Instituto de Cancerología began to function during the post-Revolutionary era in Mexico
with a modest medical dispensary denominated “Dr. Ulises Valdez”, which was located at Calle
Chopo 131 in Mexico City, now the
Hospital de la Mujer (Women’s Hospital). The population cared for at this
hospital became the main supplier of oncologic patients in the Gynecology area.
Within a few years, this dispensary was insufficient for attending to the demands of women and men with cancer. Thus, the need arose for its transformation into an institution specializing in the care and treatment of this disease. It was in this manner that, on November 25, 1946, during the Presidency of General Manuel Ávila-Camacho and by Presidential Decree, that the Instituto Nacional de Cancerología (the National Cancer Institute) was born, transforming itself into and fulfilling the demand for an Out-patient Consultory, Laboratory, X-rays, and Pathology, among others.
On December 30, 1950, the then-President Lic. Miguel Alemán-Valdez decreed the Ley del Instituto Nacional de Cancerología (Law of the National Cancer Institute) designated Dr. Conrado Zuckerman as the Institute’s Director, and extended its area of care by means of the acquisition of the adjoining house, in which radiotherapy equipment and beds for brachytherapy application with radium for patients with cervico-uterine carcinoma were installed.
In 1963, Dr. Enrique Barajas-Vallejo was named Director, and during this same year, the Institute was transferred to the former Oncology Pavilion of the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS, Mexican Institute of Social Security) at Calle Niños Héroes 151 in the Doctores colony of Mexico City. municipality.
In 1972, the Institute’s Directorship was assumed by the eminent Radio-oncologist , Dr. José Noriega-Limón. Under his direction, the Divisions of Surgery, Radiotherapy, and Internal Medicine were created. Dr. Noriega-Limón implemented teaching programs with university recognition of the Clinical Oncology and Radiotherapy specialty.
In 1979, the General Medical Subdirection was created and the reorganization began of Out-patient Consultation, Nursing, Social Work, and the Administrative System.
In 1980, the National Cancer Institute of (INCan) moved its installations to those that it occupies at present, Av. San Fernando No. 22 in the Tlalpan Delegation of the Mexican capital city. From that time, importance was placed on the newly developed areas of Basic and Clinical Research. With regard to equipment, the Institute placed among the best oncologic units in the country, because by then it had acquired the cobalt bomb, the linear accelerator, Computer axial tomography (CAT scan), nuclear medicine, and a clinical laboratory, among other services.
In 1982, Dr Arturo Beltrán-Ortega assumed the Directorship of the Institute. During his term, the Centro Oncológico del Estado de Guerrero (the Oncologic Center of the State of Guerrero) was founded as a sister institution of the Instituto Nacional de Cancerología. During these years, the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit was constructed. In 1986, the General Subdirection of Research and Teaching was created. Thanks to the latter, educative programs for more than 10 Oncology-area medical specialties were developed.
On August 16, 1993, Dr. Jaime G. de la Garza-Salazár assumed General Directorship of the INCan. With this, an unprecedented impetus was achieved in the development of cutting-edge technology in research and in academic formation. At this time, the Institute grew 100% in installations, and witnessed the replacement of the totality of its high-tech equipment. In addition, the National Program for the Prevention and Control of Cervico-uterine Cancer was initiated.
For the 2003–2008 period, Dr. Alejandro Mohar-Betancourt assumed the Institute’s Directorship and drove the creation of the electronic record that functions today at 100%, and investment in medical equipment was 500%, more than during the previous 10 years. At present, the INCan is the best equipped oncologic center of Latin America and of several European countries.
Thanks to intense effort presented to the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM, The National Autonomous University of Mexico), the Human Resources Directorate of the Mexican Health Secretariat (SSA) was able to increase, by more than 100%, the number of Medical Residents in all specialties.
The INCan possesses a trust for the enlargement of its installations.
The Institute has achieved international recognition for its participation with institutions such as the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the International Union Against Cancer (UICC), the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (UTMDACC), and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the U.S. The INCan is the coordinator of 25 State Cancer Centers (CEC) in Mexico, thus offering a unique possibility for designing common programs and strategies for better cancer control of a national character, and for achieving an impact at the national level on improving cancer prevention and early detection, reducing the morbi-morbility of cancer in Mexico.
A Centro de Información (INFOCANCER) was established for patients with cancer, their relatives, and for the public in general. Its objective is to provide simple and accessible information to the general public on cancer.
Dr. Alejandro Mohar-Betancourt was re-elected as INCan Director for the 2008–2013 period. His objectives are to achieve advances in the conditions of services, which will continue to be offered at the Institute and to incorporate into oncologic practice new knowledge of tumor biology for improving control of the different clinical manifestations of cancer.
To comply with this goal, the INCan coordinates the development of the National Program of Control of Cancer (PNCC), which includes five central themes:
1. Prevention and early detection of cancer.
2. Oncological guides for the 10 most frequent neoplasms in Mexico.
3. Palliative care.
4. Medical infrastructure and Medical services administration.
5. Control of tobacco consumption.
All this is possible thanks to the work of our physicians, nurses, administrative personnel, the Patronato, the Grupo de Damas Voluntarias (the Ladies Volunteer Group), el Grupo Reto, A.C. (the Reto Group), and the Asociación Mexicana de Lucha Contra el Cáncer (AMLCC, the Mexican Association of the Fight Against Cancer).
Instituto Nacional de Cancerología
Address: Calle San Fernando 22, Col. Sección XVI, Delegación Tlalpan, ZIP Code: 14080
Phone: 5628-0400/5655-1055 Fax: 5573-4651