American Cancer Society Turns 100, Cancer Incidents in U.S. Trending Downward

on May 22 2013 4:29 PM

In a bit of good news today, the American Cancer Society reports that as of Wednesday, its 100th birthday, two out of three people who are diagnosed with cancer today will survive for at least five years, and cancer rates in the U.S. are down 20 percent overall since the 1990s.

ACS was founded in 1913 by a group of 15 doctors and businessmen in New York City, under the name “American Society for the Control of Cancer.” Life expectancy in the U.S. then was under 50, and at the time the biggest killer diseases were the flu, pneumonia and tuberculosis. "Cancer is a disease of aging, so as people live longer there will be more cancer," Dr. Michael Kastan, executive director of Duke University's Cancer Institute, told AP.

"In 1970, it was projected that cancer incidence and mortality would continue to rise beyond the year 2000," Vincent T. DeVita, Jr., M.D., national volunteer president of the American Cancer Society, said in a statement on the group’s website. "Today, not only have mortality rates declined since the early 1990s, but we're averting more than 400 cancer deaths every day."

AP reported that in 2011 the ACS had revenues of $925 million. The Society is also known for pushing women to get Pap tests and mammograms, which they say has contributed to a 70 percent decline in uterine and cervical cancer. According to the Center for Disease Control, approximately 12.7 million people worldwide get cancer every year.