The hospital was set up in 1941 by the House of Tatas, honouring the philanthropic commitment made by Sir Dorabji Tata after his wife Lady Meherbai succumbed to leukemia in 1932. By 1952, the government set up the Cancer Research Institute in the same complex. By 1962, as the hospital grew, it was handed over to the government. It is now administered by a governing council with representatives both from the Atomic Energy Commission and the Dorabji Tata Trust.
The 484-bed hospital is the largest facility for cancer treatment in India and the main referral centre for the disease. "We attend to all aspects of cancer under one roof: prevention, diagnosis, treatment and also post-operative rehabilitation. This allows us to hold joint clinics, where different departments can discuss how a case should be treated," says Ashok Mohan, advisor to the Tata Memorial Centre, which includes the TMH and the Cancer Research Institute.