American Cancer Society History

The American Cancer Society was originally established in 1913 in New York City. A group of 15 physicians formed the Society with the name of American Society for the Control of Cancer. The name was later changed to American Cancer Society in 1945.

During the formation of the Society, the chances of a person contracting cancer and dying were almost a hundred percent. People feared cancer: less because of its incurableness but more because of lack of information related to cancer. The Society's founders realized that they needed to increase the public awareness about this disease if they wanted to see improvement in cancer cure. The members of the Society began writing articles for popular newspapers, journals and magazines, which helped educate the general public. Contests were to select the Society logo was organized in 1928, which gave the sword logo that the Society still uses till today.

It was Marjorie G. Ollig in 1936 who suggested that the Society create a legion of volunteers who could help wage war against the dreaded disease. This legion of volunteers was known as the Women's Field Arms and was a huge success. These volunteers helped raise money and spread out to the streets to raise awareness. By 1935 there were more than 15,000 active volunteers with the Society who were helping fulfill the missions of the Society, and by the end of 1938, this number had swelled to ten times that number.

In 1945 the American Society for the Control of Cancer was renamed as the American Cancer Society and was a bolder step for the organization. In 1946, more than $4 million was raised by philantropist Mary Lasker, which laid the foundation of the cancer research program and the cancer signal campaign that turned out to be highly successful. During this time physicians found a new tool to combat cancer in the form of chemotherapy drugs that gave a huge boost to the Society's cause.


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