The unique integration of state-of-the-art clinical care, breakthrough research, and a comprehensive approach to cancer awareness, prevention and education makes the CTRC South Texas' greatest asset in the battle against cancer. This is why CTRC is recognized as a National Cancer Institute (NCI)–designated Cancer Center, the only one in the region.
What is a National Cancer Institute designation?
The National Cancer Act of 1971 established an infrastructure that culminated great advances in the ability to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. The Cancer Centers Program of the National Cancer Institute was designed to create specific centers that would be dedicated to cancer-specific treatment and research. These NCI-designated cancer centers attain the highest levels of excellence in cancer research and the highest competence in delivery of cancer care.
Any center can call itself a cancer center, but only a very few centers receive the NCI-designation. These Centers are scrutinized, tested and audited by the NCI and found to offer a comprehensive approach to all aspects of the disease, including novel and improved ways to diagnose, prevent and treat cancer.
There are only 67 NCI-designated Cancer Centers in the United States and only four in Texas. Besides San Antonio's Cancer Therapy & Research Center at the UT Health Science Center, there are two in Houston: The MD Anderson Cancer Center and Baylor's Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center, and one in Dalllas; the Harold C. Simmons Cancer Center at UT Southwestern.
What does the NCI-designation mean to patients?
In an NCI-designated Cancer Center, teams of scientists work with clinicians to translate laboratory discoveries into practical application, including more effective ways to diagnose, prevent and treat all types of cancers. The close association with the NCI allows these Centers access to information and discoveries through the NCI, and access to its pipeline of exciting new treatment possibilities.
Although every cancer patient is unique and with that comes unique aspects to his or her specific type of tumor, they all have one thing in common: they want to live. Not only do these patients desire life, but they also expect that treatments will be convenient and minimally disruptive to their usual routines, and will have minimal side effects. At most NCI-designated Cancer Centers, including the CTRC specifically, access to the latest and potentially most effective drugs and clinical trials may allow these goals to be met effectively.
One means of making treatments convenient is the use of multidisciplinary clinics, which are employed in many NCI-designated Cancer Centers, including the CTRC. In a multidisciplinary clinic, the patient will meet with all the health professionals involved in helping diagnose the cancer and devise its optimal treatment regimen in one single location including the medical doctor, surgeon, radiation therapist, nurse, nutritionist, social worker, psychiatrist and other allied health professionals. At CTRC, we treat the cancer and care for the patient.