Throughout the country, there are numerous hospitals that treat cancer. Some are traditional facilities that tend to those with all sorts of diseases and ailments, but at the top of the list are the many medical facilities where the staff is dedicated solely to the treatment of all kinds of cancer, both adult and pediatric. These cancer centers are scattered throughout the United States, many located in the nation’s largest cities.
While any hospital dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer can call themselves a cancer center, there are a number of medical facilities in the U.S. – about 40 total – that have been designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as “Comprehensive Cancer Centers.” This designation is rewarded only after rigorous review of the hospital, its staff, its reputation, the technologies it offers, participation in research and clinical trials, and a host of other factors. There are also an additional 25 NCI-designated Cancer Centers that have not yet received the comprehensive designation. All of these facilities are chosen for their ability to play a role in the fight to “reduce morbidity and mortality” from cancer.
Most cancer centers take a multi-disciplinary approach to the treatment of cancer. That means patients will be assigned to a team of doctors that all participate in the creation of a viable treatment program for that individual. Members of the team might include a medical and surgical oncologist, pathologist, radiologist, physical therapist, and an oncology nurse. These teams meet weekly to access treatment results and to make adjustments when necessary.
Some cancer centers are more well-versed in the treatment of certain cancers than others, so patients seeking a place for treatment should be sure to peruse the qualifications of several cancer hospitals in order to find the one that offers the best doctors and treatment options for their type of cancer. In addition, if a patient is seeking participation in a clinical trial, they should inquire as to the cancer center’s participation in certain trials for their disease.
In many cases, patients suffering from a particular form of cancer, such as mesothelioma, may have to travel from their home to reach one of these state-of-the-art facilities. This is expected and most of these hospitals provide assistance to out-of-town patients who need to secure lodging, transportation, and other particulars for themselves or for their family members during treatment. Social workers are on hand to consult with potential patients before they arrive and remain a source of assistance throughout the patient’s stay.