden in every community:


The American Cancer Society is the largest funder of cancer research grants in the United States outside of the federal government, investing more than $5B over 75 years. We launch innovative, high-impact research to find more – and better – treatments, uncover factors that may cause cancer, and improve the quality of life for people facing cancer.

Cancer Prevention

We fund and conduct research to discover how people can take steps to reduce their cancer risk, and provide information on the causes of cancer – from environment to lifestyle choices to genetics, and more. We work to encourage healthy lifestyle choices – like avoiding tobacco, eating healthy, and being physically active – that could help to eliminate approximately 50% of deaths from cancer.

Cancer Screening and Early Detection

We publish cancer screening guidelines to help people detect cancer early, when it may be easier to treat.

Access to Care

We believe no one should die from cancer because they cannot get the quality care they need. We are working to increase screening and reduce cancer risk for underserved communities and boost our investment in our transportation and lodging programs to help patients receive treatment and support.

Patient and Caregiver Services

We provide guidance and support to patients and caregivers at every step of their cancer journey. From free rides to treatment, places to stay when treatment is far from home, and our live 24/7 helpline, we’re here for everyone with cancer questions and concerns, when and where they need us.


We are transforming the care and long-term health of the over 18 million cancer survivors in the US through innovative ways to mitigate the harmful long-term effects from cancer and cancer treatment.

We’re making progress

By taking what we’ve learned through research and translating it into action, we’ve contributed to a 33% decrease in the overall US cancer death rate since 1991. That means that we helped avoid nearly 4.1 million cancer deaths during that time.

To learn more about our Board of Directors and how we use our donor dollars to move our mission forward, download our Annual Report and other available financial statements and forms.

Financial information for the American Cancer Society

Annual Report

Available online at:

You can also call us to have a copy of the report sent to you free of charge.

Making a difference

The American Cancer Society directly and measurably improves the lives of people with cancer and their families. Thanks to those who generously invest in our mission, we are working to end cancer as we know it for everyone, by ensuring that all people have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer.

Learn about the impact we are making on the cancer burden, and on the lives of those impacted by the disease. We are dedicated to using every single donor dollar wisely to fund and provide the critical programs and services that people count on every day.

Other resources