chapter  Chapter 5
13 Pages

American Cancer Society: The World’s Wealthiest “Nonprofit” Institution

WithSamuel S. Epstein

The American Cancer Society (ACS) is accumulating great wealth in its role as a “charity.” In 1992, the American Cancer Society Foundation was created to allow the ACS to actively solicit contributions of more than $100,000. Most of the funds raised by the ACS go to pay overhead, salaries, fringe benefits, and travel expenses of its national executives in Atlanta. The approach of the ACS to cancer prevention reflects a virtually exclusive “blame-the-victim” philosophy. It emphasizes faulty lifestyles rather than unknowing and avoidable exposure to workplace or environmental carcinogens. The mammography industry conducts research for the ACS and its grantees, serves on advisory boards, and donates considerable funds. The intimate association between the ACS and the cancer drug industry, with current annual sales of about $12 billion, is further illustrated by the unbridled aggression which the Society has directed at potential competitors of the industry.