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What is the Karmanos Cancer Institute and what do you do? Why should I be treated there?

Based in midtown Detroit, Karmanos is one of 41 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. We are proud that it is the preferred hospital for cancer care in southeast Michigan, according to the 2007 and 2008 Cancer Treatment Preference Profile Survey, conducted by the National Research Corporation.

Caring for nearly 6,000 new patients annually on a budget of $216 million, conducting more than 700 cancer-specific scientific investigation programs and clinical trials, the Karmanos Cancer Center is among the nation’s best cancer centers. Through the commitment of 1,000 staff, including 300 faculty members, and supported by thousands of volunteer and financial donors, Karmanos strives to prevent, detect and eradicate all forms of cancer.

Karmanos is an integrated system of cancer research, patient care, and education. Its strength comes from its ability to incorporate all of these special areas into an integrated approach to diagnosis and treatment for all types of cancer.

I've been diagnosed with cancer. Where should I go for a second opinion?

It is not unusual to request a second opinion when a diagnosis of cancer occurs. At the Karmanos Cancer Institute, you may be seen by a multispecialty team of doctors. This team consists of surgeons, medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, pathologists, hematologists, radiologists, pathologists, specially-trained nurses, social workers, and chaplain workers.

The team is committed to providing the highest quality and most current treatments available to the patient, while also addressing emotional and quality of life issues. Teams meet weekly with patients and families. They are focused on the following disease sites and treatments:

Bone Marrow Transplantation 
Breast Cancers
Developmental Therapeutics (Phase I clinical trials)
Gastrointestinal Cancers
Genitourinary Cancers
Gynecologic Cancers
Head and Neck Cancers
Hematologic – Malignant Conditions
Neurologic Cancers
Pediatric Cancers
Skin Cancers
Thoracic Cancers

What is being done in the way of research, finding newer and better treatments, as well as ways of preventing cancer?

Karmanos conducts more than 300 clinical trials — studies which evaluate better means of prevention, treatment and quality of life for healthy individuals and cancer patients. Examples of these studies and other novel therapies include:

Cryotherapy for liver cancer (using liquid nitrogen to freeze tumor cells as an alternative or supplement to conventional surgery);
Gamma radiation and immunotherapy for brain tumors;
Genetic and nutritional counseling for high-risk families;
Photodynamic therapy using lasers to activate drugs absorbed only by cancer cells and inducing their destruction with less effect on normal cells;
Lymphedema management to reduce the swelling that occurs after surgery;

Where can I go for screening, diagnostic, and second opinion for breast cancer?

Karmanos offers many diagnostic tests at its main campus. At the Karmanos Walt Comprehensive Breast Center, patients receive the latest breast cancer tests and diagnostic procedures from the leading experts in the disease in one day under one roof.

Do I need a physician referral?

Anyone with a diagnosis of cancer can make an appointment at the Karmanos Cancer Institute him or herself. You do not need to be referred by a physician (unless required by your insurance company). Please call 1-800-KARMANOS (1-800-527-6266). However, it is important to keep your physicians apprised of your care. You will be asked to bring information on prior treatments and test results to help our physicians and health care teams plan the best course of therapy. (See "What to Bring" under Patient Care section.)

Where can cancer patients go for help with supplies?

The Karmanos Cancer Institute can provide or help patients identify available resources, such as supplies or services, throughout the metropolitan Detroit area. Call 1-800-KARMANOS (1-800-527-6266) for more information.

What educational programs are available at Karmanos Cancer Institute?

In addition to training the next generation of medical students through Wayne State University, Karmanos offers many community education programs throughout the metropolitan area. Experienced speakers educate the public on everything from the hazards of tobacco, to breast and prostate cancers. Patient education — on everything from chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery and their side effects to psychosocial support, genetic assessments and quality of life issues — is a priority of Karmanos.

Do you offer support groups?

Yes, Karmanos hosts support groups and programs for patients and family members, including teenagers and children. They are conveniently located throughout the metropolitan Detroit area.

Does the Karmanos Cancer Institute offer hospice care?

Yes. Karmanos Cancer Institute’s hospice program is an interdisciplinary program that provides support and care for terminally-ill persons and their families by addressing their physical, social, emotional and spiritual concerns. Hospice seeks to empower patients to carry on an alert, pain-free life and manage other symptoms, so their final months may be spent with dignity and quality at home or in a homelike environment.

I have so many questions about cancer and my diagnosis. How can I get more information to make wise decisions regarding my treatment?

This is a commonly-asked question when patients are in the process of being diagnosed for cancer, looking for treatment options, or seeking a second opinion.

The Cancer Information Service (1-800-4-CANCER) is a program supported by the National Cancer Institute. This program provides patients and their families access to certified information specialists who have the latest information regarding treatment, diagnosis , supportive care, and clinical trials that is available through PDQ (Physicians Data Query), National Cancer Institute's treatment database. It includes the latest information from peer-reviewed, scientific studies on the diagnosis and treatment for all types of cancer. The Cancer Information Service is available to take calls from patients, families and public from 9:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. EST.

If I were interested in participating in research being conducted at Karmanos could I have my doctor call?

Yes, your physician plays the most important part in helping you decide which course of treatment is best for you as well as clinical trials for which you might be eligible.

© 2014 Karmanos Cancer Institute Pencil
The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center is accredited by The Joint Commission.
If members of the public have any quality-of-care or safety concerns, they may notify The Joint Commission at 630-792-5800.