Introducing Spring 2022 Breakthroughs


The front page of "BreakThroughs Magazine"

Looking to the Future of Cancer Care

When Congress declared the "war on cancer” in 1971, there were no mammograms, colonoscopies, or prostate specific antigen tests. Chemotherapy was in its early days, there were no minimally invasive surgeries, and radiation therapy was imprecise.

In 2022, as Duke Cancer Institute (DCI) begins celebrating 50 years of research, breakthrough treatments, and exceptional cancer care and support services, please join us in marveling at how far cancer prevention and care have come.

Duke was one of the first eight National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the United States, following the passage of the National Cancer Act of 1971, and it has maintained this NCI designation, uninterrupted, for 50 years.

This achievement is something that all of us at DCI are very proud of, and I hope that you — our donors and friends — share in this pride. Thank you for the role you play in helping us maintain this designation. We could not do it without you.

In fiscal year 2021, we took care of more cancer patients than at any other time in the history of Duke Health system — more than 66,000 patients. And we are now ranked as the No. 1 cancer program in the Carolinas and beyond by U.S. News & World Report.

Looking ahead to the next half century, we will continue to expand our transformative discoveries to lead in finding better ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer. And we are dedicated to making sure everyone has an equal opportunity to survive cancer by strengthening partnerships with the communities we serve and working to eliminate barriers to accessing care and meeting patient’s needs.

Kastan Signature
Michael B. Kastan, MD, PhD

Executive Director, Duke Cancer Institute

Professor of Pediatrics

William and Jane Shingleton Professor, Pharmacology and Cancer Biology
An illustration shows a spiral strand of DNA with people standing on it looking through telescopes
Illustration by Ken Orvidas

Looking to the Future of Cancer Care

As Duke celebrates its 50th anniversary of transforming cancer discovery and care, researchers and providers envision a future when all cancers are easily treatable, physicians can detect and stop cancer earlier and earlier, and everyone has the same opportunity to survive cancer.

Tomi Akinyemiju smiles with arms folded in front of a colorful mural
Tomi Akinyemiju, PhD. Photo by Ken Huth

Dissecting Disparities in Cancer Outcomes

As a bit of an outsider, Tomi Akinyemiju saw this aspect of culture and health as something to be examined and dissected.

A group of black peoples' hands stacked on top of each other

Building Trust to Beat Cancer

A program accelerated by donor support aims to reduce health disparity by increasing the number of men who receive screening, education, and follow-up care to find the disease earlier, when it’s more curable.

An Extra Birthday

Duke employee Jamie Cooper Moales thanks Duke for the gift of time with her late sister Sara.

Stacey Phipps hugs her 8-year-old daughter from behind
Stacey Phipps and her 8-year-old daughter, Kerry

50 Years of Hope

Stacey Phipps was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020. She chose Duke for her care because she felt like a person instead of just a patient.

Lasonia Barnett looks on as Nadia Aguilera-Funez hugs Vennice Roberts

The Path to Care

Duke patient navigators helped lead Vennice Roberts through her cancer diagnosis and treatment.

This page was reviewed on 06/29/2022