American Cancer Society Marks 100th Year Anniversary 

A Century Later: Progress and Next Steps


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The American Cancer Society announced the Society’s 100th birthday on May 22, 2013. Founded 100 years ago by 15 prominent physicians and business leaders in New York, the American Cancer Society, first known as the American Society for the Control of Cancer, launched the fight against a disease then considered a death sentence. A century later, the American Cancer Society observes 100 years of progress; this year saw a 20% decline in cancer death rates since the 1990s according to the Society’s latest Cancer Facts & Figures.1 

The New Reality

Today, two out of three people diagnosed with cancer are surviving the disease for 5 years or longer. More than 400 people a day in the United States are celebrating birthdays that would have otherwise been lost to cancer.

“In 1970, it was projected that cancer incidence and mortality would continue to rise beyond the year 2000,” said Vincent T. DeVita, Jr, MD, National Volunteer President of the American Cancer Society. “Today, not only have mortality rates declined since the early 1990s, but we’re averting more than 400 cancer deaths every day. Due in part to the work of the American Cancer Society, what seemed nearly impossible is now reality.”

“We began our fight against cancer at a time when the word ‘cancer’ was rarely mentioned in public,” said John R. Seffrin, Chief Executive Officer of the American Cancer Society. “In our 100 years of existence, we have contributed to many groundbreaking discoveries that have brought us closer to understanding, preventing and treating the disease, and this century, we are looking to put ourselves out of business by making it cancer’s last century,” he said.  

Services for Patients and Families

The American Cancer Society has funded researchers that have contributed to nearly every major cancer research breakthrough; helped establish the link between cancer and smoking; and contributed to a 50% decline in smoking rates. The Society continues to help cancer patients get the help they need through services like the 1-800-227-2345 help line, free lodging for patients and their families traveling for treatment, and free rides to and from treatment.

The American Cancer Society is using its 100th birthday on May 22nd to encourage people to join together, make noise, and take action to finish the fight against cancer. ■


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SIDEBAR: How to Help

The American Cancer Society encourages all to assist in efforts to fight cancer by:

  • Donating at cancer.org/fight
  • Participating in a local Relay For Life or Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in their community
  • Enrolling in its Cancer Prevention Study-3 to find better ways to prevent...


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