Fox Chase Cancer Center, a world-renowned leader in research and treatment of women's cancers, announced the opening of its Inflammatory Breast Cancer Clinic, the first such facility on the East Coast, on May 10, 2010. The new clinic, led by noted breast cancer clinician and researcher Massimo Cristofanilli, MD, FACP, focuses on the treatment of patients with inflammatory breast cancer—one of the rarest and most aggressive forms of the disease. Fox Chase's new clinic is one of only three of its kind in the nation.
"Patients with inflammatory breast cancer often face challenging odds, first to be promptly and accurately diagnosed and then to receive the most effective treatment," says Cristofanilli, chairman of medical oncology at Fox Chase. "With the opening of this new clinic, Fox Chase is dedicating itself to improving both diagnosis and care for inflammatory breast cancer patients."
Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a rare form of breast cancer, accounting for about one percent of all breast cancers diagnosed in the United States. IBC can be difficult to diagnose because it rarely causes a breast lump and may not show up on a mammogram. It is considered one of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer, making early diagnosis vital to saving lives.
Fox Chase's new IBC clinic offers patients a coordinated team of cancer care specialists who follow them through examination, care, and any continued monitoring.
"I believe in multidisciplinary team science as the most appropriate way to ensure that patients are getting top quality care," says Cristofanilli.
In addition to leading the IBC clinic, Cristofanilli chairs the department of medical oncology at Fox Chase and plays a vital leadership role in the Women's Cancer Center, overseeing all breast cancer care, and co-directing the Women's Cancer Program—one of Fox Chase's six core research programs within the Center.
"Along with an outstanding clinical team, Fox Chase has the scientific resources needed to more closely investigate the etiology and molecular mechanisms of inflammatory breast cancer, which will help to improve the diagnosis and treatment of this disease," added Cristofanilli.
Cristofanilli came to Fox Chase from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, where he founded and served as executive director of the Morgan Welch Inflammatory Breast Cancer Program and Clinic, which treats more cases of inflammatory breast cancer than any other facility in the world. The program and clinic honor Morgan Welch, one of Cristofanilli's youngest patients. Welch was diagnosed with metastatic inflammatory breast cancer at the age of 24.
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