Houston Home to First VA Cancer Center

Pointing to thousands of colo-rectal cancer deaths in America every year, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has established the first VA Colorectal Cancer in the country at the Michael Debakey VA Hospital in Houston.

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The American Cancer Society says colo-rectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, and nearly 57 thousand Americans will die of it this year. VA Hospital Chief of Surgical Oncology Dr. Daniel Albo says the new center was needed for two reasons: colorectal cancer is increasingly common in military veterans, and treating it is getting so complex.

Dr. Albo says the cancer center has surgeons and specialists from a wide range of disciplines providing timely evaluation, treatments and therapies. There's also a database of information on all the cancer patients the Houston VA hospital has treated in the past ten years, a large tissue sample database, large repositories of tissue and blood samples, and it's all under one roof.

Dr. Albo says the Houston center is drawing cancer patients from all over the southern United States, because Hurricane Katrina did so much damage to other VA medical centers in New Orleans and other points east on the Interstate Ten corridor.

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