Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment | UNM Cancer Center

Comprehensive Care

NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers must serve the people in their communities. And they must go through the rigorous re-certification process every five years. The highest quality care means the right treatments in the right order to give you the best chance for overcoming your cancer. It means access to clinical trials which use the latest scientific research. And it means combining all parts of your care and support seamlessly. We are NCI-designated for Comprehensive Cancer Care.

National Cancer Institute designated Comprehensive cancer centers must deliver the highest quality integrated cancer diagnosis and cancer care.

National Cancer Institute Comprehensive badge

Welcome

Giving New Mexicans the world-class cancer care they deserve. A heartfelt message from our director and CEO, Cheryl Willman, MD.

Read More

Diagnosis

Radiology

Our Radiology team is specialty-trained in cancer imaging. They work closely with the cancer care teams to develop treatment plans. They take part in clinic consultations when needed. Our team offers comprehensive diagnostic imaging, including:

  • multi-detector x-ray computed tomography (CT)
  • positron emission tomography (PET)
  • PET with diagnostic contrast enhanced CT
  • 3.0 Tesla Magnetic Resonance Imaging (3.0 T MRI)

Pathology

Pathologists measure tissue samples in many ways to arrive at a cancer diagnosis. Our team performs genetic and genomic analyses, too. Their work helps your cancer team link you with the right drugs and treatments. 

Microscope Graphic
Pathologists use many different kinds of microscopes, stains, techniques and computer software to look for cancer traits in cells.

Treatment

Your treatment plan may include all or some of the choices below. Your team will work together to design a plan that will give you the best chance to overcome your cancer. They will take your preferences and wishes into account and will adjust your plan if needed as you go through treatment.

All of our doctors are fellowship trained. It is the highest training a doctor can receive.

Doctor and Residents Image

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses drugs to cure cancer, slow its growth, keep it from spreading or relieve some of the symptoms it causes. The drugs your team prescribes will depend on your cancer and your care plan.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses beams of high energy radiation to kill cancer cells. The radiation beams travel through the body along different paths, but all the paths go through the tumor, giving the tumor cells a higher radiation dose. Our team uses many different methods to get the most radiation to the tumor, while getting the least radiation that they can to normal tissues.

Nurse taking temperature Image

Cancer Surgery

Your care team may suggest cancer surgery to remove part of the tumor to test it. They may suggest surgery to remove the tumor completely. You may choose to have reconstructive surgery after your cancer surgery.

Bone Marrow Transplant

The Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant program offers autologous stem cell transplants, most often for people with lymphoma and myeloma. These transplants allow you to get chemotherapy treatment that would otherwise be harmful to your bone marrow.

Theranostics

Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy (PRRT) is a new tool in our cancer-fighting arsenal that can quickly deliver effective treatment for cancers that can be difficult to diagnose or treat.

Stethoscope GraphicInPatient Team

If you need hospital care during your treatment, your doctor will admit you to the UNM Hospital, where a UNM Cancer Center Hematology or Medical Oncology attending physician will supervise your care. Our in-patient team works closely with your doctor at the UNM Cancer Center outpatient clinic to provide seamless care.

Cancer Genetic Assessment

Some cancers run in families. To learn if your cancer runs in your family, your care team may suggest a cancer genetic assessment. If cancer runs in your family, your team may adjust your treatment to deal with your cancer.

Cancer Survivorship Program

Cancer has physical, mental, emotional, social and financial effects that don't go away once your treatment has ended. At the UNM Cancer Center, we developed our Survivorship program to get you back to the things you love. 

Hospital Graphic
The UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center is the ONLY facility in New Mexico offering chemotherapy, radiation therapy, cancer surgery, genetic cancer assessment, clinical trials, supportive care, and a pharmacy together under one roof.

Research

Our NCI Comprehensive designation means we are at the forefront of turning the most promising scientific advances into treatment for people with cancer.

Research Lab Image

Basic and Translational Research

Our 102 researchers and physician scientists work with New Mexico’s national laboratories and universities around the region, nation and world to break new ground in understanding and combating cancer. These discoveries benefit New Mexicans.

Cancer research at the UNM Cancer Center is organized into three programs. Each program works with our Clinical Research Office to translate discoveries in basic science into cancer treatments.

Clinical Research

Clinical research helps to create new standards in cancer care, which help to bring life-saving discoveries to everyone. Clinical trials carefully and completely test new treatments in people. Early phase clinical trials test new treatments in people for the first time. Later phases test how well the treatment compares to existing standards of care.

The UNM Cancer Center offers clinical trials to everyone in New Mexico through the New Mexico Cancer Care Alliance. And, every patient at UNM Cancer Center may elect to join the Total Cancer Care protocol to donate their tissues and possibly be matched to clinical trials.