Top-Tier Cancer Care


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A view of renowned artist Dale Chihuly’s blown-glass sculpture that is on display at the entrance of the Simmons Cancer Center.

“Cancer care at the highest level. Anywhere.” It’s a bold statement about UT Southwestern’s cancer-fighting capabilities, but it’s one that’s backed by an objective measure.

In July, UT Southwestern’s Harold C. Simmons Cancer Center received the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI’s) comprehensive designation, joining an elite group of just 45 centers across the country with that distinction, putting it among the nation’s top-tier cancer centers.

Simmons Cancer Center is the first and only facility in North Texas to receive comprehensive status, and it joins MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston as the second NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center in the UT System.

It’s a distinction that doesn’t come easily. To achieve NCI comprehensive designation, Simmons Cancer Center had to:

  • Demonstrate depth and breadth in laboratory research, clinical research, and population-based research
  • Demonstrate strength in transdisciplinary research that bridges scientific fields
  • Serve not only the regional area, but the broader population through cancer research
  • Integrate training and education of biomedical researchers and health care professionals


“The differentiating benefit of comprehensive cancer centers is that we combine quality care with research and technology that advance the treatment and prevention of cancer,” says James Willson, M.D., Director of Simmons Cancer Center. “We’re dedicated to improving results in how to manage disease, so we’re up-to-date on the latest findings and armed with information on what works, as well as the latest options for cancer treatment.”

Dr. Willson notes that new and improved therapies developed at NCI cancer centers, such as Simmons Cancer Center, have helped significantly increase the number of cancer survivors and greatly enhanced patients’ quality of life. “That’s an important, lifesaving difference you won’t find just anywhere,” he says. He adds, “The number of people living beyond a cancer diagnosis has increased over the past decade to approximately 70 percent, and the quality of life after treatment is important in determining where a patient should seek care or be referred for care. An NCI-designated cancer center is where you want cancer care to begin and end.”

Integrated Care

Simmons Cancer Center includes more than 200 members from over 30 departments and offers more than a dozen major cancer care programs focused on treating the whole patient with innovative therapies. Integration of these elements is a critical component in distinguishing cancer centers, as is having cancer caregivers interacting with and in the same environment as researchers who are developing the advanced treatments and technologies.

“The importance and potential impact of this interaction are often overlooked,” Dr. Willson says. “When you’re seeking a place to refer a patient for care, consider the research component of the center.”

'Trusted partner'

“Our team of cancer physicians, researchers, and oncology-trained support staff is a trusted partner in managing your patients’ care,” says Simmons Cancer Center Director Dr. James Willson. Simmons Cancer Center offers these cancer care programs, all of which are available for referrals:

Simmons Cancer Center locations