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Banner University Medical Center Tucson earns pancreas designation

Outstanding, caring and innovative pancreatic treatment available in Tucson

TUCSON, AZ. (Sept. 20, 2022)  – Banner – University Medical Center Tucson has been recognized as an approved National Pancreas Foundation Center (NPF) of Excellence by the National Pancreas Foundation. Banner – University Medical Center Tucson earned clinical and academic Center of Excellence designations for both pancreatic cancer and pancreatitis.


The pancreas is a large gland behind the lower stomach that produces insulin and digestive enzymes. There are about 62,000 U.S. cases of pancreatic cancer cases each year, according to the National Institutes of Health and National Cancer Institute. Early pancreatic cancers often do not cause any signs or symptoms. By the time they do cause symptoms, they have often grown very large or already spread outside the pancreas. Pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas, can be a devastating disease significantly impacting quality of life in patients who are affected.


“We are honored that our hospital has been recognized as a leader in treatment of pancreatic cancer,” said Sarah Frost, CEO Banner – University Medical Center Tucson and Banner – University Medical Center South. “Earning this official national recognition will help us create further awareness that outstanding, caring and innovative pancreatic treatment is available right here in Tucson.”


The designation is awarded after a rigorous audit review to determine that an institution’s focus is on the multidisciplinary treatment of pancreatic cancer and pancreatitis, treating the “whole patient” with a focus on the best possible outcomes and an improved quality of life.


“We are thrilled to expand our NPF Centers of Excellence Program to better serve the needs of patients suffering from pancreas disease,” said David Bakelman, CEO of the National Pancreas Foundation.  “The NPF Centers of Excellence Program is one of the pillars of NPF, and we are looking forward to working with our current and new Centers.”


An approved NPF Center has to meet the criteria that were developed by a task force made up of invited subject matter experts and patient advocates. The criteria include having the required expert physician specialties such as gastroenterologists, pancreas surgeons, and interventional radiologists, along with more patient focused programs such as a pain management service, psychosocial support and more.


“My colleagues and I are very proud of this achievement,” said Taylor Riall, MD, co-director of oncology services at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson and associate director of oncology services at the University of Arizona Cancer Center, a department of Banner – University Medical Center Tucson. Dr. Riall led the team working to gain the center of excellence designation. “This award is certainly validation of our entire team’s commitment in the delivery of excellent patient care.”  


For more information about the National Pancreas Foundation, please visit




About Banner – University Medical Center Tucson and South

Banner – University Medical Center Tucson and Banner – University Medical Center South are part of Banner – University Medicine, a premier academic medical network. These institutions are academic medical centers for the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson. Included on the two campuses are Diamond Children's Medical Center and many specialty clinics. The two academic medical centers are part of Arizona-based Banner Health, one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in the country. Banner Health is in six states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. For more information, visit or

About The National Pancreas Foundation


Founded in 1997, the National Pancreas Foundation provides hope for those suffering from pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer through funding cutting-edge research, advocating for new and better therapies and providing support and education for patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals. The NPF is the only foundation dedicated to patients suffering from all forms of pancreas disease. For more information visit:


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