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Our history

Black and white image of a boy holding bunches of daffodils

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.

Since 1947, the Canadian Cancer Society has supported thousands of researchers through the administration of more than $1 billion in cancer research funding. This funding was made possible because of CCS’s longstanding commitment to research.

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 Nova Scotia

The Nova Scotia Division of the Canadian Cancer Society opened its doors in April of 1946. Its primary mandates were education, patient services and research.

Throughout the years the Canadian Cancer Society - Nova Scotia Division also has taken a pro-active role in lobbying government and working with communities to ensure that information regarding cancer is available.

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Stories

Stephanie Hermsen Thanks to the incredible progress in retinoblastoma research made possible by Canadian Cancer Society funding, my son won’t have to go through what I did.

Read Stephanie's story

Funding world-class research

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Cancer affects all Canadians but together we can reduce the burden by investing in research and prevention efforts. Learn about the impact of our funded research.

Learn more