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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

59 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

5

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

6

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.

9 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

3

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

1

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

1 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

1

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

1

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

1

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

3

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

2

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.