Author of Red Sunshine Tackles Complexities of Breast Cancer
Monday, October 21, 2013
Kimberly Allison, MD, is both an expert in breast cancer pathology and a survivor of breast cancer. In her book, Red Sunshine, Dr. Allison describes her experience as a patient who was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer soon after she was promoted to be Director of Breast Pathology at the University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle.
“We are entering the golden era for pathologists where the histologic, molecular, and genetic information we provide is being used in exciting new ways. We need to educate clinicians and global health leaders about the value we provide as diagnosticians and consultants. It's also important to remember the patient side and what our impact is for them.”
— Kimberly Allison, MD
Dr. Allison will share her unique perspective in a webinar designed especially for pathologists, “HER2 Testing in Breast Cancer: A Practical Guide to Interpretation and Approaching Challenging Cases,” on Nov. 8, 2013, at 12 p.m. CT.
“Breast cancer diagnosis has become more complex; we cannot treat all breast cancers the same,” says Dr. Allison, now Associate Professor of Pathology at Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, Calif. “Pathologists have to tell the oncologists more.
“We find out more details about the biology of breast cancer by conducting ancillary tests. If the cancer is hormone receptor positive, the patient may benefit from hormonally targeted therapies. If a cancer patient is HER2 positive, she can receive Herceptin or other HER2 targeted biologic therapies and increase her chances of surviving a more aggressive type of breast cancer.”
The webinar will provide a practical approach to understanding both the standard cases and the grey zones that exist in HER2 testing. Using a case-based approach, Dr. Allison will cover how to recognize clinically discordant HER2 results and how to deal with discordances between two testing methodologies, as well as common challenges such as heterogeneity and aneusomy. Participants will also develop effective communication and reporting methods to assist clinical understanding of borderline results.
Dr. Allison is impassioned in advocating for more education about women’s health. At the 2012 ASCP Annual Meeting, she served as a panelist for the general session on women's health care, “Advancing Patient-Centered Care for Women Across Our Globe: The Laboratory is Part of the Puzzle,” where she talked about her personal story.
“It's important to send the message that pathologists are a huge part of the healthcare team,” says Dr. Allison, who wrote Red Sunshine as a way to reach out to newly diagnosed breast cancer patients.
“Diagnostics are crucial to ensuring patients receive the right treatments. We are entering the golden era for pathologists where the histologic, molecular, and genetic information we provide is being used in exciting new ways. We need to educate clinicians and global health leaders about the value we provide as diagnosticians and consultants. It's also important to remember the patient side and what our impact is for them.”