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Every day since 1928 Cancer Council SA has been working towards a cancer free future.

1928 – First established as the Anti-Cancer Campaign Committee, what was to become today’s Cancer Council SA, was formed on the initiative of the late Dr F S Hone, with the support of the Faculty of Medicine and the Council of The University of Adelaide. Its objectives were to facilitate cancer research and to provide the most modern methods for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in South Australia.

1930-40 – During this time, the Anti-Cancer Campaign Committee provided the medical staff, medical physicists, and equipment and supervised the treatment of patients in the Radiotherapy Department of the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH).

1954-57 – The RAH took over the employment of the medical and other staff working in the Radiotherapy Department. The Campaign Committee purchased the first Linear Accelerator for the RAH Radiotherapy Department at a cost of £70,000.

Early 1960s – The Committee was renamed the Anti-Cancer Foundation of the University of Adelaide and its focus moved to gaining a better scientific understanding of cancer. During this time equipment and research was funded in a number of institutions including the Waite Agricultural Research Institute and the Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science (IMVS).

1964 – A Patient Care Committee was formed to oversee the provision of non-medical support to cancer patients. This resulted in the initial development of a visiting nurse service that was later handed over to the Royal District Nursing Service.

1979 – The first ever Cancer Education Officer was employed, through funding from The Lions Club of South Australia and the Northern Territory, to provide information about cancer to school children and the general public.

1980s – The Foundation was renamed The Anti-Cancer Foundation of the Universities of South Australia after the joining of Flinders University. During this time, the first Fundraising Officer was appointed whose role it was to increase public donations to the Foundation.

1991 – The Anti-Cancer Foundation of the Universities of South Australia was incorporated and subsequently took over the role of Trustee from The University of Adelaide.

1993-1994 – The Foundation introduced the much loved Daffodil Day and Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea events.

1995 – The Anti-Cancer Foundation of the Universities of South Australia bought its first motel (what is now called Cancer Council Lodge – Greenhill) – a 55 unit motel next door – and a few years later it bought a group of nine self contained units at Fullarton (Cancer Council Lodge – Seaview). These facilities provided (and still provide) affordable accommodation for country patients and carers who required specialist treatment for their cancer in Adelaide.

1997 – The Foundation became The Anti-Cancer Foundation of South Australia with a community based Board of Directors and an independent Chairman, but to this day retains a close affiliation with both The University of Adelaide and the Flinders University of South Australia.

2002 – The Foundation was renamed The Cancer Council South Australia with a daffodil logo, in line with The Cancer Council Australia and most of its state members. The Cancer Council South Australia was registered as the business name of the Anti-Cancer Foundation of South Australia.

2008 – An updated logo was adopted by all Cancer Councils across Australia and our name changed to what it is today, Cancer Council SA.

2009 – The Ambassador Project was introduced as an innovative experiment to better engage and inform the South Australian community about the work of Cancer Council SA. Ambassadors were tasked to use their personal skills and experience to represent Cancer Council SA within their local communities. It has become one of our most successful community engagement projects.

2012 – Cancer Council SA embarked on a landmark cancer research partnership with the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute and the SA Government to lead a new era in the fight against cancer for South Australians. Between 2012 and 2017, Cancer Council SA is investing $10 million into the partnership, aiming to deliver more cancer breakthroughs and bring the defeat of cancer closer.

NOW –,  Since 1928, the organisation has kept evolving. Today it comprises three departments: Cancer Control, which encompass cancer prevention (including Quitline SA), cancer support, lodge administration and behavioural research activities; Corporate Services, which comprises human resources, ambassadors, IT and payroll; and the Business Development Unit, which is where all donor relations, fundraising events and marketing communications are coordinated.

We are made up of 94 passionate staff, assisted by `171 active volunteers and 107 dedicated Ambassadors. We are supported by the extraordinary generosity of South Australians. In the financial year ended 30 June 2019:

  • Over 4,300 people contacted Quitline for counselling and support;
  • 4,961 South Australians accessed our 13 11 20 Information and Support line;
  • 848 counselling sessions were provided;
  • 1,153 hours of short-term practical support were provided
  • 1,737 sessions of social work support were offered
  • 374 families received financial support to ease their hardship
  • 40 programs were delivered to 313 participants in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, providing training to reduce smoking rates.

From the ‘power of one’ to mammoth team efforts, the South Australian community along with Cancer Council SA is working towards a cancer free future. This combined effort allows Cancer Council SA to fund life saving research, deliver cancer prevention programs and provide support services that together aim to reduce the impact of cancer for all South Australians.