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Message from the Director

in Chinese
in Japanese

大津 敦病院長写真

Recent progress in cancer treatment has been remarkable, and more than 60% of people diagnosed with cancer are cured. Currently, cancer treatment involves a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, drug therapy, and supportive care to reduce the burden on patients, and recently, precision cancer medicine, which selects appropriate treatment for each patient through genetic analysis of cancer tissues, has become mainstream. Psychiatric and social support and employment support are also very important to enable people to live normal daily lives after cancer treatment.

Since its opening in 1992, the National Cancer Center Hospital East has delivered new cancer care to patients as promptly as possible, serving its mission of providing world-class cancer treatment and developing new cancer care as the nation's flagship for cancer care and research. We now treat over 12,000 new cancer patients annually referred mainly by doctors from nearby medical institutions, but also from all over the nation. Since opening, we have vigorously driven minimally invasive and robotic surgery, new drug trials and proton therapy, and thanks to the support of all parties involved, outpatients and surgeries have doubled since the hospital became an Incorporated Administrative Agency in 2010. We have also expanded the Supportive Care Center and LIFE Support Center, which support patients' daily lives and social activities from various angles with a multidisciplinary team consisting of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, physical therapists, genetic counselors so that each patient's anxieties and concerns can be addressed and meticulously supported from the first visit. We also set up Hospitalization Preparation Center as well as Pharmacy Outpatient Services and Oncology Outpatient Nursing Consultations so that we can provide inpatient and outpatient anticancer drug treatment in a relaxing environment. In July 2022, a hotel was opened on the hospital premises to serve patients coming from distant parts of the country and overseas, as well as patients receiving outpatient treatment, and a new medical monitoring care system was established, linked to the hospital using IT equipment. We have also launched a system in which laparoscopic surgery video-images are shared in real time on monitors by high-speed remote communication with Tsuruoka Municipal Shonai Hospital in Yamagata Prefecture, with which we established a telemedicine collaboration arrangement, and an AI surgery navigation system developed by our hospital is introduced for operations performed at the hospital, with our hospital surgeons sharing the images on screens and providing support.

In the area of research, we have obtained almost all certifications of our country’s development hub projects such as “Clinical Research Core Hospital”, “Designated Hospital for Cancer Genomic Medicine”, “Support Program on Collaborative Innovation Networks for Medical Device”, and “Project of Translational & Clinical Research Core Centers” through collaboration with Exploratory Oncology Research & Clinical Trial Center (EPOC), our affiliated institution. We have established ourselves as a domestic hub for the development of oncology drugs and medical devices and are initiating a large number of global research projects that will develop new cancer medicine. In addition to playing a central role in the development of new drugs and AI-driven medical devices in Japan and globally, we are also actively introducing methods to analyze genetic changes (liquid biopsies) through blood sampling and building a system that will enable us to provide optimal treatment for each patient. Above all, we support our patients as a team of multi-professionals so that they can live their normal daily lives in comfort during and after treatment. Cancer research is rapidly advancing, and the practice of medicine is changing drastically. Our entire staff will continue to work at full force to bring the world's progress to patients without any delay.

Atsushi Ohtsu, M.D., Ph.D.
National Cancer Center Hospital East