The Canadian Cancer Society was officially formed in 1938, but the seeds for the Society were planted back in 1929 when the Saskatchewan Medical Association formed the country’s first cancer committee.
This committee responded to growing concern by doctors that people were not aware of the signs of cancer. By the time people consulted a doctor, their cancer was advanced and their chances for survival were decreased. Cancer committees in other provincial medical associations followed, and in 1931 the Canadian Medical Association’s National Study Committee on Cancer was formed.
In 1935, the Governor General of Canada invited Canadians to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the coronation of George V by donating to the King George V Silver Jubilee Cancer Fund. The campaign successfully raised almost $500,000 by the end of the year.
In 1937, the National Study Committee recommended the formation of the Canadian Society for the Control of Cancer, and this new organization was officially launched the following year. We changed our name to the Canadian Cancer Society a few years later.
During our early years, we received most of our income from an annual grant from the Canadian Medical Association based on the interest of the King George V Silver Jubilee Fund.
In 1947, the National Cancer Institute of Canada now the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute was formed through an agreement between the Canadian Cancer Society and the Department of National Health and Welfare. Since then, the Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute have worked towards a common goal while retaining their own identities and purposes.
Over the past three-quarters of a century, we’ve made incredible progress in the fight for life. To learn more about our accomplishments and history, visit our 75 greatest impact moments.
Seeing my sister Erin – a young mother – struggle with the emotional blow and then the physical toll of cancer treatment made me want to do something to help women feel confident.
Advocating for cancer patients
Our staff and volunteers meet with elected officials from local, provincial and national governments to persuade them to make the fight against cancer one of their top priorities.