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Torosian Joins Breast-Cancer Team at Fox Chase Cancer Center

PHILADELPHIA (November 30, 1998) -- "We can cure most patients with breast cancer--over 95 percent of women whose cancer has been detected early through mammography," says breast-cancer surgeon Dr. Michael H. Torosian. "It's critical for women to know that early detection of breast cancer, through mammograpy and breast self-examination, is key to curing this disease."

Torosian joined Fox Chase Cancer Center's department of surgical oncology in October as an attending surgeon and clinical director of breast-surgery research. Since 1986, he had been an attending surgeon at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Annually since 1994, Philadelphia Magazine has ranked him among the area's "Top Docs." He is also listed in the Northeast Region edition of The Best Doctors in America.

"New therapies are becoming available all the time in breast cancer treatment," Torosian points out. "They're right at the level of clinical usefulness, not just theory, and that's one of the really attractive things about this specialty." One new technique he uses is skin-sparing mastectomy for immediate breast reconstruction for women who need or choose to have the breast removed.

In addition to treating patients with breast cancer, Torosian will expand the Breast Evaluation Center at Fox Chase with services for women with benign breast diseases, such as evaluation of women with abnormal mammograms or fibrocystic disease.

"Most women we see for diagnosis do not need cancer treatment--by virtue of statistics, 75 to 85 percent of breast lumps are benign," Torosian says. "But women with abnormal breast lumps may be at higher risk of cancer later. We need to tell them they don't have to have cancer before they can come to Fox Chase Cancer Center for help."

Torosian's research interests include improving methods to diagnose and treat breast cancer and to provide nutritional support for cancer patients. He held a faculty nutrition fellowship from the Pew National Nutrition Program from 1988 to 1992. He has also served as principal investigator or co-investigator for numerous clinical trials, including the first coast-to-coast Breast Cancer Prevention Trial that ended last spring.

His belief in multidisciplinary teamwork and his role in the development of clinical research in breast cancer influenced his decision to come to Fox Chase.

"Multidisciplinary treatment is really important for treating cancer patients, who have so many varied needs," says Torosian. "That's a real strength of Fox Chase. We're all trying to promote early diagnosis of breast cancer and state-of-the-art treatment in a multidisciplinary fashion."

Torosian's latest project is editing a book on advanced clinical strategies for breast cancer. He has published a number of original research papers, lectured extensively and contributed chapters on oncologic and nutritional issues to 30 medical textbooks. One book he edited, Nutrition for the Hospitalized Patient: Basic Science and Principles of Practice, received Doody's Book Award as one of the 250 Best Health Sciences Books published in 1996.

A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Torosian earned his undergraduate degree in biochemical sciences summa cum laude at Princeton University and his medical degree at the University of Pennsylvania in 1978. He interned and completed his residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was chief resident in surgery.

He then held one-year fellowships in advanced surgical oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Cornell University in New York before returning to Penn as attending surgeon and assistant professor in 1986. Torosian, who has won awards for teaching, became an associate professor of surgery in 1993.

Fox Chase Cancer Center is one of 34 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the nation. The Center's activities include basic and clinical research, prevention, detection and treatment of cancer and community outreach programs.

Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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