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Ironwood Breast Surgeon Dr. Patricia Clark Co-Authors Journal of Clinical Oncology Article Underdiagnosis of Hereditary Breast Cancer

On December 7, 2018, an article I co-authored was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology regarding need to re-examine the national guidelines for who should be tested for genetic predisposition to develop breast or ovarian cancer.  We used an 80 gene panel to test over 1,000 patients with breast cancer, half who met NCCN Guidelines recommending genetic testing and half who didn’t. We found no difference in the rate of mutations between the group who met the guidelines and those who didn’t.  As a result of this study results, I decided to abandon the national guidelines.

A decade ago, genetic testing for just the BRCA gene could cost over $3,000. Next-generation sequencing and other advancements made panel testing more accessible to the public.  Insurers will cover the cost when guideline criteria are met. Even when a patient’s insurance doesn’t cover the testing, the gene panels are $250 or less.  Genetic testing for predisposition to breast and ovarian cancer are within reach for most patients and are even available over the Internet.

I now offer genetic testing to all of my breast cancer patients and any patient that requests it regardless of the guidelines.  I believe it is important physicians or genetic counselors stay involved in the genetic testing process to ensure patients receive appropriate counseling and follow-up of results with management recommendations. Testing provides peace of mind and gives us the opportunity to either prevent the cancer or to detect at an early stage through appropriate surveillance when the opportunity for cure is highest. It also identifies family members who do not carry the pathological mutations and whose risks are no higher than the general public despite their family history.

Thank you,

Breast and Oncoplastic Surgery

Ironwood Women’s Centers


Full Article in Text

Full Article in PDF

To learn more about Dr. Clark click here.

Five Stages of Prostate Cancer with Dr. Mark Scholz

Special event with Dr. Mark Scholz will speak on the “Five Stages of Prostate Cancer.”

7-9pm, Friday, Jan. 18, 2019, at Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers in Chandler.



About Dr. Scholz

Dr. Scholz is a US/World expert on prostate cancer, is medical director of Prostate Oncology Specialists Inc. in Marina del Rey, CA, and is the executive director of the Prostate Cancer Research Institute (PCRI). You may have attended the PRCI yearly workshops featuring world experts on prostate cancer, and attended by thousands of men seeking an advanced education concerning their disease. Read more about Dr. Scholz here.

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Cancer Awareness Day At the Capitol ’19

You’re Invited to the

Annual American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s
Cancer Awareness Day at the Capitol

Please visit the Booth of Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers!

10:00 AM—2:00 PM, Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Please join us at Wesley Bolin Plaza and help us educate lawmakers while learning about cancer priorities and the important policy issues that affect cancer patients and their families.

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Address of event: 1700 W Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85007

Dr. Heidi Rula on Channel 3’s Your Life Arizona

On November 14, 2018, Dr. Heidi Rula was featured on Channel 3’s Your Life Arizona discussing Integrative Oncology and the support services offered at Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers.



Want to learn more about Dr. Rula and what Integrative Oncology can do for you?  Meet Dr. Rula at her introductory event at 6pm, Tuesday, January, 8th at our Scottsdale office.  Learn more here.

Cigna’s Arizona chapter of A Common Thread Donated 1,105 Knitted Hats!

Cigna’s Arizona chapter of A Common Thread donated 1,105 knitted hats. These hats will keep our patients warm for many months to come. Thank you to all of the wonderful people that have lovingly worked on these wonderful hats.
Pictured from left to right: Teresa Caldwell, Theresa Richards, Nicole McCallister (Ironwood, Social Worker), Carol Beyer and Kelly Huey (Ironwood, Social Worker).