Our story

Changing cancer care

Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) was founded in 1988 by Richard J Stephenson, following the death of his mother, Mary Brown Stephenson, from cancer.

After his mother’s diagnosis, Mr. Stephenson and his family searched for the most effective cancer treatments and supportive care options designed to enhance quality of life. They were disappointed to discover this type of integrated model, which his mother needed and deserved, did not exist. Sadly, Mrs. Stephenson passed away before she could watch her grandchildren grow and mature.

To keep his mother’s spirit alive, Mr. Stephenson vowed to change the face of cancer care. He created a new model of care that changed the way oncologists, surgeons and other clinical professionals treat patients with cancer. This whole-person cancer treatment approach combined with a compassionate, nurturing environment is now known as the Mother Standard® of care and provides a patient-centered approach to cancer treatment.


The American International Hospital in Zion, Illinois, served as the first location for the CTCA Mother Standard of care. With Mr. Stephenson as chairman of the board, the cancer program became one of the first in the country to offer a full range of treatment services—surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, as well as immunotherapy, nutrition, behavioral health and spiritual support.

CTCA® formally opened its second hospital on May 7, 1990. The Tulsa, Oklahoma, location quickly established CTCA as a premier center of hope and healing for cancer patients. The hospital was located in the CityPlex Towers, which were constructed by Oral Roberts as part of the City of Faith hospital.

As demand grew, it became clear that the Zion facility would need to be expanded and updated. CTCA Chicago broke ground on Sept. 25, 1991. During the planning stages, the hospital's patients, family members, physicians and staff were asked to describe the perfect healing environment. Their responses were incorporated into the design of the five-story, 78,886-square-foot facility.

Another banner year for CTCA came in 2005. April 29 marked the opening of the brand-new, state-of-the-art CTCA Tulsa. The stunning, 195,845-square-foot hospital became Oklahoma's only major hospital completely focused on treating cancer. Later that year, CTCA Philadelphia opened its doors on Dec. 19, becoming the first CTCA hospital on the East Coast.

CTCA Phoenix, a modern, 210,000-square-foot facility joined the CTCA family of hospitals on Dec. 29, 2008.

CTCA Atlanta began welcoming patients on Aug. 15, 2012.