The Rise of the Comprehensive Cancer Center

As advancements in the care and treatment of cancer patients is allowing cancer survivors to live longer and fuller lives, the need for coordinated and comprehensive care of this demographic has grown drastically. As a result, the National Cancer Institute has developed a set of criteria used to designate Comprehensive Cancer Centers. These specially designated  Cancer Centers must conduct clinical trials, look into methods of cancer prevention, and engage in cancer laboratory research, as well as offer informational and support services. 


Move Towards Comprehensive Cancer Centers 

The drive behind creating more comprehensive cancer centers is informed first and foremost by data. That is, the hospitals that have received the nod of approval by the National Cancer Institute as these designated cancer centers show better outcomes and survival rates for patients in their care, especially for children with cancer. From research and prevention to diagnosis and treatment, National Cancer Institute-approved comprehensive cancer centers lead to more promising outcomes because these centers receive the lion’s share of federal funding for cancer research. 

There are over five dozen comprehensive cancer centers in the United States alone. Some of these centers focus solely on research whereas others are closely engaged with medical centers offering an array of services.


A Transdisciplinary Approach to Cancer Research 

Less than ten of the 68 cancer centers in the United States focus exclusively on research. The majority of comprehensive cancer centers offer patients cutting-edge treatments and access to clinical trials. Patients and their families, of course, are apprised of all of the risks associated with more experimental treatment options and those option’s chances of success. Additionally, the Comprehensive Cancer Centers pool their resources by combining the expertise of professionals from different disciplines. This team-based approach means that a panel of specialists collaborate to arrive and the right treatment plan for each individual patient, benefiting from increased communication between the cancer research and science disseminated from other medical centers. 


Advantages of a Comprehensive Cancer Center 

The network of comprehensive cancer centers is increasingly being used by the medical establishment as a rite of passage for board certification and certain kinds of training in niche areas. These centers themselves, though, have been thoroughly vetted and are standard bearers for research, diagnostic, treatment, prevention and informational services. 

The high bar that the National Cancer Institute has set for comprehensive cancer centers ensures that federal funding for cancer research is put to the best use. Cancer centers collaborate with one another across an array of disciplines and routinely engage in cutting-edge research. 

Many funding and resource opportunities are specifically tailored to comprehensive cancer centers because of their great reputation. This kind of trust and public interest helps to generate more funds from private donors and ensures that comprehensive cancer centers gain a greater portion of the market for oncology treatment, giving them more clout in negotiating with insurance companies, biotech firms and pharmaceutical providers. These benefits also increase the profitability of the service line and contribute the center’s bottom line, as well as their reputation.

Comprehensive cancer centers also offer benefits to patients and the general public that other institutions haven’t started doing yet. A comprehensive cancer center, for example, has scientists pioneering new forms of cancer research, a full staff coordinating care for each patients individual needs, and patient support services all working as a team to provide patients with cutting edge care that treats the whole person.

Future of Comprehensive Cancer Centers 

Approximately three-fifths of the 68 cancer centers given the nod by the National Cancer Institute are true comprehensive cancer centers.

These compressive cancer centers continue to take an innovative approach to clinical practice and laboratory research that pools together professionals from different professional backgrounds with one goal in mind – improving the outcomes and quality of life of their patients. In addition, these comprehensive cancer centers engage their communities and raise awareness with respect to cancer research and other public health breakthroughs. 

In the coming years the number of organizations vying to become comprehensive cancer centers will continue to increase as the shift to this care model continues to grow, and the resulting push for additional oncology recruitment to staff these centers will grow as well.

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