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About Salem Oncology Center

Salem Oncology Center, established in 1991, is a world-renowned private cancer medicine facility located in the Texas Medical Center, Houston, Texas. It is dedicated to the delivery of the most up-to-date and the highest quality of cancer care, including prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Salem Oncology Center strives to provide "caring beyond medicine", where the practice of medicine is not a job, but is a mission. With the major focus on the individual patient, we provide the best possible care which includes the most up-to-date knowledge, combined with compassion and caring. Each patient receives a personalized treatment plan and high-tech measures are taken to avoid possible side effects. Salem Oncology Center has provided care to patients from around the world. Our multicultural, sensitive staff serves the needs of our patients and their families. We look at the patient not only as a person, but as family rather than disease.

Commitment to excellence and quality of care demands time, and time is rarely allocated in today’s health care system. We are committed to giving the patient all the time he needs to provide him with the very best chance for cure. Patients at Salem Oncology Center have 24-hour access to our doctors and nurses. Care is not interrupted over the weekends, as our facility is open on Saturdays and Sundays and holidays to guarantee continuity of care. Patient care is delivered at all times by the same team of experienced doctors and nurses who are highly specialized in the treatment of cancer and who know the patient well and are very familiar with his medical and non-medical problems. The patient is not just a number in our center; he is a person with a name, he is not a disease.

Salem Oncology Center has an efficient system of evaluating new patients. A complete patient evaluation is accomplished within 48-72 hours. Working with our network of pathologists, radiologists, radiation oncologists and surgeons, we deliver patient diagnosis and care in a timely manner. All radiological studies are scheduled within the first 24-48 hours after the initial consultation with Dr. Salem, and surgical procedures, if necessary, are scheduled within 24-72 hours. We believe that what determines a patient's chance for cure are scientific knowledge and the quality of medical care. Accordingly, we consult with the best specialists in the Texas Medical Center, as well as the leading national and international cancer experts. Each individual’s treatment plan is designed after a group consultation with these experts. Meticulous and appropriate evaluation of pathology and radiological findings are crucial to the development of a treatment plan. Therefore, we strive to obtain a group opinion in these areas to assure a correct diagnosis and consequently, a correct treatment. To assure excellence in care, patients are never treated or evaluated by students or trainees.

Salem Oncology Center has been providing quality medical care with warmth and understanding to patients from around the world since 1991. In order to assist non-English speaking international patients, our Center has staff members fluent in Italian, Spanish, Arabic, French, and Greek. We also offer help procuring travel and hotel accommodations (including assistance through customs), long-term housing, and many other special services. Our goal is to make our patient's stay in Houston as worry-free as possible, so the patient can focus on getting well. Once it is time for the patient to return home, Salem Oncology Center has professional associates worldwide, and an international network of referrals. We also have an affiliate program in Italy. However, all patients are initially evaluated at our Center in Houston.

Availability and Continuity of Care

Our patients have 24-hour access to our doctors and nurses, seven days a week. After hours, you may call our answering service and ask to speak to a doctor or nurse. Care is not interrupted over the weekends or holidays as our facility is open on Saturdays and Sundays to guarantee continuity of care. Patient care is delivered at all times by the same team of primary doctors and nurses who know the patient well, and who are familiar with his/her medical and non-medical issues. Whether the patient calls the office at 2:00 p.m. or 2:00 a.m., he/she will talk to a medical staff member (either a doctor or nurse) who is very familiar to him/her and a nurse who knows exactly what their issues are.


We have an efficient system of evaluation for new patients. Working with our network of pathologists, radiologists, radiation oncologists and surgeons, we deliver patient diagnosis and care in a timely manner. At our Center, all radiological studies are scheduled within 24-48 hours after initial consultation, and if necessary, surgical procedures are scheduled within 24-72 hours. Typically, a complete evaluation is accomplished within 48-72 hours and a group consultation is obtained immediately thereafter, to determine the exact course of therapy.

Over Four Decades of Experience

Dr. Philip A. Salem has over 40 years of experience in cancer research and treatment. He was trained at the two major cancer centers in America: Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. All patients who come to Salem Oncology Center are seen and evaluated by Dr. Salem. Dr. Salem was a professor of cancer medicine at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center before being appointed Director of Cancer Research at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital. Dr. Salem treats all kinds of cancer diseases, except acute myeloblastic and acute lymphoblastic leukemias; however, we do treat chronic leukemias. We do not treat children. Our practice is confined to adult oncology.

We believe that what determines a patient's chance for cure are scientific knowledge and the quality of medical care. No interns, residents, or trainees deliver patient care at Salem Oncology Center.

Why we do not accept insurance and third-party payers

Salem Oncology Center is a highly sophisticated cancer treatment facility that provides the patient with the very best chance for cure. Insurance companies and third-party payers interfere to reduce the quality of medical care. While the objective of our centre is to cure the patient, the objective of insurance the third-party payers is to pay less. In diseases other than cancer, the difference between care which is insurance reimbursable and care independent of third-party payers could be the difference between excellence and poor quality, but in cancer medicine the difference could be life and death. Our edge is that we provide both medicine and care far beyond standard norms to achieve cure. We always do our very best; therefore, we do not accept financial restrictions and impediments to the delivery of best care. Accordingly, we do not accept third-party payers because they work against the patient’s chances for cure.

Non-Medical Support Services

We not only provide what we think is the best medical care in the most humane and loving atmosphere, but we also attend to the paramedical problems. We have special or designated staff members who are able to provide assistance with living and hotel accommodations, transportation, translations of foreign languages, and various other kinds of issues that may arise during the patient’s illness. We believe this kind of support is important to alleviate part of the patient’s anxiety and the burden of responsibility. Patients and families are usually experiencing a great deal of stress, and this kind of support and assistance is essential to them.

The Human Dimension

Humaneness is the essence of medicine. Medical care has to be delivered with knowledge and love. Either one alone is dangerous and inadequate. The major challenge now in America is to provide humaneness in medicine. The reason that humaneness is less a part of medical care now in many parts of the world is because doctors and nurses have become extremely busy dealing with large volumes of patients. In addition, the doctors and nurses may be trained with little emphasis on the role of love and compassion in the treatment of patients. We are proud to say that we deliver medical care in a milieu of humaneness and love.

Several factors highlight our dedication to the human dimension at Salem Oncology:

  1. Doctors and staff at Salem Oncology Center are acutely sensitive to the psychological and emotional needs of patients, and they are there to provide love and compassion at all times. This is a time-consuming type of practice, but we emphasize again and again that we take all the time needed to provide love, compassion, and humaneness, because we believe that these are integral components of therapy. They are indeed the essence of therapy.
  2. Our staff addresses the issues of fear, anxiety, confusion, and suffering. We do not refer our patients to psychologists when we can solve these problems. Most of the psychological and emotional problems that patients have are natural responses to life-threatening diseases. We refer patients to psychologists and psychiatrists only in the rare case in which we feel the need to do so.
  3. Established patients do not need to schedule specific appointments when they need to discuss issues with doctors and staff. They can come to the clinic at any time and see a nurse or a doctor they know well, who is ready to sit down and discuss issues with them.
  4. We provide a home atmosphere in the clinic. We are proud that even when patients do not have chemotherapy to receive, and do not have a medical reason to come, they still come to the clinic to talk to other patients or simply to talk to staff. The clinic is indeed home to them.
  5. The personable, family-oriented, and home-like atmosphere in the clinic is one of our attributes. I strongly believe that science, and specifically medical science, needs to be humanized and custom-made for the specific patient.
  6. This personal care extends beyond the patient; our staff stands ready to also address the needs of the family and friends of patients.