Cancer Crusade: A USC Roadmap

In 1973, the National Cancer Institute named the USC/Norris Cancer Center one of the first eight “comprehensive cancer centers” in the country. Today, there are 40 such cancer centers in the nation. Comprehensive centers differ from other medical institutions in their multidisciplinary approach to research, patient care, prevention and outreach. Researchers work hand in hand with clinicians to provide state-of-the-art care and, when appropriate, enroll cancer patients in ongoing clinical trials (nearly 200 are now in progress at the USC/Norris). This laboratory bench-to-bedside structure means that patients have access to breakthrough treatments not yet available elsewhere.

The USC/Norris treats all cancers, but it has particular expertise in cancers of the bladder, prostate, kidney, testis, female reproductive system, breast, lung, gastrointestinal tract, skin, leukemia and lymphomas, and AIDS-related cancers. Researchers and clinicians alike – including surgeons, medical specialists, oncologists and radiologists – hold faculty positions in the Keck School of Medicine of USC. The mix has spawned intriguing collaborations, such as the joint program in gene therapy with the Keck School’s Institute for Genetic Medicine.

USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center
While the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center encompasses cancer services at USC-affiliated Childrens Hospital Los Angeles and Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center, it is anchored by the 60-bed USC/Norris Cancer Hospital, equipped with its own surgical unit, a bone marrow transplantation unit, image enhancement center and plastic and reconstructive surgery. Outpatient services include diagnostic testing, genetic testing, chemotherapy and radiation treatment. The radiation oncology department is equipped with powerful linear accelerators to deliver the most advanced radiation therapy; a hyperthermia unit, often used in combination with radiation therapy; high-dose-rate brachytherapy, for treating tumors in sensitive or deep areas; three-dimensional computer modeling of tumors for treatment planning; and unique treatments for choroid melanomas. The USC/Norris also maintains a dozen clinical centers specializing in particular cancers, including the Harold E. and Henrietta C. Lee Breast Center, which also houses the Lynne Cohen Preventive Care Clinic for Women’s Cancers.

USC/Norris physicians, epidemiologists and statisticians also head up major Keck School demographic studies such as the Cancer Surveillance Program, which compiles information on all new cancer cases – more than 30,000 a year – reported in Los Angeles County; and the Hawaii/Los Angeles Multiethnic Cohort Study, which looks at diet, ethnicity and environment as potential long-term factors in cancer risk among 215,000 Americans.

Related Links

Fighting Cancer at the Table

Cancer Crusade: A USC Roadmap

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