The Stephenson Cancer Center offers patients diagnosed with lung cancer, malignant pleural mesothelioma, and all other types of cancer supportive and compassionate care combined with a comprehensive, personalized, and holistic approach. The center offers patients significant opportunities to participate in NCI-sponsored clinical trials, and leads all cancer centers in the nation for the number of people participating in these important studies.
All of the Stephenson Cancer Center’s services are centralized to provide the greatest possible convenience and ease for patients. In addition to oncology care delivered by a multidisciplinary team, the center offers pharmacy services, supportive care, and a wide range of amenities.
Facts about the Stephenson Cancer Center
The Stephenson Cancer Center is the largest and most comprehensive oncology practice in Oklahoma. It is the state’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center.
The center ranks first among all cancer centers in the country for the number of people participating in NCI-sponsored clinical trials.
The cancer research programs at Stephenson Cancer Center support 135 investigators studying basic, clinical, and behavioral sciences related to cancer care.
The Stephenson Cancer Center is an integral part of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, which has been integral to the delivery of health care for residents of the state since the beginning of the 20th Century when the College of Medicine was founded as a two-year pre-clinical school. By 1910 it had merged with another Oklahoma medical college and become a four-year degree-granting school, and in 1911 it opened a two-year School of Nursing.
Over the years, the state-owned hospital affiliated with the university added a children’s hospital, a College of Pharmacy, a School of Dentistry, and the School of Health, which later was divided into the College of Allied Health and the College of Public Health.
In 2001, the Oklahoma State Legislature approved a bipartisan bill that called upon the university to create a comprehensive cancer center to provide leadership in cancer treatment, research, and outreach. In 2010, Tulsa residents Charles and Peggy Stephenson provided $12 million, capping a $50 million private fundraising campaign, and in 2011, the Peggy and Charles Stephenson Cancer Center opened as the state’s only comprehensive academic cancer center. Since then, more than $400 million has been committed to the support and ongoing development of the center.
Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer Care at Stephenson Cancer Center
Stephenson Cancer Center offers comprehensive care for patients diagnosed with lung cancer as well as chest wall tumors; diaphragmatic tumors; esophageal cancer; gastric cancers; mediastinal tumors; metastatic cancer of the lungs, chest wall, and mediastinum; pericardial tumors; and pleural tumors including malignant pleural mesothelioma. Their personalized approach offers treatment based on the individual patient’s goals as well as the stage of their disease and the location of their tumors.
Treatments available at Stephenson Cancer Center include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapies, and specialized surgical procedures to remove the tumor or part of the lung as needed. The center’s surgical offerings include minimally invasive and robotic-assisted surgeries that allow for shorter hospital stays, lower risk of infections or complications, less bleeding and scarring, and reduced need for pain medications.
There are more than 140 scientist members of the Stephenson Cancer Center whose research supports understanding of the basic, clinical, behavioral, and population science aspects of cancer. In 2023 that team conducted more than 400 cancer projects supported by $65 million in annual extramural grant funding, including $37 million per year from the National Institutes of Health.
Research at Stephenson Cancer Center is organized into three distinct programs: Cancer Biology, Cancer Therapeutics, and Cancer Prevention and Control. The center conducts both early- and late-phase clinical trial research, with nearly one in five patients treated at the center participating in clinical trials. The Stephenson is a Lead Academic Participating Site in the NCI’s National Clinical Trials Network, and each year it ranks among the top cancer centers for the number of patients participating in clinical trials the center’s Oklahoma TSET Phase I Program offers its patients access to the newest investigational therapies.
Notable Staff and Mesothelioma Specialists
The multidisciplinary mesothelioma and lung cancer care team at Stephenson Cancer Center works collaboratively to create individualized treatment plans tailored to each patient’s specific needs. Led by thoracic cancer surgeon Dr. J. Matthew Reinersman, the team also boasts thoracic surgeon Dr. Jess Schwartz, and medical oncologist Dr. Raid Aljumaily. In addition to the surgeons and oncologists, the team includes pathologists and radiologists. Patients are supported throughout their journey by a nurse navigator dedicated to acting as a personal advocate, and other care services including genetic counseling, nutritional therapy, support groups, palliative care, and symptom and pain management.
The caring physicians and researchers at the Stephenson Cancer Center strive to ease the burden of lung cancer and malignant pleural mesothelioma, providing compassionate, cutting-edge care.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.