A Message from the Director

Dr. Joann Sweasy, Director, and Nancy C. and Craig M. Berge Endowed Chair of the University of Arizona Cancer Center

The University of Arizona Cancer Center has a storied history of medical breakthroughs against cancer. Despite tremendous advances in diagnosis and personalized treatments, cancer remains a formidable foe.

Appointed the Center’s fifth director in 2020, I was immediately tasked with guiding us through the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve been extremely impressed by the dedication our basic, population, and clinician scientists have shown that has allowed us to continue serving cancer patients with cutting-edge cancer care, research and treatment.

That first year flew by. Of note, we launched the Arizona Clinical Trials Network, which will allow us to reach people that may otherwise not have access to care. We also are so thankful for Ginny Clements’ incredibly generous gift, which is going to transform breast cancer research and clinical care through the Ginny L. Clements Breast Cancer Research Institute.

People often ask me what it means to be to a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. It means that our center is here to serve the community. Patients experience better outcomes when treated at NCI-designated cancer centers. We work in multidisciplinary teams to make sure that the research we do and the care we provide meets the needs of our communities and provide them with the best cancer care available.

For example, as part of our strategic planning process, our Community Outreach and Engagement identified five priority cancers of greatest concern for our catchment, including gastrointestinal (GI) cancer, genitourinary (GU) cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer and melanoma. We are now working to become preeminent leaders in these areas. We are also committed to increasing diversity and training the next generation of cancer researchers.

I am excited to build on the Cancer Center’s legacy, strengthening our high-impact science areas, such as our work in the tumor microenvironment, and in our five priority cancers. My vision is for us to be the preeminent NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in the Southwest and beyond, moving the needle on cancer prevention, treatment and survivorship.


The mission of the University of Arizona Cancer Center is to alleviate the burden of cancer, particularly in Hispanics and Native Americans, in our catchment area, through transdisciplinary discoveries and translation, compassionate care, and training of individuals who will help erase inequities through science, engagement, respect, and conviction.

Vision Statement

The University of Arizona Cancer Center’s vision is to become a regional resource and national model for overcoming cancer risks, improving treatments, training talented scientists and providers, and engaging communities through a shared determination to discover, innovate, and remove social inequities.

The University of Arizona Cancer Center:

  • is one of 54 comprehensive cancer centers in the nation
  • is the only one with headquarters in and serving the entire state of Arizona
  • has been designated by the National Cancer Institute as a Comprehensive Cancer Center, the NCI’s highest designation. This designation is reserved for centers focusing on patient care as well as basic and clinical research, prevention, education, outreach and training.

The Cancer Center is a leader in research on breast, prostate and gastrointestinal cancers (colon, pancreas and liver). The University of Arizona Cancer Center is also home to one of the largest cancer prevention and control programs among the nation’s comprehensive cancer centers, with leading prevention and survivorship research in breast, colon, lung, prostate and skin cancers.

With primary locations in Tucson – at the University of Arizona, the Cancer Center has more than a dozen research and education offices in Phoenix and throughout the state.

Banner - University Medicine is the University of Arizona Cancer Center’s clinical affiliate in Tucson. Banner - University Medical Center Tucson operates two outpatient clinics. Radiation oncology and surgery services are performed here. Our patients are treated in multidisciplinary clinics by teams of physicians and health care professionals who are experts in their specialties. Our cross-discipline approach means our patients get the best treatment possible.

The Cancer Center’s more than 70 research labs and more than 150 nationally and internationally renowned physician and scientist members work to bring the power of research to cancer prevention and treatment through a direct link between the latest research discoveries and patient care.