Oncologist Dr. Eugenio Galindo takes a closer look at how the American Cancer Society’s more than 100-year history has helped to shape the organization.
Cancer specialist Dr. Eugenio Galindo of McAllen Oncology, based in the Rio Grande Valley area of South Texas, and dedicated to bringing the latest in cancer treatment and screening to the southernmost tip of the state, offers a brief history of the American Cancer Society. This comes as the nonprofit organization is awarded GuideStar Platinum Seal of Transparency status for sharing the measures of progress and results used to continually pursue its mission more than 100 years after the society was first founded.
“The American Cancer Society’s mission,” says Dr. Galindo, “is to save lives, celebrate lives, and to lead the fight for a world free of cancer.”
Currently, the American Cancer Society is funding and conducting research, supporting patients, sharing expert information, and spreading the word about cancer prevention. “They do so,” Dr. Galindo adds, “all so that we can live longer, and better.”
Established in 1913 by a team of just 15 people, including ten doctors, the organization was originally known as the American Society for the Control of Cancer. “At that time,” says Dr. Galindo, “a cancer diagnosis often meant near-certain death.”
Rarely spoken about in public, the disease was steeped in fear and denial. “The American Society for the Control of Cancer’s founders knew that raised public awareness was essential if progress was to be made in the fight against the disease,” adds Dr. Galindo.
A little over three decades later, in 1945, the American Society for the Control of Cancer became the American Cancer Society. “World War II was over, and this marked the beginning of a new era for the organization,” explains Dr. Galindo.
With focus shifting away from the war effort and back toward public health, the following year the newly renamed American Cancer Society successfully fundraised over $4 million, equivalent to more than $50 million in today’s money. “$1 million of the $4 million total was used to establish and fund the American Cancer Society’s groundbreaking research program,” Dr. Galindo reveals. The research program, he says, quickly began to bear fruit as support for the organization grew.
This included achieving the first temporary remission in a child with leukemia by utilizing the drug aminopterin. “This,” suggests Dr. Eugenio Galindo, “marked the birth of the modern era of chemotherapy for cancer treatment.”
In the more than 70 years since the cancer society’s research program started, American Cancer Society-funded researchers have contributed toward almost every major cancer research breakthrough made around the world. “During the same period, the American Cancer Society has invested a total of more than $4 billion into life-saving cancer research,” adds Dr. Galindo.
The organization has subsequently earned a GuideStar Platinum Seal of Transparency for voluntarily sharing the measures of progress and results which it uses to pursue its mission. “Organizations earn a GuideStar Platinum Seal of Transparency by choosing from a catalog of more than 900 expert-recognized metrics, or by creating a new metric which best fits their work,” Dr. Galindo explains.
With over 1.6 million organization profiles on file, almost 10 million annual website visitors, and utilizing more than 200 data partners, GuideStar is widely considered to be the world’s number one source of information surrounding nonprofit organizations.
“A nonprofit itself,” adds Dr. Galindo, wrapping up, “GuideStar says it’s dedicated to providing better data for better decisions, and for a better world.”