NCI Designation Puts You at Center of Innovative Cancer Care

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NCI Designation Puts You at Center of Innovative Cancer Care

If you or a loved one receive a cancer diagnosis, you want the best resources available in order to chart a course toward healing and wholeness.

As a National Cancer Institute-Designated Cancer Center, OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences is among the top 2% of all cancer centers in the United States. That status allows OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center to provide you with innovative, research-driven treatments while also surrounding you and your family with the support that you need. That level of care is only found at NCI-Designated Cancer Centers.

Stephenson Cancer Center first earned NCI designation in 2018 and achieved renewal this year through a rigorous review process. The five-year renewal recognizes Stephenson’s ongoing commitment to putting you at the center of every decision we make.

Studies show that patients who are treated at an NCI-Designated Cancer Center like Stephenson can improve their long-term survival rates by up to 25%. That’s because of the extensive resources that are available. Your cancer care will be guided by a multidisciplinary team of healthcare providers. Experts in surgical oncology, medical oncology, radiation therapy and other disciplines sit down together to discuss your diagnosis and then collaborate to create a personalized treatment plan. These “tumor boards” meet weekly and give you the benefit of second, third and fourth opinions — all in one place.

Many of the treatments offered at Stephenson Cancer Center are not available anywhere else in Oklahoma. Stephenson is home to the state’s only CAR-T therapy, a leading treatment for blood cancers like lymphoma. In CAR-T, your own immune cells are genetically engineered so that they will recognize and attack cancer cells. Stephenson is also the only center in Oklahoma to offer a bone marrow transplant program. As a National Marrow Donor Program-designated transplant and donor collection center, Stephenson sources stem cells from peripheral blood, marrow and umbilical cord blood, from related or unrelated donors, to provide you with the greatest range of treatment options.

At Stephenson Cancer Center, you will find over 300 active clinical trials for all stages and types of cancer — more than any other center in Oklahoma. Stephenson also offers the only Phase I clinical trials in the state, giving you access to early-stage drugs that hold great potential for successfully treating cancer. When you participate in a clinical trial, you not only receive the highest standard of care available, but you are helping researchers shape the future of cancer care. One in five patients at Stephenson participates in a clinical trial.

For the entirety of your treatment at Stephenson, you will be guided through the process by a nurse navigator. These highly skilled nurses advocate for you and your family and serve as a liaison to the care team to address your needs. You will also find a wide range of supportive care services at Stephenson to help you with the various ways that cancer can affect you and your family. Resources such as emotional and mental health support, oncology nutrition services, physical and occupational therapy, pain management and more are available within Stephenson so that you don’t have to look elsewhere for support.

The treatments and care you receive at Stephenson are driven by research. Currently, scientists and physicians are engaged in more than 450 research projects, each aiming to advance our knowledge and discover improved ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. NCI designation is the gold standard for oncology research, placing The University of Oklahoma in an elite circle of oncology research. Each year, Stephenson researchers earn more than $65 million in funding from state and national sources.

Receiving treatment at Stephenson Cancer Center allows you to stay close to home and connected to the support and care of loved ones and friends. The team at Stephenson understands that is part of your healing journey as well. We are proud to be Oklahoma’s only NCI-Designated Cancer Center. NCI designation gives our skilled, compassionate care teams the most advanced treatments and technologies to care for all who need our services. Together, we will work toward eliminating the burden of cancer in our state.