Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

Facts and figures

National Cancer Institute designation

VCU Massey Cancer Center was designated by the National Cancer Institute in 1975, and Massey has retained that prestige ever since. Of the 1,500 cancer centers in the U.S., only 68 have earned an NCI designation, placing Massey in the top 4 percent nationwide. This designation makes us eligible for federal funding, information-sharing and resources reserved for the most elite institutions that demonstrate superior research capabilities. We are one of only two centers in the state and the only one in the Richmond region with this designation. Learn more


VCU Massey Cancer Center is a non-profit organization part of Virginia Commonwealth University, one of the nation’s top research universities, and VCU Medical Center, a leading academic health system ranked Virginia’s top hospital by U.S. News & World Report in 2012 and 2013.


Massey scientists and physicians collaborate to conduct laboratory, translational, clinical and population sciences research to discover new and better ways to prevent, diagnose, treat and control cancer. Nearly 180 of our researchers are faculty from 36 VCU academic departments, six schools and one college.

Research programs

Our researchers conduct basic science (laboratory), translational, clinical and population sciences research designed to lead to novel approaches for preventing, detecting, treating and controlling cancer. They collaborate on research in five key programs:

  • Cancer Cell Signaling – identifying key signaling pathways that contribute to cancer
  • Cancer Molecular Genetics – investigating genetic and epigenetic changes that underlie the molecular and cellular events contributing to cancer development and progression, and using this information to develop new target-based therapies for cancer
  • Cancer Prevention and Control – developing basic and applied research programs in behavioral, social and population sciences to create or enhance interventions that reduce cancer risk, incidence, morbidity and mortality, and enhance quality of life
  • Developmental Therapeutics – exploring cancer therapeutics, identifying molecular targets, assessing the molecular genetic profiles of tumors and translating these findings into the development of novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of cancer
  • Radiation Biology and Oncology – examining effects of radiation on tumor cells at the molecular level to determine radioresistance and how to optimally deliver radiation to more effectively treat cancer

Learn more

Cancer specialties

Massey treats all kinds of cancer and specializes in:

  • breast cancer
  • lung and respiratory cancer 
  • prostate and other urologic cancers 
  • hematologic malignancies (lymphomas, leukemias and multiple myeloma) 
  • colorectal and other gastrointestinal cancers (stomach, esophagus, liver, pancreas)
  • ear, nose, throat, head and neck cancers 
  • cancers of the brain and nervous system 
  • gynecologic cancers
  • pediatric cancers 

Massey earned Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s prestigious Blue Distinction for Complex and Rare Cancers, which include acute leukemia, primary brain cancer, esophageal cancer, gastric cancer, head and neck cancers, liver cancer and pancreatic cancer.

Annual treatment volume

  • 15,080 patients
  • 17,960 chemotherapy treatments
  • 15,770 radiation treatments 
  • 2,600 surgerical procedures
  • 190 bone marrow transplants

(approximate; 2014)


Part of the nationally recognized VCU Medical Center rated the number one hospital in Virginia (U.S. News & World Report 2012 & 2013), Massey consists of more than 450 clinicians who specialize in various types of cancer. Our oncology care was ranked first in Virginia in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and high-performing nationally in 2012 by U.S. News & World Report's publication of America's Best Hospitals, and many of our physicians are consistently voted Best Doctors in America® by Best Doctors Inc., America's Top doctors by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. and Top Docs by Richmond Magazine

Multidisciplinary care

Cancer care generally requires multiple forms of therapy and various specialized doctors. At Massey, cancer specialists collaborate in multidisciplinary teams to offer one-stop consultations and highly coordinated, unified care. The teams work together to guide each patient through every stage of care. Massey pioneered the region’s multidisciplinary approach to cancer care, which combines the expertise of many doctors. This approach ensures that patients who need several different therapies will receive the ideal combination and sequence of treatment and that their treatment experience is as cohesive, efficient and as stress-free as possible. Learn more

Clinical trials

Massey offers 100-150 clinical trials and research studies, many of which are not available at community hospitals. These studies offer cutting-edge treatments, medical devices and prevention methods for more than 20 cancer types.

Our clinical research staff works with other NCI centers and national cooperative groups to develop and oversee clinical trials, ensuring patient health and safety and scientific rigor.

Massey expands access to its clinical trials through a statewide clinical trials network. This network enables health systems and oncology medical practices throughout the Commonwealth to access Massey’s excellence in research and its expertise in developing and managing clinical trials. Network affiliates are located in Fredericksburg, Lynchburg, Petersburg, Richmond, South Hill and Winchester. Learn more

Bone marrow transplantation

The Bone Marrow Transplant Program at Massey is the largest, most comprehensive BMT provider in Virginia, allowing patients to receive any available transplant source and option without being referred elsewhere. It is also one of a select group of BMT programs across the nation to become a Blue Distinction Center, in recognition of Massey's depth of experience and good patient outcomes. Massey is the only BMT provider in the Richmond region, and Massey is the only BMT provider in the state for children with cancer. Learn more

Palliative care

Massey is a leader in providing palliative care for people with chronic illnesses, winning the prestigious Circle of Life award from the American Hospital Association. One of only eight exemplary sites in the U.S. offering National Palliative Care Leadership training, Massey trains clinicians and administrators at hundreds of other institutions on developing and delivering this important form of care. Learn more

Care for all

As part of a “safety net” hospital, Massey is committed to caring for all Virginians regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. At least 30 percent of Massey's patients are minorities and Massey is designated as a Minority/Underserved NCI Community Oncology Research Program institution to lead a statewide clinical trials network that fosters access to cancer research for minority and medically underserved patients. We are also conducting NCI-funded studies aimed at reducing cancer incidence and mortality among minorities.


Massey serves as a vital resource for education, offering academic programs and training for students, cancer researchers and oncology health care professionals as well as health outreach programs for cancer patients, caregivers and the community.