A cancer care center in Baltimore, MD is bolstering its efforts to improve and save the lives of patients suffering from the most common type of cancer in females – breast cancer.
Through the leadership and expertise of Massimo Cristofanilli, M.D., F.A.C.P., the current director of Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center‘s Jefferson Breast Care Center, the institution hopes to consistently make new and improved breast cancer treatments more accessible to their patients, who often travel across the country just to receive cancer care under his supervision.
Dr. Cristofanilli is a world-renowned medical oncologist and researcher with a specialization in breast cancer, and is also the deputy director of Translational Research. His latest works focus on a rare, more aggressive type of breast cancer called, IBC or inflammatory breast cancer, which has been observed to be more common in overweight women, aged 50 years old and up, and is estimated to account for up to 5% of all breast cancers in the US.
IBC results in painful, red and swollen breasts, and is commonly misdiagnosed as non-cancerous. Doctors often give a diagnosis of mastitis, but the extremely uncomfortable symptoms would persist even after a week of antibiotics. It can progress in a matter of weeks and is commonly diagnosed in Stage III to IV, when less aggressive forms of treatment are no longer an option and survival rates are less optimistic.
Dr. Cristofanilli says women must be informed of IBC and not be hesitant to talk to their attending physicians about it. Because this type of breast cancer requires unique and modified approaches, he recommends patients visit a specialized cancer care center.
One of his strategies in improving Jefferson’s Breast Care Center is to encourage more patients to participate in ongoing clinical trials, which allows for the immediate application of emerging findings and treatments, and contributes to all ongoing research efforts. This movement from “bench to bedside” entails adequate patient education and empowerment.
If interested to learn more about ongoing clinical trials at Jefferson, led by Dr. Cristofanilli, particularly those focused on IBC, you may contact the Breast Care Center’s Breast Care Coordinator at 215-955-5120 or 1-800-JEFF-NOW (800-533-3669).