The O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham is the only NCI-designated comprehensive cancer in the state of Alabama. Operating with the goal of providing the highest quality of life for people diagnosed with cancer, the facility offers treatment for patients diagnosed with both pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma, taking a multidisciplinary approach that includes chemotherapy, surgery, radiotherapy, immunotherapy, and nutrition. The facility has been recognized for its work in translational research and for providing patients with novel therapies that offer promising outcomes.
Facts about O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center
O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center is one of the original NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers, and the only one in Alabama or the four-state region. It has been continuously funded by the National Cancer Institute for fifty years and operates with the goal of achieving “Life Without Cancer” through research, patient care, philanthropy, education and training, and outreach and engagement.
The facility has been recognized as among the nation’s best for lung cancer surgery by U.S. News & World Report and is committed to providing access to care to every patient with cancer in Alabama through its Office of Community Outreach and Engagement and the UAB Health System Cancer Community Network, which partners with local and regional community hospitals to bring high-level cancer care closer to home, including the ability to enroll in clinical trials.
The facility treats approximately 20,000 patients each year, including an estimated 5,000 new cancer cases diagnosed and treated each year.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham began as the Medical College of Alabama in Mobile in 1859. In 1936 the school opened its Birmingham Extension Center, and in 1045 the Medical College moved to Birmingham and opened the University Medical Center. In 1954 the Extension Center moved to a newly constructed facility adjacent to the Medical Center, combining the two academic components. In 1969, UAB became an independent institution and the Medical College of Alabama became known as the University of Alabama School of Medicine.
The O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center opened in 1971, and over the years it has added additional centers, including the Institute for Cancer Outcomes and Survivorship and the Lung Health Center, where pleural mesothelioma patients can seek state-of-the-art, multidisciplinary treatment.
Mesothelioma Treatment at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham
Among the key program areas at the Lung Health Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center is its lung cancer program. The interdisciplinary team uses the most advanced surgical, imaging, and treatment techniques to treat patients with lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma, and provides access to clinical trials investigating new treatment protocols and targeted therapies. The center also offers state-of-the-art screening capabilities and equipment, dedicated cancer navigators to help mesothelioma patients through their cancer journey, and supportive care and survivorship programs.
Additionally, UAB’s Division of Surgical Oncology is the only hospital in Alabama to offer targeted heated chemotherapy for patients diagnosed with stage 4 malignant pleural mesothelioma as part of a two-step surgery. Patients treated under the HIPEC program will undergo cytoreductive surgery to remove all visible tumor material, followed by heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy.
The O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center has been recognized for its achievements in translational cancer research, including drug development and bringing new therapies to patients as quickly and safely as possible. Among the facility’s recent discoveries were the first-in-human trials using novel cancer imaging agents to facilitate the assessment of tumor responses to immunotherapy.
Physicians/scientists at the O’Neal Cancer Center are currently conducting more than 200 cancer-related clinical trials, and the Phase I Clinical Trials Program is the only one of its kind in the state that provides cancer patients for whom conventional therapy is no longer an option the opportunity to enroll in programs seeking novel cancer treatments and outcomes.
Notable Staff and Mesothelioma Specialists
There are many dedicated and notable physicians at O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham providing care for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma and malignant peritoneal mesothelioma.
Dr. Hitesh Batra is the director of the Interventional Pulmonology and Pleural Disease Program. In his role, he oversees a range of interventional pulmonary procedures for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma, including flexible/rigid bronchoscopy, navigational and robotic bronchoscopy, tumor ablation, airway stenting, and thoracoscopy.
Dr. James Donahue is the section chief of thoracic surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. His specialty includes lung cancer surgery, chest wall surgery, and surgery for malignant pleural mesothelioma.
As the only NCI-designated comprehensive cancer in Alabama or its surrounding four-state region, the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham provides much-needed multidisciplinary care for patients diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma as well as those with malignant peritoneal mesothelioma.Get Your FREE Mesothelioma Packet
Written by Terri Oppenheimer
Terri Oppenheimer has been writing about mesothelioma and asbestos topics for over ten years. She has a degree in English from the College of William and Mary. Terri’s experience as the head writer of our Mesothelioma.net news blog gives her a wealth of knowledge which she brings to all Mesothelioma.net articles she authors.
Page Edited by Patient Advocate Dave Foster
Dave has been a mesothelioma Patient Advocate for over 10 years. He consistently attends all major national and international mesothelioma meetings. In doing so, he is able to stay on top of the latest treatments, clinical trials, and research results. He also personally meets with mesothelioma patients and their families and connects them with the best medical specialists and legal representatives available.