UTSW: Dr. Carlos L. Arteaga


As Director of the leading-edge Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center in Dallas, Dr. Arteaga leads a team of hundreds of prominent cancer physicians and oncology-trained support staff with an overriding goal of returning patients with cancer to good health. “We never forget that we are treating people with cancer,” he says.

With more than 25 years of clinical and patient care experience, Dr. Carlos L. Arteaga, Director of UT Southwestern’s Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, has participated in the dramatic evolution in the treatment of breast cancer in the U.S. There has been such a sea change, he says, that today the great majority of breast cancer patients can and should expect full recovery. Internationally recognized for his work in laboratory-based research and advancing the care of breast cancer patients, Dr. Arteaga got his start in medicine at the Universidad de Guayaquil in his home country of Ecuador. After earning his medical degree there, he trained in internal medicine at Emory University in Atlanta and in medical oncology and laboratory research at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.

He says that the discovery and use of more sophisticated drugs and treatment have helped change the tide in breast cancer survival but notes that the greater impact has likely come from the more widespread use of screening mammograms, which allow detection of cancers when they are small, contained, and eminently curable.

“Even just 30 years ago, many breast cancers were diagnosed at stage 4 – when they are disseminated throughout the body and unlikely to be curable,” Dr. Arteaga says. “Today, however, women who are diagnosed at stage 4 breast cancer are a distinct minority.” He continues: “The tools we have to prevent, treat, and manage cancer are only going to get better. But it’s not all about the next best technology or treatment. We also have to keep in mind that there are issues with disparities of care and screening that are important. Reaching underserved areas and populations is vital and is part of what UT Southwestern has addressed and will continue to address.” +

Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center:

•  With its main campus in Dallas, Texas, UT Southwestern’s Simmons Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in North Texas and one of just 50 NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the nation.

•  Simmons Cancer Center is among only 30 U.S. cancer research centers to be named by the NCI as a National Clinical Trials Network Lead Academic Participating Site.

• Simmons Cancer Center serves a racially, ethnically, geographically, and socioeconomically diverse population of more than 7.4 million people in 13 North Texas counties, with lung, liver, colorectal, kidney, and breast cancers constituting major challenges in the region.


I think the next 10 years are going to be transformative in the way we think of cancer, in the way we understand cancer, and in the way we go about treating it. It’s going to be close to unimaginable.