Cancer is a condition that may lead to frustrations and depression due to its signs and symptoms. According to the National Cancer Institute, the most common types of cancer worldwide are cancer of the breast, lung, colon, and liver. Although medications are now available to help patients manage their conditions, many are still looking for facilities that can give all their needs.
With the demand for facilities increases, the United States’ cancer institute began to build various comprehensive cancer centers around the union. Below are the topics that may give you an idea to know what is a comprehensive cancer center and where you can find one.
Comprehensive Cancer Center
This could be the first time that you heard about Comprehensive Cancer Centers. For that, here are it’s definitions. The Comprehensive Cancer Institute is a research program that was supported by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). In centers like this, scientists are tasked to gather reliable information about cancer and its treatment, plus to give services about cancer interventions directly to the patients. Here, experts do different clinical examinations and intense observation that focus on the possible causes, patterns, and prevention for the disease. The NCI aims to provide the service which may help not only the patients but also their families.
Aside from the services for patients, all the gathered data about cancer are distributed to different clinics and hospitals for them to proceed for their development. The process of distribution may also help not only the current cancer patients, but also it serves as the prevention guide for the public. NCI has different criteria before declaring that a center is a certified “comprehensive” one. Understand the standards of NCI before labeling a comprehensive cancer center below.
Criteria of NCI for Comprehensive Cancer Centers – Plus Importance
Knowing that NCI’s highest ranking of cancer institute is the comprehensive label, there are things that one center should possess to be classified as “comprehensive.”
Below are the standards set by the NCI for cancer centers:
- Innovative technologies, facilities, and laboratory testings
- Complete training and assessment program for health care practitioners
- Valid programs for controlling and preventing cancer
- A wide range of informative services
- Strong foundation and fundamentals regarding clinical trials and research programs about cancer
- Outreach and Educational Programs for the community
Aside from the criteria given above, a recommendation letter from cancer authorities should be presented as a request for approval. Thus, many people are still asking about the importance of recognizing a center as a comprehensive one. With that, the NCI released a report regarding the importance of comprehensive cancer centers. According to them, comprehensive cancer center, aside from its multidisciplinary purposes, it also consists of specialists from different fields of medicines. Surgeons, pathologists, radiologists, oncologists and other experts when it comes to managing cancer are included within a comprehensive cancer center. Each of the mentioned experts has a part in improving the facilities and applying the innovative processes to work with the treatment plan.
NCI spokesperson also said that in recognized cancer centers, every cancer patient have their assigned multidisciplinary team to assist and help them throughout the process. Additionally, specialists within the center consider and incorporate all the initial diagnosis done by previous check-ups. In that way, experts will not miss any important information about the patient’s condition.
Stephen Edge, the vice president of Healthcare Outcomes and Policy, added that the NCI aims to treat the general condition of a cancer patient and not just focused on cancer itself. He also mentioned that for instance, if a patient needs to have physical therapy, specialists within the comprehensive centers won’t let them look for a clinic outside of the hospital; instead, the physical therapy will be done inside the facility. Edge stated that patients should not feel inconvenient while in the treatment process, and that is the reason why patients and their families should choose a comprehensive cancer center.
However, Stephen Edge and NCI do not invalidate the treatment process of other cancer centers. In fact, they are helping these centers to become one of the recognized cancer institutes within the U.S.
How Many Comprehensive Cancer Centers Are in the U.S
Currently, there are 70 reported NCI-designated cancer centers in the United States. These centers can be found within the 36 states in the U.S including the District of Columbia. However, NCI has labeled and separated each of the 70 centers with 3 main categories. First, basic laboratory cancer centers (BLCC). Out of 70, only 7 have been put under the classification BLCC. Second, the comprehensive cancer centers and 49 are under this category. Last is the cancer centers in which 14 are under this class.
NCI also added that most of the recognized centers within the U.S are associated with medical universities; however, few focus only on cancer research programs. As mentioned above, there are criteria that a center should manifest before considering a nominated or recognized comprehensive cancer center. Also, the NCI-designated centers are acknowledged not only by the facilities, but also by the outstanding leadership, programs, resources, and clinical trials. Considering that the NCI is an institution that supported different cancer research programs, they are very specific about the quality and reliability of every research.
Each recognized comprehensive cancer centers by the organization should demonstrate depth and bread of studies, as well as principal findings that connects every scientific sector. Also, as stated above, there are 3 categories that NCI gave to various cancer centers. One of these three is the Basic laboratory Cancer Centers (BLCC), in which considered a research-driven facility and did not offer any treatment and services for patients.
Along with the increasing number of NCI-designated cancer centers is the growing quantity of patients who have received proper treatments from the centers. Aside from that, based on a survey from the NCI, 250,000 cancer patients are now considered “cancer-free” after the treatment process inside the comprehensive cancer centers.
To sum it all, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) is a government agency that mainly focuses on cancer research programs and aims to give support to cancer patients. One of the programs that gained support from the NCI is the recognition of Comprehensive Cancer centers within the United States. An estimated 49 NCI-designated cancer institution are now receiving support from the agency.