In celebration of its 75th anniversary, the Cancer Research Society continues to show an exemplary research record. While much remains to outsmart cancer and make it a treatable disease, the donations invested since the Society’s inception have saved the lives of millions of Canadians. With a survival rate that has risen from 25% in 1946 to 60% today, the future is full of hope. Here are some of the successes that our community’s involvement has made possible.

Evolution of cancer survival rates between 1946 and 2018
  • 1950


    The Cancer Research Society’s contributions allow the opening of Montreal’s first-ever cancer detection clinic on October 23, 1950, at the Herbert Reddy Memorial Hospital. Both levels of government invest $50,000 to redevelop the space and purchase equipment. The Cancer Research Society covers the cost of maintenance, the hiring of a social worker and treatment for certain patients.

  • 1965


    Philip Gold and Samuel Freedman publish a study on their ground-breaking discovery of the carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), a protein present in 70% of cancer patients, detected in the blood. Their discovery makes CEA the first significant human tumour marker, and it remains to this day the most widely used blood test in oncology worldwide. Their work proves to be instrumental in shaping the modern era of cancer immunology and tumour markers.

  • 1970


    According to the Cancer Research Society’s archives, Rosemonde Mandeville-Sayeh was the first woman to receive a grant from the Society in 1970. In the following years, she received 5 additional grants from the Society. 40 years later, Dr. Mandeville has published 185 articles in international scientific reviews and been the thesis supervisor of at least 77 upper-cycle students. 


    She’s also been the recipient of multiple awards. In 1996, she was honoured as being the most influential scientist in Quebec. In 1998, she was named “Woman of the Century” in the domain of sciences and biotechnologies, at the National Women’s show.

  • 1984

    $1 million awarded in research
    grants for the first time ever

  • 1988


    In 1988, the Cancer Research Society awards a million-dollar grant to establish the Cancer Research Society Division of Epidemiology at McGill University. The Division Director Eduardo Franco sets out to study the causes of cancer, particularly HPV-associated cancers. His team’s research proves that vaccination can prevent cervical cancer. It is a significant discovery that contributed to the development of the HPV vaccine that we know today.

  • 1990s

    Steven Narod and Patricia Tonin are part of the team that identifies BRCA1 and BRCA2, the genes responsible for breast and ovarian cancer. Their discovery makes it possible to assess the risks of developing these cancers and therefore take early action to reduce the number of deaths in women who carry the genes.

  • 2000s

    Guy Sauvageau and his team make an unprecedented breakthrough with the discovery of a new molecule capable of multiplying stem cells in umbilical cord blood. This advancement significantly increases the availability of compatible stem cells to help treat patients with leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

  • 2013

    $10 million awarded in research grants

  • 100% RESEARCH

    More and more Canadians are supporting our mission. Donors and partners wishing to take concrete action against the disease are putting their trust in research, our best ally in the fight against all types of cancer.


    To achieve this objective, the Society concentrates all of its efforts on three fundamental aspects of research: prevention, screening and treatment.


    In 2017–2018, we invested $16.5 million in research, thanks to your donations.