Monday, January 14, 2019

Comprehensive Cancer Centers, Gerson on Authenticity and Religion 101

Comprehensive Cancer Centers

I see advertisements on TV all of the time for Cancer Treatment Centers of America.  I also note that many hospitals which treat cancer and engage in cancer-related research call themselves “comprehensive cancer centers.”  That’s quite a mouthful, but a meaningful one. The difference between a “cancer center” and a “comprehensive cancer center” is defined in the following quote from the National Institutes of Health / National Cancer Institute website, which lists 14 ‘Clinical” Cancer Centers, 49 Comprehensive Cancer Centers and 7 Basic Laboratory Cancer Centers, all of which have satisfied its high standards.

“Most of the NCI-Designated Cancer Centers are affiliated with university medical centers, although several are freestanding centers that engage only in cancer research. The NCI-Designated Cancer Centers are recognized for their scientific leadership, resources, and the depth and breadth of their research in basic, clinical, and/or population science. Comprehensive Cancer Centers demonstrate an added depth and breadth of research, as well as substantial transdisciplinary research that bridges these scientific areas. Basic Laboratory Cancer Centers conduct only laboratory research and do not provide patient treatment.”

Any hospital can call its cancer treatment facility anything it wants, including calling it a “comprehensive cancer center.”  The only really meaningful use of that designation, however, is if it is given to the institution by the National Cancer Institute, a part of the government-run National Institutes of Health.  The NIH website goes on to point out that NCI-designated Cancer Centers “are characterized by scientific excellence and the capability to integrate a diversity of research approaches to focus on the problem of cancer. They play a vital role in advancing towards our goal of reducing morbidity and mortality from cancer.”

At present, 63 institutions treating patients appear on the National Cancer Institute’s list of cancer centers meeting these criteria.  Of these, 49 are “comprehensive cancer centers” while 14 are considered “clinical cancer centers.”

Just because a “cancer center” runs ads on TV or declares itself to be a “comprehensive cancer center,” doesn’t make it a member of this elite group of institutions.  A listing of these 63 “cancer centers” follows. (This is not to say that excellent cancer treatment is not available elsewhere nor that other institutions are not engaged in important research. These are, however, the places our government feels are the ones which meet the rigid criteria it has established.)  It is a good list to study in making health care decision if you ever find yourself in that position. 

Comprehensive Cancer Centers
·         Alabama (1): UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham
·         Arizona (1): The University of Arizona Cancer Center at the University of Arizona (Tucson)
·         California (8):
·         City of Hope National Medical Center (Duarte) (independent)
·         Stanford Cancer Institute (Stanford, CA)[6]
·         Colorado (1): University of Colorado Cancer Center at the University of Colorado (Aurora)
·         Connecticut (1): Yale Cancer Center at Yale University School of Medicine (New Haven)
·         District of Columbia (1): Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University (Washington)
·         Florida (1): Moffitt Cancer Center at the University of South Florida (Tampa)
·         Georgia (1): Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University (Atlanta)
·         Illinois (2):
·         Iowa (1): Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at University of Iowa (Iowa City)
·         Maryland (2):
·         University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center (Baltimore)
·         Massachusetts (1): Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (Boston)
·         Michigan (2):
·         Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute (Detroit)
·         Minnesota (2):
·         Mayo Clinic Cancer Center (Rochester) (independent)
·         Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis)
·         Missouri (1): Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine (St. Louis)
·         New Hampshire (1): Norris Cotton Cancer Center of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (Lebanon)
·         New Jersey (1): Cancer Institute of New Jersey at Rutgers (New Brunswick)
·         New Mexico (1): University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of New Mexico (Albuquerque)
·         New York (3):
·         Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (New York) (independent)
·         Roswell Park Cancer Institute (Buffalo) (independent)
·         North Carolina (3):
·         Wake Forest Comprehensive Cancer Center of Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem)
·         Duke Cancer Institute at Duke University (Durham)
·         Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at UNC (Chapel Hill)
·         Ohio (2):
·         Oklahoma (1): Stephenson Cancer Center at University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (Oklahoma City)
·         Oregon (1): Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University (Portland)
·         Pennsylvania (3):
·         Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)
·         Fox Chase Cancer Center (Philadelphia) (independent)
·         Tennessee (2):
·         Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center at Vanderbilt University (Nashville)
·         St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (Memphis) (independent)
·         Texas (3):
·         Dan L Duncan Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine (Houston)
·         The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston) (independent)
·         Utah (1): Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah (Salt Lake City)
·         Washington (1): Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Seattle)
Clinical Cancer Centers
·         Hawaii (1): University of Hawaii Cancer Center (Honolulu)
·         Indiana (1): Indiana University Cancer Center (Indianapolis)
·         Kansas (1): University of Kansas Cancer Center (Kansas City)
·         Kentucky (1): Markey Cancer Center at the University of Kentucky (Lexington)
·         New York (3):
·         Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center at New York University (formerly the NYU Cancer Institute) (New York)
·         Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai Health System (New York)
·         Pennsylvania (1): Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital (Philadelphia)
·         South Carolina (1): Medical University of South Carolina's Hollings Cancer Center
·         Virginia (2):
·         Massey Cancer Center of Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond)
·         University of Virginia Cancer Center (Charlottesville)

Keep in mind that an even more refined list is provided by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network with which only 28 institutions are affiliated.  All of these are, of course, included in the preceding listing.  These institutions are:

Note for South Floridians:  Unfortunately for people who live in Southeast Florida, none of the above listings include institutions in their immediate area, the nearest being the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa and the Mayo Clinic’s Jacksonville satellite facility.  

There is, however, excellent cancer treatment available in Southeast Florida at the University of Miami’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, Baptist Hospital’s Miami Cancer Institute which is developing a relationship with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, Mt. Sinai Hospital’s Comprehensive Cancer Center (Miami Beach), the Michael and Diane Bienes Cancer Center at Holy Cross Hospital (Ft. Lauderdale), Boca Raton Regional Hospital’s Lynn Cancer Institute and the Comprehensive Cancer Center at JFK Hospital (Lake Worth). It should be noted that the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center has several satellite facilities in both Dade and Broward Counties and that Bethesda Hospital and Boca Raton Regional Hospital in Palm Beach County have become affiliated with Miami’s Baptist Hospital system, potentially giving them access to the Miami Cancer Institute.  

Inevitably, with the passage of time, several of these excellent more local institutions will eventually appear in the above listings.
Jack Lippman

Religion 101

The Blog's previous posting included a piece entited "Religion 201."  It dealt with how religion can give "meaning to life."  Really, a prerequisite for "Religion 201" was "Religion 101."  For those who have not taken that course, here it is:  

Some years ago, I was seated in Boca Raton’s massive Spanish River Church for a concert.  The gentleman in the next seat, noting the large cross behind the stage, commented to me, “this is a Catholic church, isn’t it.”  “No,” I replied.  “It’s a Protestant church, probably Baptist.”  He looked at me and answered, “Don’t know the difference.”  And then the concert started. 

Afterwards, sensing that this represented a possible gap in a some of my neighbors’ knowledge, I wrote a piece for our community magazine, explaining the historic differences between the principal religions practiced in this country today.  Here is a rewrite of that article, the original version of "Religion 101" being unavailable.

One God:  Most of us, who identify with a religion, believe in one God as opposed to having faith in many idols, as did the ancient Romans. Although some give credit for belief in one God to the Egyptian pharaoh Iknaton, we usually trace it back to the ancient Hebrews’ eventual religion, Judaism.  That is as good a point of departure as any to explain religion in the United States today.

Judaism:  Today’s Judaism can be divided into several categories.  Orthodox Judaism is closest to the traditional form of Judaism while Conservative and Reform Judaism are Nineteenth century adaptations of it, geared more closely to today’s society’s needs and are relatively uncommon outside of the United States.  Hasidic Judaism is a version of Orthodoxy which follows the teachings of particular rabbis.

Roman Catholicism:  Christianity arose as a sect of Judaism, believing Jesus to be the Son of God, and ultimately identifying God as a “Trinity” encompassing the Father, the Son and after the Crucifixion and Resurrection, the Holy Ghost.  With the conversion of Rome to Christianity in the Fourth century, Christianity grew to become far more widespread than the Judaism in which it was rooted.  Thus began the Roman Catholic Church, which still exists today.  There are Catholics who have split off from that Church, the prime example being the Greek Orthodox Church.

Protestantism:  In the Sixteenth century, some Christians “protested” certain policies of the Papacy, which led by the Pope, headed the Roman Catholic Church.  These “Protestants” remained Christians but with no allegiance to the Roman Catholic Church.  There were many Protestant “denominations,” most of which still exist in the United States.  These include Lutherans, Anglicans and Episcopalians (both ritually close to Roman Catholicism, but minus the Papacy), Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, Congregationalists and many inter-denominational groups.

Islam:  In the Sixth century world consisting of Christians, Jews, pagans and non-believers, Mohammed arose as a Prophet espousing a new religion, based on revelations in the Koran and drawing upon Judaism and Christianity.  This was known as Islam, its adherents being referred to as Muslims.  After Mohammed’s death, Islam split into two branches, Sunni Islam and Shia Islam, which exist today.

There you have it.  Religious belief in the United States is shared by Jews, Christians and Muslims, in their many variations and mutations as outlined above.  And of course, there are other religions, including Native American beliefs and even Satanism. To some “non-believers,” even “Atheism” takes on a form close to a belief.  
Most importantly, our Constitution specifically states that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”  Even though our currency does state “In God We Trust,” it is left to individuals to define “God” as they wish, or even to deny His, Her or Its existence.


Authenticity, Virtue, Ethics, Aristotle and Jean-Jacques Rousseau



All are touched upon in a recent column by the Washington Post’s Michael Gerson.  But it’s not about philosophy, although it starts out there.  It really is about much, much more and should be read by all Americans alive in 2019.  Please note that nowadays, many Americans whose hearts are beating and whose lungs are pumping are not otherwise alive in 2019, brain-wise. But if you are, check out the article BY CLICKING RIGHT HERE.


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