American Cancer Society


The American Cancer Society (ACS) is a nationwide voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer.

Established in 1913, the society is organized into twelve geographical divisions of both medical and lay volunteers operating in more than 900 offices throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. Its home office is located in the American Cancer Society Center in Atlanta, Georgia. As the official journals the ACS publishes CancerCA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians and Cancer Cytopathology

The society was originally founded in 1913 by 15 physicians and businessmen in New York City under the name American Society for the Control of Cancer (ASCC). The current name was adopted in 1945.

The sword symbol, adopted by the American Cancer Society in 1928, was designed by George E. Durant of Brooklyn, New York. According to Durant, the two serpents forming the handle represent the scientific and medical focus of the society’s mission and the blade expresses the “crusading spirit of the cancer control movement."

Its activities include providing grants to researchers, running public health advertising campaigns, and organizing projects such as the Relay forLife and the Great American Smokeout. It operates a series of thrift stores to raise money for its operations. Notable endorsements include the 4K for Cancer, a 4000-mile bike ride from Baltimore to San Francisco to raise money for the society's Hope Lodge. 


American Cancer Society mission statement

The American Cancer Society is the nationwide, community-based, voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy, and service.

International mission statement

The American Cancer Society's international mission concentrates on capacity building in developing cancer societies and on collaboration with other cancer-related organizations throughout the world in carrying out shared strategic directions.