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    Updated: 01/13/2009
Guide for Executive and Legislative Transition Teams

Welcome to the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The NCI Web site,, includes significant information about cancer and the research being done at the Institute. This guide has been prepared to assist leaders during this time of transition to readily find information related to NCI, the nation's premier federal agency responsible for cancer research.

NCI Mission

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) coordinates the National Cancer Program, which conducts and supports research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs with respect to the cause, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of cancer, rehabilitation from cancer, and the continuing care of cancer patients and the families of cancer patients.

  • Get a high-level view of the NCI, the federal government's principal agency for cancer research and training, by reading our full mission statement >>

  • Learn more about the NCI and its programs, its funding for cancer research, and the progress made against cancer with this concise NCI fact sheet >>

Value of Cancer Research

Investment in cancer research not only provides new approaches to prevent, detect, and treat cancer for the more than 1 million people diagnosed each year; it also provides pivotal insights into other diseases. Important breakthroughs in the treatment of diabetes, heart disease, HIV-AIDS, and Alzheimer's have come from the biological understanding we have gained from investments in cancer research. Read more in Science Serving People >>

  • Cancer provides a model for studying disease, for delivering care in the community, and for conducting clinical research.  Learn more about how cancer provides an important platform for biomedical research.

  • Cancer treatment accounted for just under 5 percent of total U.S. spending for medical treatment in 2004. Learn more about the economic burden of cancer (definition) and detailed estimates of and determinants of The Cost of Cancer Care.

  • In 2007, there were almost 12 million cancer survivors in the US.  See the impact of our research investments on the increasing number of survivors since 1971.

  • Collaborations across public and private sectors play an important role in cancer research.  An example of NCI's role in facilitating collaborations between academia and industry is the development of harmonized contract clauses for clinical research.

  • In the early 1990s, the rate of cancer deaths per 100,000 Americans began a slow, steady decline that appears to be accelerating, despite the fact that our population is aging. Gain an understanding of the remarkable advances made against cancer and the nation's Investment in Cancer Research.

  • Approximately 85 percent of the NCI budget provides support to researchers in academic institutions across the country.  See the work of the NCI in these institutions in this state by state table.

Budget, Planning, and Legislative Activities

NCI plays a unique leadership role in bringing together public, private and academic stakeholders across disciplines to hasten the pace of scientific progress and dramatically alter the impact of cancer.  NCI invests in an extensive strategic program to facilitate cancer research and associated activities, and regularly reports on this important stewardship and breakthrough opportunities.

NCI Program Highlights

Today's progress against cancer is the result of enhanced prevention strategies, along with earlier detection and better treatment - all made possible by years of dedicated research.  Read about several of NCI's programs that serve as a catalyst for progress. 

  • Our newly acquired understanding of cancer is leading to the ability to design precise therapies to hone in on specific targets.  Learn more about specific, targeted therapies and the dawn of an age of personalized medicine in the NCI Cancer Bulletin Special Issue.

  • The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has launched the caBIG™ (cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid™) initiative to speed research discoveries and improve patient outcomes by linking researchers, physicians, and patients throughout the cancer community.

  • The National Cancer Institute (NCI) plays an important role in promoting global health and in building international research collaborations and cooperation with nations around the world. Gain a broader understanding of NCI's role in the NCI International Portfolio.

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