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January 13, 2022

Why NCI-level expertise is important

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Only 20% of cancer cases are treated at National Cancer Institute–Comprehensive Designated Cancer Centers, which have shown significantly better outcomes.1 

The National Cancer Institute (NCI)

Part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), NCI is the federal government's principal agency for cancer research and training, and an anchor of the country's cancer research effort.2

The NCI Cancer Center Programwas created as part of the National Cancer Act of 1971.  Through the program, NCI recognizes centers around the country that meet rigorous standards for transdisciplinary, state-of-the-art research focused on developing new and better approaches to preventing, diagnosing, and treating cancer.2,3

The NCI Designations

A cancer institute with an official Cancer Center designation by NCI has achieved the highest federal rating.4 There are 71 NCI-Designated Cancer Centers, located in 36 states and the District of Columbia, focused on some combination of laboratory research, population science, and clinical research.5

For the Comprehensive Cancer Center designation, which is held by 53 cancer institutes, the institute must conduct coordinated, high-quality programs in laboratory research, population science, and clinical research, and demonstrate a strong body of interactive research that bridges these different areas. They must also put this research to work, from cancer prevention to care, and offer education for both healthcare professionals and the general public.5 NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers must further meet additional standards of premier leadership and resources, a greater depth and breadth of research, and substantial transdisciplinary research that bridges these scientific areas.3

Why is NCI-level expertise important?

NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers can help:

  • Deliver cancer care that more quickly incorporates research advances into standards of care
  • Improve survival and recovery, as those who start their treatment at this type of center have shown to live longer6,7
  • Expand access to clinical trials, potentially enrolling patients in hundreds of research studies at any given moment7
  • Take a multidisciplinary approach, providing an entire team of cancer specialists who can personalize treatment plans7

AccessHope offers access to the renowned expertise of multidisciplinary specialists with NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers for local oncologists of employees with cancer to get them on the right course of treatment early on, for the best outcomes possible. Considering that medical knowledge doubles in only 73 days,8 local doctors who treat many types of cancer every day can benefit from the support of these subspecialists through a collaborative relationship that helps close the cancer knowledge gap across the country.

1 National Cancer Institute. Data table 3: Reportable patients/participation in therapeutic studies. National Institute of Health Web site. Accessed June 4, 2021.

2 National Cancer Institute (NCI). National Institutes of Health Web site. Updated November 27, 2019. Accessed August 5, 2021.

3 NCI-Designated Cancer Centers. Updated June 24, 2019. Accessed August 5, 2021.

4 What does it mean to be an NCI-Designated Cancer Center? University of Chicago Medicine Web site. Accessed August 5, 2021.

5 National Cancer Institute Cancer Center Program information. American Cancer Society Web site. Updated November 10, 2014. Accessed August 5, 2021.

6 Why patients with cancer should choose a National Cancer Institute–Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. NYU Langone Health Web site. March 4, 2020. Accessed August 5, 2021.

7 The benefits of treatment at an NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. Fox Change Cancer Center Temple Health Web site. Updated August 7, 2020. Accessed August 5, 2021.

8 Corish B. Medical knowledge doubles every few months; how can clinicians keep up? Elsevier Connect.
Published April 23, 2018. Accessed July 28, 2021.