About Our NCI Designation
The Cancer Therapy & Research Center of South Texas, now known as UT Health San Antonio Cancer Center, is the region’s only National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated cancer center. Our unique integration of state-of-the-art clinical care and breakthrough research, along with our comprehensive approach to cancer awareness, prevention and education make us Texas’ greatest asset in the battle against cancer.
What does National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation mean?
The National Cancer Act of 1971 established a foundation that culminated great advances in the ability to prevent, diagnose and prevent cancer. The Cancer Centers Program of the National Cancer Institute was designed to create specific centers exclusively dedicated to cancer-specific treatment and research. These NCI-designated cancer centers provide and maintain the highest levels of excellence in cancer research and the highest competence in the delivery of cancer care.
While many centers can refer to themselves as a cancer center, very few centers receive NCI-designation. These select centers are carefully examined, 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 69 NCI-designated Cancer Centers in the United States, and 4 of them are in Texas. Those four include our own UT Health Cancer Center, MD Anderson Cancer Center and the Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and UT Southwestern’s Simmons Cancer Center in Dallas.
What does NCI-designation mean to patients?
At an NCI-designated Cancer Center, teams of scientists work with clinicians to translate laboratory discoveries into practical application. This teamwork provides them with the tools necessary to uncover more effective ways to diagnose, prevent and treat all types of cancers along with the most elite cancer centers in the country. The close association with NCI allows these select centers access to information and discoveries through the NCI, as well as provides them access to its pipeline of new, innovative treatment possibilities.
Every cancer patient is unique, and with that comes unique aspects of each individual’s specific type of tumor. While the tumor-fingerprint for each patient is different, they all have one thing in common: they want to live. Not only do these patients have the desire to live, but they also expect treatments to be convenient and minimally disruptive to their usual routines, as well as come with minimal side effects. Access to the latest and potentially most effective drugs and clinical trials helps in allowing these goals to be met effectively.
Use of multidisciplinary clinics assist in making treatments convenient for patients and are employed at the UT Health Cancer Center as well as many other NCI-designated Cancer Centers. In a multidisciplinary clinic, the patient meets in one single location with all of the health professionals involved in helping diagnose cancer, including the medical doctor, surgeon, radiation therapist, nurse, nutritionist, social worker, psychiatrist and other allied health professionals to collectively devise an optimal treatment regimen. We treat cancer and care for the patient.