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Why is the Cancer Center called comprehensive?

The term comprehensive says a lot about cancer care

comprehensive cancer center

Cancer centers called ‘comprehensive’ by the NCI have an especially broad range of patient care, education and research programs.

Even though it’s a mouthful to say “University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center,” comprehensive is one of the most important words in that name. We say it a lot. In fact, many pages on our website point out that we are designated comprehensive by the National Cancer Institute. It’s a big, important-sounding word, but what does it mean?

When the NCI recognized us as a cancer center in 1988 and designated us comprehensive in 1991, we joined what was then a handful of cancer centers working with the NCI on a special goal: to form a backbone for government-funded programs studying and controlling cancer.

Today there are 69 NCI-designated cancer centers. Forty-five of these are designated a comprehensive cancer center. What sets this group apart from other cancer centers around the country is this: we are characterized by scientific excellence and the ability to integrate diverse research approaches to focus on cancer.

‘Comprehensive’ means we have an especially broad range of services and programs, including:

  • Extensive, interactive and innovative clinical and laboratory research
  • Participation in NCI testing of new therapies
  • Significant cancer prevention and control research
  • Provision of patient education, community service and outreach as well as training for health professionals.

Often studies are interdisciplinary, meaning they involve investigators from other U-M departments, schools or colleges. And many of these studies are collaborative, involving other cancer centers, as well as other partners in industry and the community.

So, the next time you hear the word comprehensive linked to a cancer center, look for reference to an official NCI designation. Once found, you can be assured there is regular, even demanding documentation required by the NCI so that the cancer center you’re looking at can say it’s comprehensive.

Take the next step:

  • Learn more about clinical trials that are available at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center.
  • Find out more about our patient and family support services, and community outreach.
  • See what’s going on at the U-M Medical School, where future cancer doctors and researchers are being trained now.
  • Explore some of our many cutting-edge research programs here.
  • Still have questions? Call the nurses at the University of Michigan Cancer AnswerLine™. They can help patients or their loved ones find a clinical trial or provide insights into the newest and latest cancer treatments. Feel free to call at 1-800-865-1125 or send an e-mail.

    Cancer-center-informal-vertical-sig-150x150The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center’s 1,000 doctors, nurses, care givers and researchers are united by one thought: to deliver the highest quality, compassionate care while working to conquer cancer through innovation and collaboration. The center is among the top-ranked national cancer programs, and #1 in Michigan according to U.S. News & World Report. Our multidisciplinary clinics offer one-stop access to teams of specialists for personalized treatment plans, part of the ideal patient care experience. Patients also benefit through access to promising new cancer therapies.