When you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, the word “overwhelmed” hardly begins to describe the waves of emotions, concerns, and fears you’re barraged with.
After prioritizing the “waves,” and attempting to get a grip on one thing at a time, the reality of it all will settle in and you’ll realize that one of the most important decisions you’re going to have to make in all of this is where to get your care.
Check out what the American Cancer Society has to say on this topic. Or the National Cancer Institute. What you’ll find is that they’ll say the best place to receive care for cancer is at a comprehensive cancer center.
What’s a comprehensive cancer center? Comprehensive cancer centers are where some of the smartest physicians in the world work. Most often, these centers are connected to an academic medical center (a university or a medical school). That’s where breakthroughs in medicine happen. These doctors have years of experience in their fields, work with their peers to provide the most advanced treatment possible to cure diseases, and perform a lot of the same procedures, which makes them well skilled in their jobs.
Finding a comprehensive cancer center is easy. Of course, SCCA is one of these centers, but the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has a list of NCI-designated cancer centers. To be part of this list, a cancer center must complete a rigorous review process of their research efforts.
The NCI isn’t the only place you can find comprehensive cancer centers though. A number of regulatory agencies evaluate and designate leading treatment centers. The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) is a nonprofit organization that works with 24 approved medical specialty boards and has developed standards for ongoing evaluations and certifications of physicians in the United States. The ABMS is recognized as the “gold standard” in physician certification. They believe that higher standards for physicians mean better care for patients.
SCCA, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and UW Medicine form the only NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center in the Northwest. We receive more funding for cancer research than any other NCI site in the country. That’s pretty cool. Just something to think about when you’re choosing a cancer center for your care.