Every year, US News & World Report lists the Top-Ranked Hospitals for Cancer treatment and research. This year, MD Anderson, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins and University of Washington ranked in the top five. And, while these and many of the other hospitals highly ranked are ideal for cancer treatment, the vast majority of patients receive all the necessary treatment within their local community. In fact, 85% of patients are treated in their community while only 15% are treated at major research centers. Most patients should still get the standard of care in their community.
Without a doubt, these highly ranked institutions are the top notch cancer centers. They are highly respected for both clinical and research experience. When diagnosed, most patients immediately want to go to the “best” places. However, I want to shed some light on who I think should definitely seek treatment at a major research center:
- Patients diagnosed with a very rare type of cancer
- Patients diagnosed with a cancer that requires an extensive surgery to be “cured”
- Patients diagnosed with a common cancer but have already had the first and second lines of treatment
- Patients whose doctors have not treated their type of cancer in years
- Patients who want to enroll in clinical trials
- Patients who want a second opinion from the “expert” and go back to their home town to get the recommended treatment
Regardless of location, every patient should see a board-certified medical oncologist familiar with their specific cancer.