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Fox Chase Opens First Inflammatory Breast Cancer Clinic in the Region

PHILADELPHIA (May 10, 2010) – Fox Chase Cancer Center, a world-renowned leader in research and treatment of women’s cancers, today announced the opening of its Inflammatory Breast Cancer Clinic, the first such facility in the region.  The new clinic, led by noted breast cancer clinician and researcher Massimo Cristofanilli, MD, FACP - Leader of the Breast Service Line, Medical Oncology, Womens Cancer Center, focuses on the treatment of patients with inflammatory breast cancer—one of the rarest and most aggressive forms of the disease. 

“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.

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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