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Our history

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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.

Beginnings of the Society in Newfoundland and Labrador

The Newfoundland and Labrador Division of the Canadian Cancer Society was established in 1950 as a result of a visit to Newfoundland by the late Mr. George Pifher. At that time, Mr. Pifher was the guest speaker at a meeting of the St. John’s Rotary Club. As a result of his talk, the Club decided to fund a “Branch” of the Canadian Cancer Society in Newfoundland and form a committee under the chair of the late Mr. W. Angus Reid to work towards this goal.

As a further result of committee meetings, the Newfoundland and Labrador Division of the Canadian Cancer Society was officially established on July 24, 1950 with the election of officers and directors.



Tyler Cook This research saved my life and my sister’s life. Without it, stomach cancer would have wiped out most of our family.

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Funding lifesaving clinical trials

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The Canadian Cancer Society is funding lifesaving clinical trials that give people with cancer access to the newest types of treatment.

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