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Huntsman Cancer Institute Quick Facts

The mission of Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah is to understand cancer from its beginnings, use that knowledge in the creation and improvement of cancer treatments, relieve the suffering of cancer patients, and provide education about cancer risk, prevention, and care.

  • In 1995, the Jon M. and Karen Huntsman family pledged $100 million to construct a state-of-the-art cancer center, formally establishing and naming Huntsman Cancer Institute.
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in the Mountain West. By serving Utah, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Wyoming, it provides care to the largest geographic region of any center.
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute expands its reach through several community clinics in the surrounding area and six affiliate hospitals in neighboring states.
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute is owned by the state of Utah and designated by the state legislature as its official cancer center.
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute’s campus in Salt Lake City includes state-of-the-art cancer research space and a cancer hospital that utilizes a team approach to cancer care.
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute operates clinics that focus on patients with a family history of breast, colon, skin, pancreas, and prostate cancers.
  • More genes for inherited cancers have been discovered at Huntsman Cancer Institute than at any other cancer center in the world. These include genes responsible for hereditary breast, ovarian, colon, skin, and head and neck cancers.
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute operates the largest and most comprehensive Phase 1 clinical cancer research program in the region. This includes approximately 325 clinical trials open to patients.
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute has 263 research teams studying all aspects of cancer.
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute has provided patient and prevention education to more than one million residents from every state and six continents.
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute manages the Utah Population Database (UPDB), the largest genetic database in the world. The UPDB includes information on more than 11 million people, linked to genealogies and health, birth, death, and marriage records.
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute operates a Cancer Screening and Education Bus that travels across Utah to perform mammograms and educate communities on cancer prevention and screening.
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute launched the world’s first cancer hospital-at-home model. Called Huntsman at Home™, the service extends hospital-level cancer care to the patient’s home. The program began in Salt Lake City, and was expanded to three rural Utah counties in 2021.

Huntsman Cancer Foundation Quick Facts

  • In 1995, the Jon and Karen Huntsman family started Huntsman Cancer Foundation to ensure the future of cutting-edge research at Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah.
  • Huntsman Cancer Foundation’s sole purpose is to raise funds to support the mission of Huntsman Cancer Institute.
  • All Huntsman Cancer Institute fundraising initiatives occur through Huntsman Cancer Foundation, a public, functionally integrated, Type III 501(c)(3) organization.
  • Due to the generosity of the Huntsman family in underwriting all fundraising expenses, 100% of all donations support the mission of Huntsman Cancer Institute.
  • Huntsman Cancer Foundation’s Board of Directors are Chairman and CEO Peter Huntsman, University of Utah President Taylor R. Randall, PhD, and President and Chief Executive Officer of Zions First National Bank A. Scott Anderson.
  • One family cannot do it alone. Huntsman Cancer Foundation enjoys the support of more than one million donors.
  • Through Huntsman Cancer Foundation’s Huntsman Heroes program, individuals and teams run, walk, ride, and fundraise while participating in events like 5Ks, marathons, and 140-mile bike rides.
  • Huntsman Cancer Foundation holds fundraising events each year. Its signature event, Huntsman SportsFest, includes walking, running, and cycling options.
  • The Huntsman Cancer Foundation Gala is an annual event that brings together donors and community members to celebrate the work of Huntsman Cancer Institute and raise funds for Huntsman Cancer Institute’s mission.
  • In 2005, Sigma Chi International Fraternity designated Huntsman Cancer Foundation as its preferred philanthropic partner. Sigma Chi fulfilled an $11 million pledge in February 2020. In June 2019, Sigma Chi pledged an additional $20 million to support women’s cancer research and treatment at Huntsman Cancer Institute. To date, Sigma Chi has raised more than $23 million in support of Huntsman Cancer Institute.

2024 Cancer Facts

  • In the United States, approximately 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will develop cancer in their lifetimes.
  • Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, trailing only heart disease.
  • This year, a little over 2 million new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in the United States.
  • This year, 53,560 new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in the Mountain West:
    • Idaho: 11,120
    • Montana, 7,310
    • Nevada: 18,250
    • Utah: 13,560
    • Wyoming: 3,320
  • This year, 611,720 people in the United States are expected to die of cancer—about 1,680 people per day.
  • This year, 15,970 people in the Mountain West are expected to die of cancer—about 44 people per day.
    • Idaho: 3,200
    • Montana: 2,230
    • Nevada: 5,440
    • Utah: 3,780
    • Wyoming: 1,320
  • This year, the expected top diagnosed cancer for each state in the Mountain West are: 
    • Idaho: breast (1,730)
    • Montana: breast (1,070) and prostate (1,070)
    • Nevada: breast (2,880)
    • Utah: prostate (2,380)
    • Wyoming: prostate (570)
  • Cancer is the second leading cause of death among children ages 1–14.
  • The greatest risk factor for cancer is age. In the United States, 88 percent of people diagnosed with cancer are 50 years old or older.
  • At least 42 percent of newly diagnosed cancers are potentially preventable. About 19 percent of these cases are caused by smoking and 18 percent are caused by a combination of excess body weight, alcohol consumption, poor nutrition, and physical inactivity. Additionally, certain cancers caused by infectious agents, such as human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis B, and hepatitis C, could be prevented through behavioral changes, vaccination, or by treating the infection.
  • Cancer screening is known to increase survival rates for cancers of the breast, colon, rectum, cervix, lung, and prostate. In addition, being aware of changes in the body and discussing them with a health care provider may result in earlier detection.
  • Cancer death rates are higher among people with lower socioeconomic status–often measured in terms of income, education, and/or health insurance coverage–and the gap is widening.
  • Racial and ethnic disparities in the cancer burden largely reflect long-standing inequities in socioeconomic status and access to high-quality health care, which can be attributed to historical and persistent structural racism in the United States experienced by all people of color. 
  • Individuals that live in rural and frontier areas have higher average death rates for all cancer sites combined, compared to population in urban counties. Additionally, rural counties have higher incidence and death rates for cancer associated with smoking and higher rates of incidence of cancer that can be prevented by screening.
  • LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and other sexual identifies and orientations) individuals are vulnerable to cancer disparities due to higher prevalence of cancer risk factors, such as smoking, likely in part because of stress caused by systemic discrimination. 
  • There are an estimated 18 million cancer survivors in the United States.
  • The National Cancer Institute estimates that cancer-related medical costs in the United States were $208.9 billion in 2020, but this is likely an underestimate, as it does not take into account the growing cost of treatment.

Sources: American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute

The Area We Serve

In 2021, Huntsman Cancer Institute formalized its longstanding commitment to the Mountain West—Utah, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Wyoming—in advancing cancer prevention, education, research, and care.

This commitment means Huntsman Cancer Institute formally works to reduce the cancer burden of the entire Mountain West—from research and access to clinical care, to training and education, to community outreach and engagement.

The Area We Serve is part of a National Cancer Institute requirement for all cancer centers to outline its catchment area, a term used to describe the region where a cancer center focuses its efforts.

Huntsman Cancer Institute has made a longstanding commitment to cancer patients in the Mountain West through cancer prevention, cancer screening, cancer education, access to clinical trials, telemedicine, or research into improving care for cancer patients in frontier and rural areas.

The expanded area of service builds on decades of effort by Huntsman Cancer Institute and dedicated local providers and care teams. This includes a network of six affiliate hospitals that raise the standard of cancer care in our region.

Here are some of Huntsman Cancer Institute’s longstanding programs that serve Mountain West residents:

  • Community Outreach and Engagement teams provide cancer prevention and education, access to cancer screening, connect residents to local resources, and work in collaboration with community partners to build capacity for clinical and research projects.
  • The Center for HOPE serves as a bridge between scientists and community organizations to bring communities and researchers together, creating long-term solutions that improve community health.
  • Coalitions led by Huntsman Cancer Institute bring regional health experts and researchers together to reduce cancer incidence. Additionally, Huntsman Cancer Institute supports training of students, K–12 teachers, early-career cancer researchers, and care providers across the region.
  • Dedicated patient navigation services for American Indian, adolescent and young adult, Spanish-speaking, and rural and frontier patients.
  • Researchers work to improve cancer care, prevention, access, and quality of life for patients throughout our region. This includes access to clinical trials that test innovative new approaches, as well as programs that provide transportation and lodging support for patients who travel long distances.
  • The Huntsman at Home™ program is the world’s first cancer hospital-at-home program, and provides acute, supportive, and palliative care. It serves patients in Salt Lake County and three other rural Utah counties.
  • The Cancer Screening and Education Bus serves the entire state of Utah, providing mammography breast cancer screenings and tailored prevention education, regardless of insurance status.
  • The Community Advisory Board includes members that represent each Mountain West state. Members have worked closely with Huntsman Cancer Institute on their state cancer plans.
Map of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada with pictures of landscapes from each area filling in the shape of the states

Recent Expansions

The Kathryn F. Kirk Center for Comprehensive Cancer Care and Women’s Cancers

  • The Kathryn F. Kirk Center for Comprehensive Cancer Care and Women’s Cancers expands space at Huntsman Cancer Institute by 220,000 square feet.
  • Major donors for the building include the Spencer and Kristen Kirk family, Huntsman Foundation, Scott and Karen Smith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Sigma Chi International Fraternity, dōTERRA, Erlynn and J. Christopher Lansing, Khalid and Sally Alturki, PhD, and Ashley and Neil Hafer. An additional 275 donors have made major gifts to support this expansion.
  • The building includes an entire floor dedicated to breast and gynecologic cancers, a new endoscopy center, an expanded wellness and integrative health center, 48 inpatient rooms, 4 operating rooms, and a new blood and marrow cancer treatment space.
  • The expansion features 160 art pieces from more than 25 Indigenous Nations and includes weavings, basketry, wearables, ceramics, jewelry, sculptures, and carvings.
  • Exterior walkways and skybridges connect the Kathryn F. Kirk Center to the current cancer hospital and research space.
  • The Kathryn F. Kirk Center was designed by Architectural Nexus and built by Layton Construction.
  • Construction costs were $178 million.

The Senator Orrin G. Hatch Proton Therapy Center at Huntsman Cancer Institute

  • The Senator Orrin G. Hatch Proton Therapy Center at Huntsman Cancer Institute is the first center in the Mountain West to provide proton therapy treatment.
  • The building is named in honor of United States Senator Orrin G. Hatch, in recognition of his lifetime support of cancer research.
  • Proton therapy distributes beams of radiation to shrink a tumor as part of cancer treatment.
  • Intensity modulated proton therapy (IMPT), which projects precise, pencil-thin beams of protons to a tumor, helps ensure a maximum dose of radiation and minimum damage to surrounding healthy tissue.
  • The 7,450-square-foot building sits on the south end of the cancer hospital and is connected to the radiation therapy wing.
  • Patients who are given proton therapy may need a treatment course that occurs five days a week, for four to eight weeks. Before Huntsman Cancer Institute's proton therapy center, the closest treatment centers were in southern Arizona and southern California.
  • The center is currently treating 108 patients each year with 3,000 individual treatments performed.


1986 The cancer program at the University of Utah earns National Cancer Institute designation as a Cancer Center, with an emphasis on genetics research as a way to understand, diagnose, and treat cancer.
1993 Jon M. and Karen Huntsman donate $10 million to the University of Utah to establish a cancer institute.
1994 The Cancer Center receives custodianship of the Utah Population Database (UPDB), a resource for biomedical research that contains health and vital statistics records from several generations of Utah families.
1995 The Huntsman family pledges $100 million to construct a state-of-the-art Cancer Center, formally establishing Huntsman Cancer Institute.
1996 Huntsman Cancer Institute breaks ground for a 231,118-square-foot research, treatment, and education facility.
1997 Huntsman Cancer Institute joins the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), a non-profit alliance of the world’s leading cancer centers dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of care provided to cancer patients.
1999 Jon M. Huntsman Research Center at Huntsman Cancer Institute is dedicated; patient clinics open.
2001 Construction begins on new hospital with generous donation from Jon M. and Karen Huntsman.
2004 Huntsman Cancer Institute Cancer Hospital opens, featuring first full-field digital mammography unit, PET/CT imaging unit, and facial prosthetics lab in the Mountain West.
2007 Cancer Center member Mario Capecchi, PhD, wins Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for gene targeting research.
2011 A major expansion of the Huntsman Cancer Institute Cancer Hospital opens, doubling clinical capacity.
2015 National Cancer Institute awards Comprehensive Cancer Center status, the highest national designation possible, to Huntsman Cancer Institute.
2016 Vice President Joe Biden visits Huntsman Cancer Institute to discuss the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative.
2017 The Primary Children’s and Families’ Cancer Research Center at Huntsman Cancer Institute opens, doubling research capacity.
2019 Huntsman Cancer Institute breaks ground on The Kathryn F. Kirk Center for Comprehensive Cancer Care and Women’s Cancers.
2020 Huntsman Cancer Institute expands its Huntsman at Home™ program, the world’s first cancer hospital-at-home model, to rural Utah counties.
2021 The Senator Orrin G. Hatch Proton Therapy Center at Huntsman Cancer Institute opens for patients.
2023 Huntsman Cancer Institute opens the new hospital expansion, Kathryn F. Kirk Center for Comprehensive Cancer Care and Women’s Cancers, to patients.

Our Founders

Jon and Karen Huntsman

Huntsman Cancer Institute Founders

Jon and Karen Huntsman

Jon M. Huntsman, a native of Blackfoot, Idaho, was the Founder and Executive Chairman of Huntsman Corporation, a global manufacturer and marketer of specialty chemicals.

Mr. Huntsman began a small entrepreneurial plastics packaging business. Originally known for pioneering innovations in packaging and, later, for rapid and integrated growth in petrochemicals, its operating companies manufacture chemical products used in a wide range of industries, with offices in multiple locations worldwide.

Jon Huntsman’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at 53. He held her in his arms when she passed away at the age of 58. When she died, Jon said, “Someday, I’m going to make a difference in cancer.” 

A four-time cancer survivor himself, Jon recognized the need for better treatments and research. Karen and Jon committed to doing all they could to improve outcomes for those impacted by cancer. In 1995, the Huntsmans made a generous gift, creating the institute. The first research building was dedicated in 1999.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy placed Mr. Huntsman second on their 2007 list of largest donors. In 2011, Forbes Magazine counted him among the 18 “most generous givers on the planet.”

The Huntsman family’s early contributions to Huntsman Cancer Institute amounted to $225 million. Huntsman Cancer Institute is now one of America's major cancer centers. Dedicated to finding a cure, the facility features leading-edge research laboratories and a state-of-the-art hospital treating cancer patients. Today, approximately $1.5 billion has been directed to the building of Huntsman Cancer Institute, including nearly half of which comes from philanthropy.

Mr. Huntsman passed away on February 2, 2018. 

Jon and Karen Huntsman have nine children, 56 grandchildren, and 19 great-grandchildren.

Peter R. Huntsman

Peter Huntsman

Peter Huntsman is the Chairman, President, and CEO of Huntsman Corporation, a publicly traded global manufacturer and marketer of differentiated and specialty chemicals. Huntsman Corporation operates more than 60 facilities in approximately 30 countries and employs approximately 7,000 people.

In addition, Mr. Huntsman is the Chairman and CEO of Huntsman Cancer Foundation (“HCF”). HCF raises funds and supports the ongoing research, treatment, and educational programs of the world-renowned Huntsman Cancer Institute. He is also CEO of the Huntsman Foundation, a private foundation focused on cancer care, mental health, homelessness, and a variety of other projects to improve society.

Mr. Huntsman is a member of various executive boards and councils, including The American Chemistry Council; the Memorial Hermann Health Systems Board in Houston; Venator Corporation; the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion Board in The Woodlands, Texas; The Beaumont Foundation; and the Board of Advisors for Interfaith of The Woodlands.

He and his wife are the parents of eight children and have 17 grandchildren.