Mesothelioma Cancer Centers
University of Alabama Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center
Some regard the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Comprehensive Cancer Center as a beacon for cancer treatment in the Deep South. The center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center within a six-state area that includes Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, South Carolina and Georgia. The UAB’s center treats approximately 5,000 new patients each year.
The UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center was one of the first eight cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute in 1971; today there are 41 such centers, but the UAB remains the only one in the Deep South. The center aims to eliminate cancer as a major public health problem, and according to its mission, “works every day to provide the highest quality of life for people diagnosed with cancer, while advancing the world’s understanding of cancer and translating this knowledge into prevention, detection, treatment and survivorship.”
The UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center’s cutting-edge discoveries, leading treatment options and compassionate patient care have earned it a reputation in the United States and internationally; its cancer services have been ranked among the top 25 in the country by U.S. News & World Reports. And its reach is growing: The center is part of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), an alliance of 21 leading cancer centers that work together to improve care for cancer patients. It is also the leader of the UAB Cancer Care Network, a network of hospitals across Alabama, Florida and Georgia that helps deliver top-notch cancer care across those southern states.
Many exciting advances have come out of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center in recent years. Researchers at the Birmingham facility have successfully identified a genetic link between obesity and colon cancer; reversed health disparities by expanding breast cancer screening to under-served populations in the Deep South; and discovered a series of biomarkers that can help determine if a patient is at risk for colorectal cancer. UAB researchers have also been responsible for advances in chemotherapy, surgery, radiotherapy, immunotherapy and nutrition.
Mesothelioma Treatment at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center
The UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center practices what is known as “comprehensive cancer treatment.” That means patients are treated not just by one doctor, but by a team of highly specialized professionals who work together to determine the best course of action for each patient. In fact, patients entering the cancer center can expect to visit with three hand-picked specialists the first time they enter the hospital; some will even be able to discuss their cancer treatment plan by the end of that day.
As many mesothelioma patients know, diagnosis of the disease can be challenging. This is largely because its symptoms – such as chest pain, cough and fatigue – are so similar to other diseases and because, with just 3,000 new cases diagnosed each year, the disease is quite rare. Therefore, it is extremely important to choose a doctor and treatment center that is experienced in treating the disease.
At the UAB, mesothelioma patients are often treated at the Lung Health Center, a center that focuses on diagnosis, treatment, research and innovations related to lung diseases, such as pleural mesothelioma. For many mesothelioma patients, treatment will consist of a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Other patients may decide to take part in a clinical trial, in which they will be treated by new treatments not yet available to the general public. Whichever choice the patient makes, the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center offers a wide range of treatment options, experts and the latest technologies. More than 330 physicians and researchers call UAB their home, many of whom have received awards for their work.
Author: Linda Molinari
Editor in Chief, Mesothelioma Cancer AllianceRead about Linda
Reviewer: Annette Charlevois
Patient Support CoordinatorRead about Annette
UAB Comprehensive Cancer Program – History and Overview
UAB Comprehensive Cancer Program – Mission & Vision
UAB Lung Health Center
UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center – About Us (Video)