Cancer treatment hospitals


What makes a hospital a cancer treatment hospital? The best way to answer this question is to refer to the National Cancer Institute and their criteria for designation as an NCI-designated Cancer Center:

To qualify as a cancer treatment hospital, the hospital or treatment center must:

  • Be recognized for scientific excellence
  • Be a major source of discovery and development of more effective approaches to cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment
  • Deliver medical advances to patients and their families, educate health care professionals and the public, and reach out to underserved populations.

The National Cancer Institute recognizes:

  • Freestanding organizations, and;
  • Centers within an academic institution, or part of a consortium of institutions.

Furthermore, the NCI recognizes two types of cancer centers, based strictly on the type of grants they receive: Cancer Centers, and Comprehensive Cancer Centers. In sum there are 66 such cancer centers, 59 of which treat patients (the other 7 are dedicated to research only). It should be noted that the NCI makes no distinction in the quality of care offered by its designated Cancer Centers and Comprehensive Cancer Centers.

To find the NCI-designated Cancer Center nearest you, go to this NCI page.

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network

In the US, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) is a not-for-profit alliance of 21 of the top cancer centers in the world, all affiliated with the National Cancer Institute. Those member institutions, included in the NCI's 66 designated Cancer Centers, are:

  • City of Hope (Duarte / Los Angeles CA)
  • Dana-Farber/Brigham and Woman's Cancer Center @ Massachusetts General (Boston MA)
  • Duke Cancer Institute (Durham NC)
  • Fox Chase Cancer Center (Philadelphia PA)
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute @ University of Utah (Salt Lake City UT)
  • Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Seattle WA)
  • Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center @ Johns Hopkins (Baltimore MD)
  • Robert H. Lurie Cancer Center @ Northwestern University (Chicago IL)
  • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (New York NY)
  • H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute (Tampa FL)
  • James Center Hospital @ Ohio State University Cancer Center (Columbus OH)
  • Roswell Park Cancer Institute (Buffalo NY)
  • Siteman Cancer Center (St. Louis MO)
  • St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (Memphis TN)
  • Stanford Comprehensive Cancer Center (Stanford CA)
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center (Birmingham AL)
  • UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center (San Francisco CA)
  • University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center (Ann Arbor MI)
  • UNMC Epply Cancer Center at The Nebraska Medical Center (Omaha NE)
  • University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston TX)
  • Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (Nashville TN)

These 21 hospitals treat a large volume of new patients annually (over 160,000), they provide the highest quality care, many of the doctors and researchers are on the cutting edge of new and improved cancer treatments and frequently publish in peer-reviewed journals, and the NCCN is credited with having pioneered the multidisciplinary team approach to cancer and patient care.

Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Another US network of cancer treatment centers is the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA). This network features four for-profit primary cancer centers:

  • Southwestern Regional Medical Center (Tulsa OK)
  • Eastern Regional Medical Center (Philadelphia PA)
  • Midwestern Regional Medical Center (Zion IL)
  • Western Regional Medical Center (Goodyear AZ)

CTCA boasts a success rate at treating certain cancers that is higher than the national average, but these claims have not been independently verified. CTCA prides themselves on their integrative cancer care which brings together many different disciplines to deliver the best cancer care possible.

US News & World Report Hospital Rankings

Each year, the magazine US News & World Report publishes its list of top US hospitals based on a wide variety of criteria. They also list top hospitals by specialty, and among those specialties is cancer. The most recent rankings can be found HERE.

For criteria, the magazine only lists and ranks those hospitals in which "at least 270 in-patients who needed a high level of expertise in this specialty were treated there in 2006, 2007, and 2008, or if surveyed specialists recommended the hospital for such patients."


In sum, cancer treatment hospitals can be broadly defined as those hospitals or treatment centers that employ renowned health professionals and offer a wide and varied approach to cancer treatment that includes integrative and multidisciplinary care.


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