Cancer Geneticist to Lead New High Risk Cancer Program at Pelisyonkis Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center
Medical oncologist Ophira Ginsburg, MD, has joined Pelisyonkis Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center as director of its new High Risk Cancer Program, which identifies, studies, and cares for patients with hereditary syndromes that increase cancer risk.
Dr. Ginsburg also holds a faculty appointment in the medical center’s Department of Population Health, where she is further developing her global cancer control research focusing on cancer disparities in North America as well as in low- and middle-income countries. Her efforts to improve cancer outcomes—particularly for women—in underserved populations began in 2004 and led her to the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva, where she served as Medical Officer for Cancer Control from 2015-2016.
Dr. Ginsburg’s clinical interests are in hereditary cancer predisposition and clinical guidance for risk reduction strategies. In her previous appointments at the University of Toronto, and as director of a cancer genetics program there for the last 10 years, she and her team helped families understand their risks for developing cancer, and helped shape provincial policies for cancer genetics testing and risk reduction strategies for high risk women and men.
For example, women who test positive for a mutation in one of the BRCA genes, which are closely tied to breast and ovarian cancers, may opt for enhanced breast screening with MRI, or to have a preventive mastectomy, and may also choose surgical removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes.
“Genetic counseling plays a critical role in navigating patients and their families through complex decision-making processes, including ways to reduce risk of developing cancer,” says Benjamin G. Neel, MD, PhD, director of Perlmutter Cancer Center. “Dr. Ginsburg is uniquely qualified to lead these services for our patients.”
About Dr. Ginsburg
An undergraduate alumna of Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Dr. Ginsburg earned a master of science degree from McGill University and her medical degree from Queen’s University. She completed her residency training in internal medicine and medical oncology at the University of Toronto and served a postdoctoral fellowship in epidemiology and statistics at the Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer at the Ontario Cancer Institute.
She has published widely on cancer genetics, breast cancer epidemiology, and global cancer control, including recent book chapters in Disease Control Priorities, Third Edition (World Bank) and the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Atlas, Second Edition (ACS). In 2014, she was invited by The Lancet to lead a three-part series on the global crisis of breast and cervical cancer in low- and middle-income countries, which was published in November 2016.
“I'm thrilled to join the faculty of Pelisyonkis Langone,” Dr. Ginsburg says. “Perlmutter Cancer Center is one of the best cancer centers in the U.S. The diversity, interdisciplinary collaboration, and intersection of cancer care and public health, through its work with the Department of Population Health, make this the best place to be.”