In 2007, the German Cancer Aid (DKH) established the “Oncology Centers of Excellence“ funding program, which aims to continuously improve cancer medicine in Germany. The Oncology Center of Excellence (Comprehensive Cancer Center) is the first stage of a comprehensive three-stage program that was initiated by the DKH in cooperation with the German Cancer Society (DKG).
NCT Heidelberg – Oncology Center of Excellence
In a second stage, the DKG certifies “Oncological Centers” and in a third stage “Organ Cancer Centers”. The entire certification system and the implementation of audits are managed by the independent institute “OnkoZert” on behalf of the DKG.
These structures create a comprehensive network of oncological care, that contributes to the nationwide treatment of cancer patients according to uniform quality standards.
Orientation and safety for patients
The certification system can support patients to find a suitable medical center for their condition. The centers differ according to institutions, specialization and networks:
- Oncology Center of Excellence that are comprehensively qualified and also conduct cancer research.
- Oncological Centers that specialize in different types of tumors and specialist areas.
- Organ Cancer Centers that specialize in a type of tumor.
Networked and interdisciplinary cooperation
The DKH currently supports 13 Oncology Centers of Excellence in Germany. They must demonstrate outstanding and innovative patient care, accompanied by excellent clinical, translational and basic research and are regularly reviewed by an international evaluation panel. In 2018, the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Heidelberg was certified as Oncology Center of Excellence for the third time. Thereby networked and interdisciplinary collaboration between many departments on the Heidelberg campus and with numerous regional partners and physicians is of great importance.
In 2017, the guidelines for certification as an Oncology Center of Excellence changed. Since then, medical centers must first be certified as an Oncological Center. This certificate was awarded to NCT Heidelberg in summer 2018. There are a total of 130 Oncological Centers in Germany. Each of them must meet strict standards and quality criteria for the clinical care of adults and children diagnosed with cancer. These quality standards are set by the DKG.
At NCT Heidelberg are currently five certified Organ Cancer Centers, which specialize in skin, breast, lung, colorectal and gynecological tumors. The certificate confirms compliance with high quality requirements and the intensive interdisciplinary and multi-professional cooperation of the participating disciplines.