The American Cancer Society Marks 100 Years

This May the American Cancer Society is turning 100 years old. It’s marking the occasion by celebrating the many successes the organization has contributed to in the fight against cancer during the last century.

“The American Cancer Society has played a role in nearly every cancer research breakthrough in recent history,” says Dr. John Seffrin, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society. “Since 1913, we’ve helped save nearly 1.2 million lives. As the official sponsor of birthdays, we know how important each and every birthday is.”

The Society lists numerous achievements in the fight against cancer over the last 100 years:

  • The American Cancer Society has contributed to a 20 percent decline in cancer death rates in the US since the early 1990s.
  • Today, 2 out of 3 people diagnosed with cancer are surviving for at least 5 years.
  • Each year, the Society helps cancer patients everywhere get help when they need it. For example, last year alone the Society assisted nearly a million people who called 1-800-227-2345 for help, providing free services like a place to stay while traveling for treatment, rides to treatment, emotional support, and much more.
  • American Cancer Society work has helped lead to a more than 50 percent drop in smoking since the 1960s, which has contributed to a drop in overall lung cancer death rates.
  • More than 400 people a day in the US are celebrating birthdays that would have otherwise been lost to cancer.

The American Cancer Society is encouraging everyone to take action to help end cancer. “With your help, we want to finish the fight,” says Seffrin. “We’re determined to make this cancer’s last century. We’ve never been more ready to put the American Cancer Society out of business.”

How you can get involved:

  • Take a pledge: Determine to do at least one thing to help finish the fight against cancer, such as making a donation, enrolling in the research study called Cancer Prevention Study-3 to help better understand how to prevent cancer, and making healthy choices to reduce your cancer risk.
  • Get inspired: Read an inspirational story about a cancer survivor, volunteer, researcher or other individual who is making noise and taking action to finish the fight. Visit 100 Stories of Hope on to read the profiles.
  • Create a “Life List”: Visit the American Cancer Society's Facebook page to read others’ “life lists”—and create your own—to show the world what you’re fighting for.
  • Light up your profiles: Starting on May 20, you can light up your profile picture on Facebook and/or Twitter to show that you are committed to helping the American Cancer Society finish the fight against cancer. For more information go to

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master's-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

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