Cancer Centers

What is an NCI-Designated Cancer Center?

The NCI-designated cancer centers program recognizes centers around the country that meet rigorous criteria for world-class, state-of-the-art programs in multidisciplinary cancer research. These centers put significant resources into developing research programs, faculty, and facilities that will lead to better approaches to prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. The NCI designation not only recognizes excellence but opens doors to greater federal funding, information sharing, and resources.

NCI’s Office of Cancer Centers manages the Cancer Centers Program.

NCI-designated cancer centers are institutions dedicated to research in the development of more effective approaches to prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer.

Most of the 67 NCI-designated cancer centers are affiliated with university medical centers, while others are freestanding centers that engage only in cancer research. Their missions typically include:

  • Cancer research that spans laboratory science, clinical research, and population-based research. The research is usually conducted by teams drawn from different disciplines within an institution, and often includes collaboration between institutions.
  • Clinical programs that offer patients the latest forms of treatment for a wide range of cancers, as well as access to clinical trials of experimental treatments. (Seven of the cancer centers conduct research only; they do not treat patients.)
  • Training for scientists, physicians, surgeons, and other professionals seeking specialized training or board certification in cancer-related disciplines.
  • Public education and outreach about cancer prevention and screening, with special attention to the needs of underserved populations.

For a complete list of the National Cancer Institutes’ Comprehensive Cancer Center, click the map below.

Cancer Centers Map