• Cancer centers in the United States date back to the beginning of this century, although there were few until the late 1950s and 1960s. The National Cancer Act of 1971 introduced a new era in serving as a major stimulus to the development of comprehensive cancer centers. Research scientists and physicians in centers have contributed significantly to the new knowledge of normal and abnormal regulation of cell growth and differentiation and to the advances in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The future for cancer centers is very bright. They will continue to play a major role in the advancement of knowledge about cancer. However, centers must be reevaluated at intervals to correct any deficiencies and to stimulate new and innovative approaches. Surgical oncologists should become more involved in cancer center research. Comprehensive cancer centers should develop more effective regional cancer control and prevention programs. Reevaluation of centers by the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md, and its advisory body, the National Cancer Advisory Board, along with cancer center leaders, should result in a consensus concerning changes to enhance their contribution to a solution to the cancer problem.
(Arch Surg 1989;124:43-45)