The American Cancer Society was founded in 1913 by 10 doctors and 5 laypeople in New York City. It was called the American Society for the Control of Cancer (ASCC). At that time, a cancer diagnosis meant near-certain death. Rarely mentioned in public, this disease was steeped in fear and denial. Doctors sometimes did not tell their patients they had cancer, and patients often did not tell their friends and families that they had been diagnosed with it.
The Society's founders knew they had to raise public awareness about cancer if progress was to be made against this disease. Despite the enormity of their task, our founders and their colleagues set about writing articles for popular magazines and professional journals; publishing Campaign Notes, a monthly bulletin of cancer information; and recruiting doctors throughout the country to help educate the public.