California Cancer Centers & Programs

A cancer center or program is a place or group of locations with the capacity to provide a wide range of cancer care services across the cancer continuum. California’s cancer centers and programs vary by operational structure and certification program participation.

  • Some are physician-based practices with laboratory, infusion, and care coordination capacities; others are combinations of independent businesses (hospitals, laboratories, imaging centers, and physician groups) engaged in strategic partnerships.

  • Traditional academic and community-based cancer centers feature affiliated provider groups and participation in networked health systems.

  • Certification programs acknowledge a center’s delivery of high-quality cancer care, and established care delivery standards, and/or promote quality improvement (QI).

  • Some cancer centers hold tumor-specific or diagnostic/treatment-specific certification. In contrast, larger centers may specialize in treating a variety of cancers.

Consistent and effective collaboration with California’s cancer centers and programs can improve state-level cancer control because coordinated communication, programming, and dissemination of materials and best practices across the board will increase efficiency, extend reach, and enhance the delivery of culturally-and-linguistically-appropriate cancer control programming and care for the state’s large and diverse population.

Recommendations for institutional collaboration across the cancer continuum.

Prevention and education

Develop a statewide collaborative linking the work of community health educators, and using existing resources (e.g., NCI-NON).

Screening and early detection

Build a repository to hold cultural and linguistic adaptations of evidence-based materials for use with patients in clinical settings. Consider a centralized repository for county-level screening data.

Treatment and clinical trials

Leverage technology to increase efficient information sharing across centers and programs with inconsistent electronic health record and data reporting systems. Develop regional care teams and referral hubs including shared educators and navigators between centers/programs with overlapping catchment areas.


Expand and modify any developed statewide networks (e.g. for treatment and trials) to focus on survivorship, symptom management and support for families and caregivers.

Centers and programs with successful interventions should share best practices and metrics for evaluation across the network.

Working collectively across the continuum will position centers and programs to drive cancer care policy and advocacy, which is critical to ensure lasting and positive impact on the burden of cancer across the state.