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American Cancer Society Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Cancer, Community & Neighborhood Development, Economic Development, Human Service Organizations, Human Services

Mission: To eliminate cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from the disease through research, education, advocacy, and service.

Programs: Research programs provide financial support to fund and conduct research into the causes of cancer; how it can be prevented, detected early, and treated successfully; how to improve the quality of life for people living with cancer; and to advocate for laws and policies that help further cancer research. Our research program expenses included both our extramural research grants and intramural program, which includes our comprehensive cancer prevention study ('cps-3'). Grants to affiliates: $3,408,964

patient support programs assist cancer patients and their families in an effort to ease the burden of the disease for them. Expenses included our specific assistance to individuals through the look good feel better program; our 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year national cancer information center; and our hope lodge facilities, which provide free, high quality, temporary lodging for patients and their caregivers close to treatment centers, thereby easing the emotional and financial burden of finding affordable lodging. Grants to affiliates: $22,499,629

prevention programs provide the public and health professionals with information and education to prevent cancer occurrence and to reduce the risk of developing cancer. Prevention expenses included activities such as our ongoing advocacy efforts to increase certain state tobacco taxes in addition to general prevention work. Grants to affiliates: $14,441,453

Community Stories

60 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

Absolutely no help here. Good luck trying to take care of yourself if you have cancer.

19

Volunteer

Rating: 2

I begged for help when my husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and suddenly couldn't work. The response from American cancer Society was that there was no help available for us. We paid out of pocket for trips to Mayo. He lived 23 months. Now my grandson has leukemia. What exactly do you help with because I've not seen anything that this organization does. We had to cash in $25,000 of my husband's life insurance to pay for trips to mayo, motel rooms. Daily trips to Sioux Falls. I do not recommend ACS . Their answer to our plea for help was we have nothing for you. My husband was out of work and I was on disability.

Review from Guidestar

12

Client Served

Rating: 5

When my mom, who lived halfway across the country, was diagnosed with cancer the first phone call I made was to the American Cancer Society. They were so patient in explaining what we could expect, questions we should ask her doctor, and the differences between robotic and traditional laparoscopic surgery. Two years later when my grandma was diagnosed with the same type of cancer I made the call again and this time made sure my grandma called as well. Medical talk by healthcare professionals can seem so alien, especially to my grandma. ACS spent a good 30+ minutes on the phone helping explain what she had just heard from her doctor and empowered her with the information to make good decisions for herself, rather than blindly follow the advice of the first doctor she saw who as a general surgeon wanted to slice open her abdomen. Luckily with new information she opted to see a gynecological surgical oncologist and underwent a much less invasive surgery.

Review from Guidestar

16

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

American Cancer Society is not publicly respected and they are not trustworthy because of their poor reputation and shams. All they are interested is to get your money. Here are just a couple of public record links about them:

http://naturalsociety.com/100-page-report-american-cancer-society-scam/

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/05/24/american-cancer-society--more-interested-in-wealth-than-health.aspx

15

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've volunteered for many organizations and I have never found one that is as good as the American Cancer Society. The biggest reason I support the American Cancer Society is because they are one of the few cancer charities that actually fund research for the cure. They have also funded 47 nobel prize winners researching the cure for cancer.

37

General Member of the Public

Rating: 2

As a cancer survivor, I have read many reviews of ACS and have looked into their annual reports in detail several times. I have tried to see both the pros and cons and be open to all the information. I think they do a good job of cancer awareness and education, but do little to effect the three areas that are most important to cancer patients and their families: 1) Find a better test - many cancers still do not have a good, reliable diagnostic test which would allow early diagnosis and better prognosis for the patient 2) Develop better treatments - whether those treatments help extend life, or are simply more tolerable with fewer side effects or a lower cost 3) Actually find a cure, or help prevent recurrence, the latter being a big issue for many cancer patients that do go into remission, only to recur later. On these three issues, I do not feel the ACS does a very good job. Only about 15% of all their funds go to any kind of cancer research, which is what most people care about when they donate to ACS or participate in a cancer walk. If you look into some of what qualifies as "Research" at ACS, it is not exactly clinical trials or new treatments, but a study on "The impact of cancer on siblings" or "Incidences of cancer near power plants" or something of that ilk. So out of the 15% of funds that do go to cancer research, only about half of that is meaningful, such as actual lab research studies, clinical trials, biological research, etc. Out of that 7% or so of funds, the bulk of it goes to 3 cancers, breast cancer, lung cancer, and colon cancer. So, if you are dealing with a brain tumor, esophogeal cancer, melanoma, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer or anything that is not one of the top 3, you are getting maybe a 100th of a penny out of each dollar raised at those cancer walks. Or maybe no sliver at all, since the figures are for national spending, and it could be that ACS has not funded anything in your state for your particular cancer in several years. So, in terms of helping to save lives, sorry ACS is not doing the job they purport to do. They spend close to 30% of all donations on more fundraising, PR, admin and overhead costs. Not a very good ratio. They do a good job of marshalling lots of volunteers into doing their work for them. As mentioned previously though, that is like giving them credit for all the volunteer time and donations by volunteers. I can't personally trash this organization as they do have some saving graces, but as an alternative, I would highly recommend giving your money instead to the Cancer Research Institute in NY, which is actively funding cutting edge research in immunological approaches to cancer, which have resulted in some great new treatments including vaccines to prevent recurrences in several types of cancer (melanoma, lung) and to prevent cancer in at least one type (Cervical.) If you look at their page, it is all five star reviews, mostly by the actual scientists, doctors and researchers who do the studies. So if you really want to help an organization that is doing something to beat cancer, look them up both on this site as well as on Charity Navigator. Oh, one last thing about ACS - the person who said they are spending all their money on meetings and retreats at fancy hotels - they are right, I have witnessed lavish luncheons at our local Marriott where they try to recruit and pump up the volunteers for the various cancer fundraisers they do. I was sad to see this kind of waste of money, knowing that people contributed their hard earned dollars to these cancer walks, only to buy hotel rooms and lunches for their staff. So, with that I give it a max 2 stars, just for the education and awareness portion of their work.

15

Volunteer

Rating: 4

No organization is perfect, every company needs to have overhead or they don't operate. For all of you who balk at the CEO making 600,000+ put it into perspective. This is a national organization with thousands of employees to manage and millions of donation dollars to distribute. Yes this is a non-profit charity, but you still need to attract top talent to run such a large charity responsibly. The CEO isn't getting paid millions as other CEO's of comparable sized companies are. I think they should be commended for being able to get the leadership they have for the prices they are paying and a lot of that is because their staff all have a personal connection to the cause. Relays are great events that bring together communities for a great cause. ACS offers many services and donates directly to cancer research. Not many other charities can say that. If it's not for you I understand, but bashing of an entire charity because you had one bad experience or don't believe the head of an nation wide charity deserves to get paid as little as they do compared to other CEO's.

Review from Guidestar

30

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I have a friend who worked for the ACS in one of its call centers. He said that a large part of their training is to learn who all the other non-profit organizations are, then refer the caller to them by giving the other non-profits telephone numbers. This gets the patients and families off their backs. ALL of the best ACS programs are operated and carried out by volunteers. And, as some other commenter said, the wigs, bras, supplies, are all donated. Drivers to appointments are volunteers. Camps for kids are all donated with volunteers. He also said that ACS hourly employees were almost forced into making candy, selling hot dogs, making and selling crafts, and anything else they can think of to make money for ACS which they have to do on their own time with their own money, and then BUY the stuff from each other. He said they were also supposed to answer questions that came through email or regular mail. One such question he received was "Is there a test yet for ovarian Cancer?" When he tried to find out the answer (other than "no", ie try to find out and provide the latest research, updates, etc), he was told "Just tell her NO." The ACS is primarily there to support the employees and their pension plans. As others also have said: KEEP YOUR MONEY LOCAL. All the volunteers in your county or city who willing to work: organize on your own and keep the money for local cancer patients who need help. DO NOT GIVE TO ACS! YOU WILL BE WASTING YOUR MONEY THAT YOU BELIEVE IS GOING IN MEMORY OF YOUR FRIENDS OR FAMILY MEMBERS WHO HAVE DIED!

Previous Stories
18

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

The people who have given ACS 5 stars need to sit up and smell the coffee. Wake up! If you don't believe CN's (bad) ACS rating is worth considering, do a little research. You don't have to look far to find out the truth about ACS. If you don't trust the rating of Charity Navigator, check out other reputable organizations who do the same thing. If you just google a little, you'll find out a lot. Also, the fact of the employee pension plan is huge. Of course they can't drop employees who are currently drawing their pension. But if the money wasn't coming from donors, they would immediately do what large corporations have done: stop funding the pension plans for current employees. Of course it's legal, it's done all the time. Not good for employees, but the DONATED money in ACS's case could then go toward research and also to helping cancer patients more directly. ACS mission is not to set up their employees for their retirement years--it's to fight cancer. If they really believed that, they would follow through and make the necessary cuts.

Just a few links from a casual google:

http://www.indeed.com/forum/cmp/American-Cancer-Society/s-company-culture-at-American-Cancer-Society/t16550
ACS employee:
...You are expected to meet workplans that are sometimes ridiculous while being forced in training/brainwashing sessions, sometimes every week, but definitely at least once a month. These are usually overnight events. They try to brainwash you so you can explain to people where their money goes, when really it is going to pay for all the meetings, hotel rooms, salaries, gas, car rentals, food, etc. that you use each month. My expense report averaged over $2000 a month! It is disgusting to participate in a huge, extravagant 3 day meetings, but we were not allowed to give a patient the money to pay for a small co-pay on their much needed medication. I have even seen die-hard volunteers accept employment positions with ACS and then quit after a few months because of how appalled they are with how ACS is run.

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/american-cancer-society-where-does-your-money-go/nFX4j/

http://www.wtflungcancer.com/where-do-your-relay-for-life-donations-go-american-cancer-society-doesnt-tell-you/

http://www.preventcancer.com/losing/acs/wealthiest_links.htm

http://www.chondrosarcoma-support.org/index.php?topic=963.0

Review from CharityNavigator

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17

Volunteer

Rating: 2

I was a Team Captain for the Relay for Life in 2014. My team of 14 people raised $3,600. I was naïve and thought most of the money raised would go towards cancer programs. I did not know that most of the money would go to pay the executives who run ACS. I have also been bombarded with emails, mail and calls asking for more donations. It’s sad that most of the money goes for salaries and fundraising events than to cancer programs. I will find another cancer program to support.

18

Client Served

Rating: 1

I found out that I had stage 2 colorectal cancer in 2010. I had surgery to remove 8 inches of my colon and 2 inches of my rectum. I was declared cancer free. But a year later my follow up colonoscopy showed I had both cancers again. This time I had stage 3B colorectal cancer, went through weeks of daily radiation therapy, carried a chemo pump which continuously pumped chemo into me. Then I had all of my colon and rectum surgically removed with chemotherapy afterwards. I lived, even though most people with my condition do not (about 90% do not live with colorectal cancer with those stages twice). Not once did the American Cancer Society help me. Not one thin dime. And since there have not been any direct research funded by this organization recently that has helped cure colorectal cancer, I have decided to let people in my area, Lawrence, Kansas, know that their money donated for cancer help would be better spent elsewhere.

15

General Member of the Public

Rating: 3

After reviewing the financial statements, looking at the organization's 990, and the Stewardship report, I find it hard to believe that people are so thoughtless in their reviews.

Yes the organization has cut a lot of programs, probably because the organization has been going through a massive overhaul! This may be the reason why there have been major cuts this past year and a half.

People are also complaining about the structure and pay scale of these organizations, something that is being handled in the same manner as most other not for profit, or even corporations in the US. The board of directors, who are comprised of elected organization members, vote on compensation for executives and officers of the organization. What all these complaints encompass is a systemic problem prevalent across the US, not because the organization is bad. Since this higher pay scale is systemic it means finding excellent executive officers can be costly! They seem to have the skill set that everyone wants! So, just because this is a not for profit organization, does not mean that it can be run any old way- by any old unqualified persons!

Please read the information that is provided to us, all of this information I got from reputable sources of information available to the PUBLIC, in the previously mentioned sources. Please pay attention to the circumstances!

14

Volunteer

Rating: 2

If you google ACS, it states that the CEO made 1 million dollars - then in 2011, ACS gave him a raise - HE NOW MAKES 2.4 MILLION A YEAR.

14

Volunteer

Rating: 1

I have volunteered for ACS for seven years as a committee member for Relay For Life and a Road to Recovery driver. Our county raises over $400K every year for Relay For Life. We have (had) an amazing committee and a phenomenal event chair for the past seven years. Now ACS has asked our chairperson to step down with no one in the wings to take over. This event chair has dedicated her life to Relay For Life and has been treated with no respect from ACS. The whole committee is quitting and ACS doesn't seem to care. They have to follow their "best practices" which say that no volunteer should serve on the committee for more than 2 years. The staff partners at ACS are paid very little so they really don't care about the "cause". It's just a job to them. And they certainly don't care about their volunteers. All I have to say is that there are many non profit organizations out there where more of the money they raise is spent on research and programs. Our community will find another organization to give our $400K to....one that appreciates it's volunteers. And one where the CEO doesn't make $628K per year salary. To think that our year of fundraising doesn't even pay the CEO's salary... Wow. Check out The Cancer Research Institute or Livestrong on the charitynavigator.org. They are much better organizations!

12

Volunteer

Rating: 2

I'm a cancer survivor and former beneficiary of ACS. They have helped me through their childhood cancer programs quite a lot, and now, as an adult, I know the immense impact that those programs had in my life.

Recently they have cancelled the program that allowed me, as a child, to attend summer camp even when I wasn't well. An experience that remains the catalyst for most of the best things in my life (talking best friends I have, a woman I love, the ability to positively affect the lives of kids in a position I used to be in myself. Life altering stuff.).

In addition, they have cancelled the scholarship program that allowed me to graduate from college. I do not come from money, and my childhood treatment bankrupted my folks. This scholarship saved my future in the career I fell in love with.

All of this could be forgiven if it was necessary. It is not necessary, however. These programs are reported to cost $1 million annually. They say they just cant afford it anymore, that they're trimming the fat. And yet in the board room THIS YEAR there are bonuses of upwards of $1.5 million.

Quality of life matters to more than just your executives, ACS. I am deeply disappointed that this has been forgotten.

Review from CharityNavigator

9

Volunteer

Rating: 1

As someone who decided to become a team Captain for their college's Relay for Life, I have been less then thrilled with the experience. I am representing and leading a small church group, we don't have many members and we don't have the most resources as compared to other participating. It began to bother me that in the RFL meetings, all that would be talked about was money and to raise as much money for them as possible; survivors, treatment and everything else was barely mentioned and certainly not stressed.
Each team had to raise at least 200 dollars to get a campsite, or else we wouldn't have had anywhere to put our stuff. If a team didn't have a large donation or a lot of members, they were heavily criticized by the organizers. Many small groups were flat out told it was worthless for them to participate, which I would think the organization should be thankful for any help they get. I think their rudeness should speak for itself.
I really wanted to support Relay for Life and our group was originally excited to support others who have had to fight such a tough battle, but I am very disenchanted with how I have seen the money used and the fact that the only thing being stressed is to raise money, not awareness or education or research but just money. When I asked the organizers how the money would be used that was raised, they couldn't give me an answer, which did bother me; however they were able to tell me what prizes I could earn as a team captain if my team raised so much money.
My experience may be due to the fact that this is a college campus and these were students running the event; however when I was talking to a family friend who is both a cancer survivor and how had participated in Relay for Life (in a different states location) her experience seemed very much like mine.

Review from CharityNavigator

8

Advisor

Rating: 5

http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pallotta_the_way_we_think_about_charity_is_dead_wrong.html

I think if you take 18 minutes to listen to the video above, you might see that these ratings are crap. The fact is yes, they only get about 1/3 of their donations into the cause... but that is 100's of millions of dollars.... 100s!!!!!! Listen.

Review from CharityNavigator

6

Advisor

Rating: 1

A plant based diet has been proven to CURE CANCER. This company is a complete sham. End of story.

16

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

It amazes me that so many people can take the advice from one internet site and believe it all to be true. I have worked with and for this company and I am just flabbergasted at how narrow minded some people can be. I understand that people come to this site to become more educated however, from the post that are on here they are not. My recommendation is, if you want to donate to an organization call them and ask questions! One person said it's hard to find financials on ACS. Sure their web site isn't as user friendly as it once was but every local office has them and the 1-800 number will mail them to you! I would also like to know where the CEO makes millions come from. I worked for ACS for 6 years and he never made more and $600,000. Do I think that's a lot, sure, but he's also sitting at the table with the president trying to change legislation so that EVER person who gets cancer, insurance or not will get treatment. And to the non-profit president that couldn't believe that ACS would send people to them, if you would call your local ACS office you would understand that because they are good stewards of their donor dollars they don't repeat programs that already exist in an area. Now, should you not be able to help all the people who need your services then yes, they would start that program. I also understand peoples frustration with ACS not handing out checks to people but that is not part of their mission. Finding a cure is.
People need to stop being lazy, start being proactive and stop believing everything you read on the internet.

6

Donor

Rating: 1

This organization is a sham along with all the other big charities, Red Cross, etc. It is reprehensible to pay over $600K dollars for a chief executive. Other than sucking up huge amounts of money, what does this organization really do? Only $1 of every $3 donated actually goes to someone. The rest pays chief executives and folks like ACS DS Dan. If you really want ot make a difference, donate your money to a charity that does not have the bloated, overpaid, and just PLAIN GREEDY executive staff.

7

Donor

Rating: 2

We have been giving to ACS since 2007 and sporadically for a number of years before that. I rated it two stars because that coincides with the Charity Navigator rating. It bothers me that the CEO's salary is well over $600,000 a year... hey, this is a non-profit. We just received a 2013 Annual Fund solicitation in the mail today, but we are not going to give any longer until they earn at least 3 stars, and preferably 4 stars. Even then, if the CEO salary is not reduced or capped, we might never donate again.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer with the American Cancer Society fo several years now and I am saddened by all the negative comments and I'm not really sure where people are pulling their info from. I can tell you that I have seen first hand numerous friends that have been helped free lodging, travel, medical equipment, wigs, programs and numerous other patient services. I have also seen first hand cutbacks within the ACS organization...as in less employees....more work taken on by the remaining employees. I can tell you that our Staff partner as well as the Quality of Life Manager, Executive Director and the staff of our local office work their butts off for that organization. Anyone that thinks volunteers do it all is wrong. Granted, ACS is approximately 90% volunteer driven...but I think of that as a plus. Shame on you people for being so gullible - do what your heart tells you. Do you really think that many volunteers would be volunteering if they felt ACS mismanaged their monies? Why do you think they have such a huge volunteer base?? Because the volunteers have seen FIRST HAND how many lives have been helped by the American Cancer Society. I don't believe all the negative articles I read about places such as the American Red Cross, Komen, etc. I believe what is in my heart. I will continue to volunteer for the American Cancer Society until cancer is gone or I'm gone.

Review from CharityNavigator

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am employed by the American Cancer Society. I have been reading some of these unsatisfied comments and the misinformation and unusual situations being shared are certainly disappointing but most can be easily rectified or more accurately informed with a simple call to 1-800-227-2345. Also we welcome your feedback as we are constantly trying to improve our services and to make sure that donations get routed to where they can do the greatest good.

5

Donor

Rating: 1

I have donated to this charity several time for Memorials. Not only have they NEVER acknowliedged these donations, they NEVER sent an acknowledgement to the families I "memorialized". They won't be getting any more donations from me ValentineGal

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I have been trying for years to get my mother-in-law off their donation request mailing list. She never lived at my address, but they send donation requests here anyway. She died in 2004. I have repeatedly called and emailed the national headquarters. I have called the local office - not an easy thing to get their number. Nothing works, and nobody seems to know why I am still receiving solicitations. Any organization that wastes that much money sending paper to dead people doesn't deserve my money. Any organization that disorganized that they don't know how to remove names from their mailing lists doesn't deserve my money.

Review from CharityNavigator

Previous Stories
5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

My mother-in-law died in 2004. After she passed away, my father-in-law moved in with us. We started getting requests for donations from ACA addressed to my mother-in-law (they forwarded her mail to our address. She never lived here.) I have tried for years to get off their snail mail list to no avail. The most recent person I spoke with apologized and admitted that it was very difficult to get off their mailing list! Why should I support an organization that wastes that much money? They should automatically stop mailing money requests after a few years if nothing comes in.

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Impressed that the ACS provides free wigs and make up kits for women going thru treatment. They also have volunteers who provide transportation for those who need a ride to their treatments. They were very helpful when my aunt was going thru treatment. I highly recomend the work they are doing!

Review from CharityNavigator

4 Christopher24

Donor

Rating: 1

I have been giving to this charity for the better part of a decade and I can't believe I didn't know how over paid the CEO of this non-profit is. 3 million of of the 919 million in revenue goes to this CEO yet there is a deficit each year. I'm switching my money to the red Cross. Out of the billions that they take in, the CEO only makes 500k, leaving more money to actually help people.

Review from CharityNavigator

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I am very saddened with the affairs of ACS. I am disgusted with their misuse of donations, including a CFO that makes over $2mill and secretaries that make six figures. It is also very difficult to obtain their financials and what they actually donate to research or care. As you may have recognized, you never hear about them donating funds to actual care of an individual cancer patient. My recommendations to all of you is to donate to St. Jude and to an individual dept in a University that is doing indepth research. Let's stop throwing our money away to these large monopolies that seem to use Cancer as a reason to get together for balls and parties. I am disgusted!!!

Review from CharityNavigator

3

Volunteer

Rating: 1

I have been volunteering for Raly for Life, along with my daughter who organizes bake sale events and pariticpates in other fund raisers at her school for ACS. After seeing the , we'll be sepdning our time elsewhere. Shame on you, John Seffrin!

Review from CharityNavigator

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I personally know someone who works for ACS, and I can personally tell you that they are legit. They do not spend a lot of money on commercial or ads. The Susan B. Komen is different than the ACS. Both are looking for a cancer cure, but the ACS is a good organization. They have many programs dedicated to helping patients. There is a free class taught by a volunteer cosmetologist to help those patients learn how to do their makeup and how to wear their wigs. There is a road to recovery service where they provide rides to doctor appointments or treatments when patients have no other way. There is a hope lodge so that patients can have a free place to stay if they have to travel away from home to get the best care. There are many more services that are provided like a wig bank. A cancer patient can go to this wig bank with a picture of themselves before cancer, and they will try to create a wig that is closest to their original hair. Yes, this organization sounds awful...are you kidding me? Only about 7 cents of every dollar goes to administration...that is 7 pennies...I'm glad I could clear a few things up for you. Never doubt the American Cancer Society...I know a LOT of people who have had cancer, one being my mom...and they helped her when we didn't know what else to do. the American Cancer Society is amazing. It is a very UNSELFISH organization. The next time you folks want to say otherwise, look at their website...and do some research before you open your mouth!

Review from CharityNavigator

5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

The American Cancer Society is THE leading funder of research grants in the country. As a research scientist I have benefitted from their grants and as a patient, I have directly benefitted from their patient support. My research, along with my partners in the field, would not have made the strides we have made without the ACS. You guys are completely wrong. Over 80% of their incoming funds go to RESEARCH! Perhaps their national CEO receives close to a million dollars because they are extremely short staffed across the country. I wonder what Komen does with the millions they raise? Does 100% of it go to research? How much is the overhead for putting on three day walks? Do they have patient programs and services? To name a few that the ACS does, Look Good Feel Better sessions for women, support groups, peer counseling from survivors, oncology summer camps for children, transportation assistance, lodging assistance, free wigs, equipment, supplies... All of these programs are free of charge and paid for by donations, and program fundraisers. The American Cancer Society does an incredible amount of work for patients. The patient services is what sets them apart from other organizations that I have worked with. The patient services across ALL cancer diagnosis and ALL age ranges. Talk to the patients that have directly benefitted from ACS patient services. They don't help everyone and in my opinion that is in large part due to them trying to help ALL cancers. But I promise you, they do their absolute best and try to help everyone. I am here to tell you that a cure for some cancers are right around the corner. The ACS is playing a primary part in these cures. The only gripe I have is that they don't toot their own horn ENOUGH about all the great things they have accomplished. I promise you, there isn't a research development out there that the ACS does not have a hand in. In regards to their advertising, WHAT ADVERTISING? They have very little. And I promise you, they are only paying for heavily discounted or free advertising.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

Washington Post 16 Sept 2012 Business Section says ACS paid InfoCision telemarketers 102% of the $5.4 million InfoCision collected for ACS in 2010. Telemarketers for charity apparently usually take the majority of the money they raise. Usually, it costs the charities nothing but only costs donors, so it's no skin off the charity's nose. I'm horrified.

Review from CharityNavigator

3

Donor

Rating: 1

Non Profit is now the best way to get rich. No taxes, pay yourself what you want, and it's all good. People don't realize that is the main reason the NFL; yes the National Football League; is non-profit. Our family has been long supporters of St. Jude and the American Cancer Society. This is heartbreaking. I've heard of rumors of huge salaries up top but refused to believe it until I checked it out. I feel like a fool for supporting them. I will put my support to other groups. Very sad.

Review from CharityNavigator

4

Volunteer

Rating: 1

HAVE BEEN AN ACTIVE BOARD MEMBER FOR OVER 40 YEARS. AS A NURSE ,DID EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL TRAINING. RECENTLY FOUND OUT THE SALARIES OF THE LEADERS- OUTRAGEOUS- AND THE SMALL AMOUNT TO RESEARCH. ACS COVERS ALL THAT UP. ALSO THEY GAVE MONEY TO PLANNED PARENTHOOD- MONEY I GAVE FOR CANCER. ALSO THEY SENT LETTERS TO SUPPORT THE AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE BILL= NONE OF THE MEMBERS KNEW ABOUT OR ABOUT THE MONEY TO PLANNED PARENTHOOD OR THAT THEY USE EMBROS FOR STEM CELL RESEARCH. ACS NEED TO FIRE ALL THE EXPENSE DICTATORS. ACS JUST MOVED INTO A 274,000 SQ FT BUILDING IN ATLANTA WITH 800 EMPLOYEES.. WHER DOES ALL THAT MONEY COME FROM?? FROM HARD WORKING ,BELIEVING VOLUNTEERS.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

Please understand the ACS is the biggest rip off I have ever seen. They have NO intention to find a cure for cancer. If they did their cash cow would be gone. They learned from when all the poilo hospitals all closed down. Do you think that their CEO, Vice Pres. , and Retired CEO would let their cushy lifestyle just slip out of their hands. Together they make more then 4 million dollars. If they were so eager to find a cure take a cut of 3/4 of that pay, and put it into research. You people who give to ANY Cancer charity might as well flush the money down the toilet. My mother died of breast cancer. I went down the guilt trip lane, and started pumping in the money, until I found the truth, and Charity Navigator was the first place that opened my eyes. People with these kind of saleries are NOT looking for a cure, only to line their pockets, and pocket books. I have done other research since then, ordinary people who scam the public go to jail, but not these guys.

Review from CharityNavigator

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 2

Well, my story is I'm a Cancer Research Scientist. I'm in the trenches, working on cervical cancer. I applied for an ACS grant and received glowing reviews with words like "outstanding" and "remarkable." Yet, when it came down to approval and funding, they hem and hawed and made excuses and put my grant on a waiting list called "Pay If," which I take to mean "Pay if pigs fly" or something like that. I never got an funds from ACS, only a nice pat on the back. After talking with the program officers, it became clear he is battling a bloated system that retains funds rather than gets them out to Cancer Researchers. Also, there is extreme bias in the distribution of ACS funds by state. So states like Texas get a lions share of the grant money. The bottom line is that this a terrible waste and causes more misery for us scientist by stringing us along. If you want research to be done give funds to a research program that you have an interest in. I am seriously concerned about the future for cancer research in this country .

5

Volunteer

Rating: 1

As an oncologist, I would recommend supporting your local hospital/cancer center/hospice rather that the ACS. You are supporting some huge salaries. Keep the donations and volunteering where you know it will do the most good, in your local area. Do you really need to make a million a year to run this if your heart is really dedicated to helping cancer patients? Give money to charities that help with co-pay assistance or local good samaritan clinics. These are the cutting edge in the trenches ways to help people.

Review from CharityNavigator

6

Volunteer

Rating: 1

I have volunteered for over ten years at the ACS Relay For Life annual fundraising event. It is, I believe, the best, most efficient fundraiser you will find. Unfortunately we discovered last year that the top executive of the American Cancer Society is getting 2.5 million dollars in compensation. The figures come from the IRS form 990 filed by ACS. That is way too much for an organization that prides itself on being volunteer based. Further investigation showed that there has been a pattern of this behavior, not just one incident.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

You guys are crazy! The ACS does great things and helps great people, they are a charity worth raising money for, you complain about the pay of employees at least they are doing something their work is being put to good use that is worth paying someone for. "only .73 cents goes to cancer research" at least someone is researching! "cancer is un-cureable" WITHOUT HOPE YOUR RIGHT! have a little faith in a organization and great things can come from it, If no money was spent on ACS we might not know that smoking causes cancer, their may be no smoking in public ban and YOU may be affected..ACS is a great place to spend your time volunteering not only is the staff great to work with the people that come together for these events are amazing and beautiful, they all want one thing Cancer to be cured. The survivors are strong and powerful, the friends and families have hope, when these people come together its mind blowing its not a sad events where people come together to morn, its a upbeat social events where we celebrate life, and look for a day where no one is affected.

Review from CharityNavigator

7

Donor

Rating: 1

While in the Army, my peak salary was $36,000 annually. I had money held out automatically from my $36,000 each month to contribute to the American Cancer Society. I found out after the fact that less than 25 cents of every hard earned dollar actually went to research. I also learned the CEO makes nearly a million per year thanks to suckers like me. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. ACS will never fool me again.

10 Tom_7

Donor

Rating: 1

When our son developed cancer at age five we had already been yearly supporters of the ACS thru the Relay for Life. They provided no assistance to us as a family and instead gave us a list of phone numbers of Govt. programs where we might get assistance, We were in need of help to get a medication for our son that was his last chance at survival and The ACS provided no assistant whatsoever. They give only .005 for every dollar donated towards childhood cancer yet they utilize pictures of children consistantly to gain the majority of their donations. They follow suit of the drug manufactures and put their efforts towards more profitable cancers that occur in adults and ignore the great number of children dying from this terrible disease. Donate to www.curesearch.org or www.stbaldricks.org if your intentions are to help save the life of a child from cancer. Donate to the ACS if you like to see people buy expensive cars and take lavish vacations with your hard earned donations.

Review from CharityNavigator

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

This organization is as crooked as it gets. They barely fund any research, and when they do it's only research into new chemotherapy drugs that can be patented, and oddly enough it gives the patent rights to companies the board of directors have a direct share in. If they cared about cancer would they search for a cure instead of more and more chemotherapy? If they cared about patients wouldn't they keep the patent rights themselves or release the drug patent free instead of giving the patent to drug companies?? Then they're lying about and attacking any doctor that treats cancer without using chemotherapy. They're one of the groups attacking Dr. Burzynski when he's the only doctor to have ever cured inoperable brainstem glioma. Please stay away from this charity, don't give them a dime.

Review from CharityNavigator

2

Donor

Rating: 1

They are discriminating again Foundation Beyond Belief and its attempt to become a national team. They accept other non profits such as the Girl Scouts. But are refusing up to 500k from a teams, just because of religious views. This is textbook bigotry.

Review from CharityNavigator

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

There are so many people that benefit from what the ACS offers with donor dollars. While a majority of it is not research, the other programs and services are vital to those fighting this horrible disease.

In my local area, our ACS office offers, AT NO CHARGE, to cancer patients:
1. Look Good...Feel Better (a make-up kit complete with instruction on how to use this special make-up for patients undergoing treatment and have had chemo wreak havoc on their skin)
2. Reach to Recovery
3. Road to Recovery
4. Wigs
5. Breast prosthesis
6. A place for cancer patients to meet (i.e. MD Anderson support group)
7. A resource room complete with a computer for patients and their caregivers to educate themselves on what is happeneing to them
8. NCIC-National Cancer Information Center (a call center staffed with knowledgeable cancer information specialists)

So no, the ACS does not use all of their donations for research. But the day to day health of patients who may not see the benefits of long-term research is important to them and their volunteers.

To see a woman feel whole again after getting her breast prosthesis is like nothing I've ever experienced. The glimmer of hope and joy in her previously sad, sad face is worth my time and donations.

Review from CharityNavigator

1

Donor

Rating: 1

ACS's Relay For Life website lists non-profit organizations such as Sigma Alpha Lambda, but refuses to accept the Foundation Beyond Belief even after being promised a $500,000 goal in fundraising. This bigotry based on religion is outrageous.

Review from CharityNavigator

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

In 8/2009 I was diagnosis with tonsil cancer and ACS was there.

I had never donated to ACS, but that has all changed now that I have had cancer (x 2) and ACS was there for me all the way.

I see some of you think that ACS spends too little on reasearch. Maybe you are under the impression that research is all they do. It is not. It is only some of their mission. Let me tell you something, they are much, much more than just research. See their website to see how much they work on education for prevention of cancer, support for cancer patients & families and many more programs. (at cancer.org)

After my diagnosis, in the first package of information I got from the cancer center were several of their publications that helped to expalin my situation. I was treated with radiation & chemo. That treatment sucked, but with the knowledge that I got from ACS I knew what to expect and was able to make it through treatment knowing that this too shall pass... Thank you ACS.

In 12/2010 when I was diagnosed with a reoccurance of cancer, ACS was there.
This time they really helped big time! I needed to travel to NYC for surgery & more radiation treatment at Beth Israel Hospital. For five weeks I stayed at the ACS's Hope Lodge. Free. No cost to me. ACS was really their this time. The staff was wonderful, they went out of their way to make me and many other residents both patients & families have as enjoyable & comfortable stay as possible. They actually were able to do some magic that made this possible. After a day of treatment and NYC stress, returning to the lodge and being surrounded by people who understood what was happening to me and were willing to help was almost like coming home. Maybe even better in some ways. There are over 30 Hope Lodges in the US near major cancer centers. I had never heard of them before I got to NYC. I would not have been able to afford to have the advanced treatment that has made me cancer free. What a relief to not worry about the cost of NYC lodging while going through treatment. Thank you ACS.

I'll be donating to ACS for the rest of my life. I may not be able to repay them fully for the help they gave me, but I'll try to support them the best I can so that they may continue their good work for others.

Could they spend less on fundraising and overhead? Most likely the answer is yes. It would be nice to see them try. Having said that, I also need to add that they are good at what they do. Good talent cost money and sometimes you get what you pay for.

If you or a loved one ever get cancer you have my sympathy, support and the recommendation that your first stop for information is the ACS website cancer.org. They will be there for you.

Chances are good that in the next 5 years I will have another cancer event. Odds are just not in my favor, but I know that, when needed ACS will be there for me. Thanks ACS.

Review from CharityNavigator

2 Kevin23

Donor

Rating: 1

The ACS has recently refusing to credit donations to the Relay for Life from a group which raised half a million dollars in donations. They were told that the could donate anonymously or not at all. The reason they were told they could not receive credit is that they were not a corporation. When the group proved that they did qualify, as they were a non-profit corporation and had the paperwork to prove it, the ACS reversed their earlier position. They stated that now they weren't taking donations from non-profit organizations. When the group pointed out other non-profit organizations which had different religious affiliations than their own (such as the Girl Scouts of America, or Sigma Alpha Lambda) the ACS responded by posting a warped version of the complaint on their facebook page.

Their solution to a group which they were discriminating against was donate to our group anonymously, since helping cancer research is more important than receiving the same credit which other groups receive. A charitable organization should allow anyone who follows the rules the same courtesy and credit for donations. Doing anything less is discrimination, and will ultimately prevent people from donating towards a worthy cause.

The ACS only donates $.20 for every $1 towards actual research. An overwhelming amount goes towards executive salaries and inefficient overhead. Souring people on your organization, and wasting donated money is not the best way to help people with cancer.

Review from CharityNavigator

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

Tell your story here and help others understand this charity
I have a family member who is in charge of our Cancer office and she is constantly either driving (80 miles to the closest facility) or flying to the MANY different affairs, meetings, training sessions etc. This is not only the cost of the trip but the hotels (always expensive ones with supposedly redued rates) but the meals, cost of meeting rooms etc. I have ask her why they don't telephone conference instead and she has agreed it could work and would be so much cheaper and she doesn't know why they don't. Just think. We are a small town with one represenative - - Muptiply that by how many of these events they sponser and how many people across the nation they are sending to these things. Couldn't that money be much better used to research Cancer and help the cancer victoms. Doesn"t someone care?????

Review from CharityNavigator

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

It's Relay time again in our community... fundraiser after fundraiser, all efforts put on by volunteers to HELP CURE CANCER... by raising massive amounts of money that leave the community... by playing the CANCER CARD.

Less than 20% of each dollar goes to research (by private for -profit pharmaceutical companies. ) No one tells the volunteers this, or the huge budget of the AMC and what the Ceo's make.

Meanwhile, local organizations staffed by volunteers go begging ...

The good thing about RFL is that people get together for a day , have fun and support each other in their struggles with this disease, celebrate those who are cured and remember those who are gone...

Nothing wrong with that, and you know what... you don't need the ACS to put on an event like this... how about it people... ????

Review from CharityNavigator

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great organization and the events are really community based driven!

Review from CharityNavigator

2

Client Served

Rating: 3

I have had some experience with the American Cancer Society, when my mother was diagnosed with cancer. They were an invaluable resource in terms of the information that they provided to both my mother, my father, and myself. At any given moment, we could call their 1-800 number and speak to an actual person about what was happening in the process, and what it meant to us. They also set her up with ALCASE a lung cancer support group and sent us many pamphlets and brochures. If their primary objective was education and outreach they would have a full 5 stars from me, but I currently find them to be a tad bit misleading when they speak of research. I understand that they fund quite a bit of research, but not enough to be touting it as their primary mission. Furthermore, I am very disheartened that every link to where the money actually goes on their website is broken or does not work.

Currently, I am preparing to participate in the Relay for Life, one of their biggest fundraisers, and I find it to be ineffective, and more misdirection. For example, we are told we need to have moneies raised turned in as soon as possible because, "The sooner they get the money, the sooner it goes to cancer." That always hit a bad chord with me and seemed sketchy.

Review from CharityNavigator

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I no longer support ACS and would never contribute another dollar to them based on their efficiency rating on Charity Navigator.

They seek out and use children to gain sympathy for events yet contribute practically nothing to pediatric cancer research. There are other organizations that do a much better job of spending donors money on beneficial research and not on salaries.

Review from CharityNavigator

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 3

This organization does contribute to research but minimally. Most program funds are used for public education about cancer and about the organization, the latter NOT being counted as overhead/admin cost.

Some reviewers have stated the ACS says oral contraceptives increase breast cancer risk by 24%. This is inaccurate, in two ways, first by misrepresenting the possible risk of oral contraceptives, and secondly by misrepresenting the ACS's current statements. :The ACD says only "Studies have found that women using oral contraceptives (birth control pills) have a slightly greater risk of breast cancer than women who have never used them. This risk seems to decline back to normal over time once the pills are stopped. Women who stopped using oral contraceptives more than 10 years ago do not appear to have any increased breast cancer risk. When thinking about using oral contraceptives, women should discuss their other risk factors for breast cancer with their health care team."
http://www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/detailedguide/breast-cancer-risk-factors Elsewhere the ACS reports also that "there is also convincing evidence in humans that these agents confer a protective effect against cancer in the endometrium and ovary)" and "studies have shown that taking birth control pills reduces ovarian cancer risk. Characterizing oral contraceptives as cancer causing is very misleading.

Planned Parenthood provides health care to low income families including pap smears, breast exams, testicular cancer screening (yes, they provide health services to men) and numerous other early detection and cancer risk reduction services.

Review from CharityNavigator

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

This organization is wonderful! It is the most well-rounded cancer organization out there, using its funds for (1) cancer research, (2) assisting cancer patients, (3) pushing our lawmakers to make insurance companies cover cancer screenings, and (4) educating the public about cancer. Because of the American Cancer Society, more people are surviving cancer. They don't discriminate on who they help.

They have a 24/7 phone number that patients can call and talk to a REAL person, not a automated machine.

If it weren't for the American Cancer Society, insurance companies wouldn't have to cover cancer screening tests (most of which the American Cancer Society also funded and developed) that caught my mother-in-law's cancer early.

They offer free housing at their Hope Lodges to cancer patients who have to travel out of town for treatment. Do you have any idea how relieving it is to know you have a free place to stay where you are surrounded by a huge support group of people undergoing the same traumatic experience as yourself? There are not words to aptly describe this service they provide.

They spend more money on cancer research than any other organization or company besides the U.S. Government. And their research isn't just on finding screening tests, they find new treatments, new medications to help with a patients' quality of life, and connections as to what causes cancer. You know how everyone knows smoking can cause lung cancer? The American Cancer Society was the group who presented that information to the U.S. Attorney General!

I could go on and on. They help people everyday in a multitude of ways. And in return some people on here are saying they aren't doing enough. The sad thing is that, with more support, they WOULD be able to add to their phenomenal list of programs and services they already offer.

Review from CharityNavigator

Volunteer

Rating: 2

They test on animals. Just saying, better technology exists. And how come, if they make a billion dollars each year, we are still using similar methods to treat cancer as we were 5 years ago.

Review from CharityNavigator

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In response to the review above, I don't believe that the American Cancer Society has just awarded money to Planned Parenthood (PP) to just do whatever they want to do with it. When the American Cancer Society has given money to PP, it seems like it has a specific cancer fighting purpose.

In 2007, the American Cancer Society in Des Moines gave PP a grant of $5,000 to train the PP staff to encourage and help their patients quit smoking as apart of a campaign to reduce cancer.

As far as I can tell, this was a ONE TIME grant - ONLY in the state of Iowa and back in 2007. This is the only evidence I can find of the American Cancer Society awarding money to PP. If you have another source of information that suggests otherwise, I would love to see it.

Additionally, if you are worried about where your donation might be going when donating to the American Cancer Society, I would encourage you to restrict your gift to a specific area of focus - such as cancer research, colon cancer, prostate cancer, etc. The American Cancer Society allows you to specify where you would like your dollars to go.

I just think the American Cancer Society is too good of an organization doing too many great things in the fight against cancer. Please don't write them off because of one grant they awarded in Des Moines in 2007 with good intentions behind it to prevent and stop people from smoking.

The American Cancer Society isn't just focusing their funds on research, but also helping individuals who are already diagnosed with cancer by helping them and their families get well, they are preventing individuals from ever getting cancer by helping them stay well, they are funding cutting edge researchers that are finding cures (ACS funded researched developed tamoxifen and herceptin), and finally, they are working with state and federal lawmarkers to pass laws to help defeat cancer.

I urge you all to do your research, because the American Cancer Society is a wonderful organization doing phenomenal things each and every day. I am proud to be a volunteer for this organization and I hope that myself, my friends, or my family members never need their programs and services, but if we do, I know I can count on them to be their for me. And you can too.

Review from CharityNavigator

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I am sad to say that American Cancer Society gives money to Planned Parenthood. I don't know why many cancer fighting organizations give to a an organization that offers high-dose hormonal contraception containing dangerous carcinogenic chemicals. In fact, the American Cancer Society itself lists oral contraceptives as increasing a woman’s risk of breast cancer by 24%, while a 2006 report in the journal of the Mayo Clinic found a risk factor increase of 44% for pre-menopausal breast cancer in woman. In 2005, The World Health Organization (WHO) listed hormonal contraceptives as carcinogenic and confirmed they increased the risk of breast, cervical, and liver cancer in women.