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Facts and figures

National Cancer Institute designation

The signing of the landmark National Cancer Act in 1971 was instrumental in broadening the establishment of multiple new cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to conduct cancer research and training. Over the next four years, the federal government would pass new legislation that would expand this Cancer Centers Program across the country in order to “permit an estimated 80 percent of the U.S. population access within a reasonable driving distance” to one of these centers.

VCU Massey Cancer Center is proud to be your local NCI-designated cancer center. Massey is the only NCI-designated center in the Richmond region and one of just two in Virginia that helps lead and shape America's cancer research efforts. Of the 1,500 cancer centers in the U.S., only 71 have earned an NCI designation, placing Massey in the top 4 percent nationwide. This designation makes us eligible for federal funding, information-sharing and resources reserved for the most elite institutions that demonstrate superior research capabilities. Massey received a planning grant from the NCI in 1974 to establish a cancer center at VCU and was awarded NCI designation in 1975. We have retained that prestigious designation ever since. Learn more about what NCI designation means and the impact it has on our community.


VCU Massey Cancer Center is a non-profit organization part of Virginia Commonwealth University, one of the nation’s top research universities, and VCU Health, a leading academic health system that includes VCU Medical Center, recognized as the #1 hospital in Virginia by U.S. News & World Report (2012, 2013, 2015), VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill and multiple care centers across the state.


Massey scientists and physicians collaborate to conduct laboratory, translational, clinical and population sciences research to discover new and better ways to prevent, diagnose, treat and control cancer. Our 250-plus research members are faculty from 39 departments in 9 schools and colleges at VCU.

Research programs

Our researchers conduct basic science (laboratory), translational, clinical and population sciences research designed to lead to novel approaches for preventing, detecting, treating and controlling cancer. They collaborate on research in three key programs:

  • Cancer Biology – Unravel the mechanistic underpinnings of tumor pathogenesis and progression and to identify key interactions between tumors and their microenvironment that could shed light on the intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms accounting for cancer progression and resistance to therapy
  • Cancer Prevention and Control – developing basic and applied research programs in behavioral, social and population sciences to create or enhance interventions that reduce cancer risk, incidence, morbidity and mortality, and enhance quality of life
  • Developmental Therapeutics – exploring cancer therapeutics, identifying molecular targets, assessing the molecular genetic profiles of tumors and translating these findings into the development of novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of cancer

Learn more about research programs.

Cancer specialties

Massey treats all kinds of cancer and specializes in:

  • breast cancer
  • lung and respiratory cancer 
  • prostate and other urologic cancers 
  • hematologic malignancies (lymphomas, leukemias and multiple myeloma) 
  • colorectal and other gastrointestinal cancers (stomach, esophagus, liver, pancreas)
  • ear, nose, throat, head and neck cancers 
  • cancers of the brain and nervous system 
  • gynecologic cancers
  • pediatric cancers 

Massey earned Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s prestigious Blue Distinction for Complex and Rare Cancers, which include acute leukemia, primary brain cancer, esophageal cancer, gastric cancer, head and neck cancers, liver cancer and pancreatic cancer.

Annual treatment volume

  • 15,840 patients
  • 2,360 inpatient admissions
  • 25,380 chemotherapy treatments
  • 23,740 radiation treatments 
  • 2,940 surgical procedures
  • 129 bone marrow transplants
  • 19 CAR T-cell therapies

(approximate; as of calendar year 2020)


Our cancer care is provided through VCU Medical Center, ranked the #1 hospital in Virginia by U.S. News & World Report (2012, 2013, 2015). Massey consists of more than 500 clinicians who specialize in various types of cancer. Many of our physicians are consistently voted Best Doctors in America® by Best Doctors Inc., America's Top doctors by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. and Top Docs by Richmond Magazine.

Multidisciplinary care

Cancer care generally requires multiple forms of therapy and various specialized doctors. At Massey, cancer specialists collaborate in multidisciplinary teams to offer one-stop consultations and highly coordinated, unified care. The teams work together to guide each patient through every stage of care. Massey pioneered the region’s multidisciplinary approach to cancer care, which combines the expertise of many doctors. This approach ensures that patients who need several different therapies will receive the ideal combination and sequence of treatment and that their treatment experience is as cohesive, efficient and as stress-free as possible. Learn more about multidisciplinary care.

Clinical trials

Massey offers 200-plus clinical trials and research studies, many of which are not available at community hospitals. These studies offer cutting-edge treatments and medical devices for all cancer types as well as prevention methods for those without a cancer diagnosis.

Our clinical research staff works with other NCI centers and national cooperative groups to develop and oversee clinical trials, ensuring patient health and safety and scientific rigor.

Massey expands access to its clinical trials through a statewide clinical trials network. This network enables health systems and oncology medical practices throughout the Commonwealth to access Massey’s excellence in research and its expertise in developing and managing clinical trials. Network affiliates are located in Chesapeake, Fredericksburg, Gloucester, Lynchburg, Newport News, Onancock, Petersburg, Richmond, South Hill, Suffolk, Williamsburg and Winchester. Learn more about clinical trials.

Bone marrow transplantation

Massey is the largest, most comprehensive BMT provider in Virginia, allowing patients to receive any available transplant source and option without being referred elsewhere. It is also one of a select group of BMT programs across the nation to become a Blue Distinction Center, in recognition of Massey's depth of experience and good patient outcomes. Massey is the only BMT provider in the Richmond region, and Massey is the only BMT provider in the state for children with cancer. Learn more about bone marrow transplantation.

CAR T-cell therapy

The first in Virginia to offer FDA-approved CAR T-cell therapy, Massey is an official treatment center for Yescarta™ by Kite Pharma for adult patients with recurrent or refractory B-cell lymphoma. In partnership with Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, Massey offers KYMRIAH™ by Novartis for children and young adults with recurrent or refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Palliative care

Massey is a leader in providing palliative care for people with chronic illnesses, winning the prestigious Circle of Life award from the American Hospital Association. One of only eight exemplary sites in the U.S. offering National Palliative Care Leadership training, Massey trains clinicians and administrators at hundreds of other institutions on developing and delivering this important form of care. Learn more about palliative care.

Care for all

As part of a “safety net” hospital, Massey is committed to caring for all Virginians regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. At least 30 percent of Massey's patients are minorities and Massey is designated as a Minority/Underserved NCI Community Oncology Research Program institution to lead a statewide clinical trials network that fosters access to cancer research for minority and medically underserved patients. We are also conducting NCI-funded studies aimed at reducing cancer incidence and mortality among minorities and to provide equal access to quality cancer care and prevention. Massey is leading the nation in establishing a 21st-Century model of equity for cancer research and care, in which the community is informing and partnering with Massey on its research to best address the cancer burden and disparities of those the cancer center serves, with a local focus but global impact.


Massey serves as a vital resource for education, offering academic programs and training for students, cancer researchers and oncology health care professionals as well as health outreach programs for cancer patients, caregivers and the community.