Survival rates—how many people diagnosed in year X are still alive five years later—are where the rubber meets the road in cancer treatment. The CU Cancer Center has some of the highest five-year cancer survival rates of any center in the Rocky Mountain region, especially for late-stage cancers. In fact, our stage 4 lung cancer one-year survival rates are double the national average.
Why are our survival rates better? Because our doctors work in multidisciplinary teams, specialize in certain areas of cancer, test tumors for gene problems that can be targeted with new therapies, offer more cancer clinical trials of cutting-edge treatments, work in advanced facilities and are part of a federally designated cancer center.
Read more about cancer outcomes at University of Colorado Hospital.
Cancer is usually treated using several kinds of therapies:
- medical treatments, such as chemotherapy and targeted therapies
- radiation therapy
While most cancer programs have each of these medical disciplines, few have all of them working on the same team, specializing in YOUR cancer type - such as breast, lung and colorectal. At the University of Colorado Cancer Center, we take a team approach to your cancer care. This means everyone on the team is not only an expert on standard care, but also on the intricacies that make each type of cancer different.
Your treatment plan will be created by a team of medical, surgical and radiation oncologists using information that has been analyzed by cancer-specific pathologists, radiologists and other diagnostic experts. And, the team will discuss your progress at weekly tumor board meetings to make sure your treatment is on track.
Does your cancer doctor treat all types of cancer, or just your type of cancer? CU Cancer Center physicians specialize in a narrow area of cancer—breast, prostate, lung, colorectal and GI, head and neck, blood cancers, brain cancers and melanoma, for example—so they become super-experts in your illness.
In medicine, the more you do, the better you are. Our breast cancer team, for example, consists of physicians, surgeons, pathologists, radiation doctors and others who only treat patients with breast cancer. That means they have deeper and broader knowledge about breast cancer than a general cancer physician, and they have seen a greater number of more complicated cases. More experience leads to better outcomes.
And when treatment is complete, we have several options to help you transition back to primary care and live as a survivor. Learn about our cancer survivor clinics.
Today, we know that every type of cancer is caused by specific problems with the genes and proteins that regulate the activity of your cells. That knowledge is leading to advanced, targeted, personalized therapies for the exact gene problem that is driving a tumor.
But in order to target those problems, you first need to know what the problems are. The CU Cancer Center is a world leader in developing and delivering the intricate, leading-edge tests that can help your cancer doctor find the most targeted treatment for you.
Centers across the country send patient samples to our Colorado Molecular Correlates Laboratory to identify gene markers for treatment. Even if you are not a patient here, your cancer physician can send your tumor for testing.
On average, the CU Cancer Center offers about 1,000 cancer clinical trials to patients at hospitals around Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region—most if not all of the protocols offered at the big-name cancer centers in Texas and on the East Coast.
Our renowned Phase I Clinical Trials Clinic brings first-in-human treatments to cancer patients who have run out of other options—sometimes leading to that therapy moving through the clinical trials program to be approved as a new cancer treatment.
Unlike other centers that offer only pharmaceutical company-sponsored trials, we also have trials that have come from the laboratories of our scientists.
Through the Colorado State University Animal Cancer Center, our members also offer hundreds of cancer clinical trials for companion animals with cancer. It is considered among the world’s best veterinary cancer centers.
See a complete list of our clinical trials for people on the University of Colorado Hospital's website and for pets on the CSU Animal Cancer Center's website.
The CU Cancer Center’s premier care partners University of Colorado Hospital and Children’s Hospital Colorado operate on the Anschutz Medical Campus, one of the newest and most advanced medical campuses in the world. And our veterinary cancer partner, Colorado State University Animal Cancer Center, is housed in state-of-the-art facilities in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Only 40 centers in the United States have been designated “comprehensive cancer centers” by the federal government’s National Cancer Institute. The designation comes after a center has met incredibly rigorous criteria, and it comes with a five-year, multi-million-dollar research grant.
Why is this designation important? Because it means that your cancer doctors are not only delivering state-of-the-science care, they are also backed by hundreds of scientists throughout Colorado who are doing hands-on research to find better tests and treatments, and better ways to prevent and control this disease.
Comprehensive cancer center designation is the most elite recognition in the United States. Centers with this federal designation are national leaders in all areas of cancer research—basic laboratory research, clinical research and prevention and control research.
And the University of Colorado Cancer Center is the only place in Colorado that holds this designation.