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Cancer Treatment Centers of America


mary brown stephensonCancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) was founded in 1988 by Richard J Stephenson, in honor of his mother who lost her battle with cancer in 1982. Stephenson embarked on a mission to change the face of cancer care.

Stephenson was challenged to create a better experience for cancer patients, one which empowers them with options and hope. His commitment to the Mother Standard® of care became the organization's guiding principle.

By implementing the Mother Standard of care, CTCA® cancer doctors care for patients like family. In doing so, our clinicians take a multidisciplinary, individualized approach to cancer treatment.

The inception of CTCA Chicago dates back to the early-1950s. In 1975, the hospital was sold to Capitol Investment Company, headed by Richard J Stephenson.

Ground was broken for our Chicago hospital on September 25, 1991. 

A new vision, a new mission

The inception of CTCA Chicago dates back to the early-1950s, when a family practice physician in the community of Zion, Illinois recognized the need for a hospital to serve the medical needs of local residents. Ground was broken in 1953, and construction of the 50-bed hospital was completed in 1958.

In 1963, the hospital was sold to a group of community leaders who added services—physical therapy, respiratory therapy and intensive care—as well as 23 beds. The hospital's name was changed to Zion-Benton Hospital. In 1975, the hospital was sold to Capitol Investment Company, headed by Richard J Stephenson.

As Chairman of the Board of the newly-named American International Hospital, Mr. Stephenson proclaimed an all-out commitment to the pursuit of excellence in diagnosing and treating illness and disease. A multidisciplinary cancer treatment program was established and quickly received attention as an innovative, patient-centered alternative to traditional cancer care.

The American International Hospital cancer program was one of the first in the country to offer a wide range of treatment services—surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, as well as immunotherapy, hyperthermia, tumor biology, nutrition, psycho-social intervention and spiritual support. Patients from throughout the United States and around the world discovered American International Hospital and traveled hundreds and thousands of miles for care.

During the mid-1980s, the rapid growth of American International Hospital became a burden to the aging, 30-year-old facility.

In June 1991, the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board unanimously approved a certificate of need, and in September, the Zion City Council approved an ordinance to issue $20 million in general obligation bonds to finance a construction and renovation project.

Prior to the initial planning stages, the hospital's customers—patients, family members, physicians, and staff members—were asked to describe the perfect healing environment. Their replies were incorporated into the design of the five-story, 78,886 sq. ft. facility. CTCA Chicago broke ground on September 25, 1991.

Renovation timeline

After the five-story hospital building was constructed and the move-in process was complete, the original hospital building was completely renovated and updated.


In 1998, because of the consumer desire to have naturopathic medicine in a clinical setting, CTCA Chicago added a new discipline to its already impressive list of complementary therapies. While a fairly accepted practice on the East and West Coasts, natural medicines were an anomaly in the Midwest, especially in a hospital setting. In fact, the naturopathic medicine program at our Chicago hospital may still be the only one of its kind in the Midwest. That same year, CTCA Chicago also added the Mary Brown Stephenson Radiation Oncology Center.


Plans to add a two-story, outpatient oncology clinic above the radiation oncology center were put aside on Feb. 8, 2000 when a single engine plane, piloted by popular Chicago AM radio personality Bob Collins, crashed onto the roof of the hospital.

The crash, which neither injured nor killed anyone on the ground, caused extensive damage to the roof and fifth floor of the hospital. The energy that would have gone into adding the two additional floors instead went into renovating the existing hospital. During the renovation, the bone marrow transplant unit was expanded from six to nine beds and the fifth floor solarium was converted fully to an indoor space.

The hospital celebrated the return of full capacity and services on Nov. 15, 2000.


In late August 2001, our Chicago hospital began the addition of an outpatient oncology clinic above the radiation oncology clinic. But this time, the plan included a three-story addition instead of the two slated before the plane crash. The top floor, which initially housed the hospital’s education department, was added to the plans to accommodate future outpatient growth.


The addition was completed in April 2002. It increased outpatient capacity from 18 to 39 stations and also featured larger waiting rooms for both new and returning patients.


In the fall of 2003, work was completed on a new, enhanced entrance to the hospital. This three-and-a-half story glass and girder entrance more than tripled the space available for those entering the hospital. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright protégé Don Erickson, the improved lobby houses amenities common to fine hotels.

Also completed in 2003 was a 40-unit, long-term housing facility, just five blocks from the hospital.


In 2007, a remodeled new patient clinic opened in the hospital, as well as a new prescription and supplement center and a state-of-art suite for interventional angiography.


In December 2008, a brand-new, radiation oncology suite opened in the hospital. The suite houses a Varian Trilogy system, an advanced radiation therapy delivery system.


In 2009, a brand new, 99-room lodging facility for patients and caregivers opened near the hospital. And in 2010, several new exam rooms and Infusion Center bays were built.

CTCA Chicago today

Our Chicago hospital's medical staff comprises more than 100 physicians who specialize in oncology, emergency medicine, cardiology, internal medicine, family practice, gastroenterology, orthopedics, surgery, podiatric medicine, and nearly 20 other medical areas. Many have practices in the Zion community.

Services at our hospital in Chicago include the CTCA-managed cancer program, a 24-hour emergency center, intensive and coronary care unit, general surgery with specialization in minimally-invasive techniques, and an advanced podiatric surgery program.

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