Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Inc.

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Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Inc.

1336 Basswood Road
Schaumburg, Illinois 60173-4544
Telephone: (847) 342-7400
Toll Free: (800) 931-9299
Web site:

Private Company
Founded: 1988
Employees: 1,500
Operating Revenues: $250 million (2006 est.)
NAIC: 622310 Specialty (Except Psychiatric and Substance Abuse) Hospitals; 621112 Offices of Physicians, Mental Health Specialists

Founded by Richard J. Stephenson, who lost his mother Mary Brown Stephenson to the disease in 1982, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Inc. (CTCA), is a network of treatment centers in Illinois, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Seattle. What makes CTCA different is how it has chosen to treat cancer. Rather than adopting strictly conventional methods, it instead focuses on the patient, using the entire mind, body, and spirit, along with various treatments, to conquer cancers of all types. Stephenson opened his first treatment facility, the Midwestern Regional Medical Center in Zion, Illinois, in 1988, and has plans for several more throughout the United States.


The founding of Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Inc., came from grief and loss. Mary Brown Stephenson was diagnosed with lung cancer in the 1970s. Once she came to terms with her affliction, she and son Richard J. Stephenson began researching treatment options. Both were disillusioned to find few treatment courses available other than surgery and rounds of debilitating chemotherapy and/or radiation. There was little in the way of experimental or holistic therapy, and nothing combining alternative care with traditional treatment options.

Unfortunately, Mary lost her battle in 1982. Richard vowed to change the course of cancer treatment, to help victims and families find new methods of treatment, and to educate them in ways to successfully fight the deadly disease. Stephenson decided to build a state-of-the-art medical center dedicated to cancer treatment and populated with the country's top oncologists. He did not stop with physical remedies, however, but sought out additional therapies related to diet, exercise, spirituality, and the connection between physiological and psychological well-being.

The result was what became Cancer Treatment Centers of America's flagship, a hospital on Elisha Avenue in the northern Illinois city of Zion. The five-story facility opened in 1988 with a capacity of 95 rooms for in- and outpatient cancer care. The Zion hospital was meant to change the way everyonepatients, family members, and healthcare professionalsregarded and treated cancer. As CTCA's web site proclaimed, "From the beginning, we pioneered a new approach to cancer care with our exclusive focus on aggressive, integrated, and individualized cancer treatment." Stephenson's creed and the guiding force for CTCA was the aptly named "Mother Standard," promising cancer patients the kind of care associated with the warmth and tenderness of a mother's love. The Mother Standard and its level of comprehensive cancer care became known throughout the Midwest, enough for the phrase to become a registered trademark.


Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Inc., made treatment all about the patient, not about the cancer. In treating a patient as a whole person, Stephenson and his cadre of professionals covered all aspects of living with the disease and tailored treatment to the individual. Respect, empowerment, and compassion were paramount, as were such treatments as aromatherapy, detoxification, hydrotherapy, massage, naturopathy, spiritual care, acupuncture, nutrition, and even "humor" therapy. All of these care methods were very unorthodox at the time, but they produced results, and word spread.

As more people heard about CTCA and its success, Stephenson was already considering expansion. A second medical center was opened in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the only cancer care facility of its kind in the region. These two cancer care facilities were to serve as the cornerstone of what Stephenson hoped would be an entire network of U.S.-based treatment centers. The next step, however, was an unusual one: the opening of the Cancer Resource Center in December 1997. The center itself was not unique, but its location was: a shopping mall. Following the lead of other companies looking to disseminate information to the masses, the Cancer Resource Center occupied a storefront in a huge outlet mall called Gurnee Mills, in Gurnee, Illinois, not far from CTCA's flagship (renamed Midwestern Regional Medical Center). The Cancer Resource Center's purpose was to give everyone the opportunity to find articles and brochures about cancer and treatment options.

As Midwestern Regional Medical Center CEO Roger Cary told the Chicago Tribune (January 5, 1997), "Instead of searching from place to place and in medical libraries," those seeking information can find what they need "in surroundings that are comfortable." At the Resource Center's grand opening, cancer survivors Ted Kennedy, Jr., and Jeff Blatnik (an Olympic gold medalist in wrestling) spoke to several hundred people about their battles with cancer.

In 1998 the Mary Brown Stephenson Radiation Oncology Center was built in Zion, near CTCA's hospital. The new one-story facility was designed to provide additional outpatient rooms and to house cutting-edge radiation and rehabilitation suites.


In early 2000 CTCA's Midwestern Regional Medical Center was touched by a tragedy with no relation to cancer. A small private plane carrying Chicago radio personality Bob Collins collided with another plane and the wreckage landed on the roof. Collins and two others died in the crash. Though the medical center's roof was damaged, none of CTCA's patients was injured.


Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) is the home of integrative and compassionate cancer care. We never stop searching for and providing powerful and innovative therapies to heal the whole person, improve quality of life and restore hope. In short, CTCA is committed to helping people overcome cancer. The best way we know how is by listening to our patients. By empowering and encouraging each patient to be part of the recovery process, we can better understand and serve patients' needs. With this mission, we have assembled high-quality professionals in oncology, tumor biology, immunology, and other specialties who believe in the team approach. They not only search for new ways to conquer the disease, but listen and understand the individual concerns of every patient they treat. Patients deserve the right to have options. CTCA provides these options from a wide array of therapies. These include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, biological response modifier concepts, and many support therapies such as psychological, nutritional and spiritual counseling, and mind-body medicine.

As repairs commenced on the hospital, CTCA announced an expansion plan in November to be completed within the next three years. First up was a new parking lot, opening in May, followed by plans for a $4.5 million addition to the Mary Brown Stephenson Radiation Oncology Center. Three additional floors or 30,000 square feet were to be added to the center, bringing outpatient capacity to 39 "stations" or suites, up from its previous 18. When completed, the center and nearby hospital would comfortably treat as many as 3,300 patients each month, with a staff of about 800 to serve its in- and outpatient needs.

In 2003, when Tenet Healthcare Corporation closed its 200-bed Parkview Hospital in Philadelphia's Juniata Park, CTCA entered negotiations to buy the building and establish an East Coast treatment facility. Although Philadelphia was already home to a number of cancer care centers, including four associated with the National Cancer Institute, CTCA believed spending an estimated $40 million to renovate Parkview was a sound business decision. John McNeil, tapped by CTCA to run the East Coast center, explained the company's simple rationale to the Philadelphia Daily News (June 28, 2005): "We came to Philadelphia because our patients asked us to."

Since most East Coast residents flew to Illinois for treatment, the Philadelphia location was much closer. It was also in line with CTCA's aggressive long-range plans to operate a number of treatment centers within 300 miles of 85 percent of Americans. Company officials were also looking for locations in the southern and western regions of the United States, to add to CTCA's treatment centers in Illinois and Oklahoma, as well as an outpatient facility in Seattle, Washington.

As Parkview was rebuilt throughout 2004 for a grand opening late the following year, CTCA's Southwestern Regional Medical Center in Tulsa was honored by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons as a recipient of its 2004 Outstanding Achievement Award. The award recognized the consistency and excellence of CTCA's cancer programs. The Midwestern Regional Medical Center was also recognized in 2004, by the independent, nonprofit Joint Commissions on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations for the quality and safety of the facility's healthcare providers. The Zion-based facility earned a perfect score from the organization.

In early 2005 CTCA extended its empire further, only in cyberspace. A new web site devoted solely to the spiritual needs of its patients was launched, called "Our Journey of Hope" ( Designed for patients and their families, the site provided a wealth of spiritual information and support including articles and devotionals, testimonials, and even sermons and training for pastors and ministers. In addition, the site served as a forum for cancer patients and survivors to interact with one another, and had links to trained counselors available by telephone or via email, offering support 24 hours a day.


By 2006 CTCA's Philadelphia treatment center was open and the 130,000-square-foot facility had been christened as the Eastern Regional Medical Center. The three-story medical center specialized in all types of adult, late-stage cancer and offered its patients comprehensive mind, body, and spiritual care. Change had come to CTCA's Tulsa, Oklahoma, facility as well, the new Southwestern Regional Medical Center had reopened a few months before its Philadelphia counterpart, with a new building and state-of-the-art equipment and treatment rooms.

On the West Coast, CTCA planned to open a second facility to complement its Seattle Cancer Treatment & Wellness Center. The Wellness Center was operated on an outpatient basis, and CTCA explored options to open a full-service inpatient treatment center nearby, similar to its setup in Zion. Demand for CTCA's unique treatment strategies continued to climb in 2006 and 2007, as cancer patients sought its alternative mind and body approach to care.


Richard J. Stephenson builds a cancer treatment hospital in Zion, Illinois.
The Cancer Resource Center is opened in the Gurnee Mills mall in northern Illinois.
The Mary Brown Stephenson Radiation Oncology Center opens in Zion.
The Midwestern Regional Medical Center is renovated and expanded.
CTCA's Tulsa and Zion facilities each earn prestigious awards for their cancer programs.
A new treatment facility in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, opens.
CTCA continues to scout new locations for its cancer center network.

As CTCA's treatment gained acclaim and notice, so did the company's logo. It too was a beacon of hope: the healthy, thriving tree with a small boy and an adult represented the Cancer Survivors Arboretum, where trees were planted for every patient who survived five years after coming to a CTCA treatment center. As CTCA's web site described it, "There is no more fitting symbol to commemorate all the battles won and all the lives improved. The tree, the boy, and his companion speak of the optimism of youth, of new beginnings, soaring spirits, years of love and laughter and loyal friends, and the joy of looking forward to life once again. We have already planted hundreds. Our goal is to plant a forest."

By 2007 CTCA had four treatment centers, several more in development, and offered care for more than 31 different kinds of cancer. Its success was widely recognized and its popular treatment centers were accredited and approved by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), the United States' leading accrediting body in healthcare. Additionally, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Inc., was also accredited and certified by the American College of Surgeons, the College of American Pathology, and the American College of Radiology.

Nelson Rhodes


Cancer Resource Center; Cancer Treatment Research Foundation, Inc.; Midwestern Regional Medical Center; Eastern Regional Medical Center; Southwestern Regional Medical Center; Seattle Cancer Treatment & Wellness Center.


Arlington Cancer Center; Bethesda Regional Cancer Treatment Center; Cancer Treatment Holdings, Inc.; National Cancer Institute; Roswell Park Cancer Institute.


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Hinkleman, Michael, "For-Profit Cancer Treatment Center Opens in Philadelphia," Philadelphia Daily News, June 28, 2005.

Jacobs, Jodie, "Shopping for a Lifesaver," Chicago Tribune, January 5, 1997, p. 3.

Japsen, Bruce, "Illinois Probes Cancer Treatment Centers' Billing," Chicago Tribune, May 15, 2003, p. 1.

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