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I consider it an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to accompany my patients on their cancer journey. I am allowed to witness their strength and courage, to be exposed to the devotion of their families and friends, and to become part of their lives in a very special way.
By extending this care to family members through the risk assessment program, we can work together towards the reduction of risk and prevention of cancer. I like to approach every patient encounter as a mutual learning experience. It is an opportunity for me to share with each patient the latest information about their cancer and treatment or their cancer risk, and give them the tools they need to make informed decisions.
It is also an opportunity for them to teach me something about themselves, about their lives and families, and how they cope with illness and promote their own health. I always feel both drained and enriched after a day in clinic.
Director, Risk Assessment Program
Dr. Daly is a national leader in the field of clinical cancer genetics, and is the founder and director of one of the first cancer risk assessment and counseling programs in the country, established in 1991.
Dr. Daly is the founder and director of Fox Chase Cancer Center’s Risk Assessment Program, which is heavily grounded in research. The program has contributed to early observations regarding risk perception and risk-reducing behavior among women with a family history of breast and/or ovarian cancer, and has been instrumental in the development of state-of-the-art cancer risk counseling interventions...Expand
Dr. Daly’s primary areas of research include the epidemiologic and genetic aspects of breast and ovarian cancer, and the translation of this information into effective cancer control approaches.
As Project Co-Leader of the Fox Chase Ovarian SPORE grant, Dr. Daly has initiated studies of ovarian cancer screening modalities, quality of life after prophylactic surgery, serum biomarkers of breast and ovarian cancer risk and developed decision-making tools for women contemplating prophylactic surgery.
As Principal Investigator of the Philadelphia Breast Cancer Family Registry, she is collaborating with institutions worldwide to study the patterns of familial breast and ovarian cancer, gene-environment interactions, and the development of novel, genetic-based therapeutic and preventive strategies.
She chairs the Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Risk Panel for the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and is a member of its Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines and Breast Cancer Prevention Guidelines Panels.
Dr. Daly is a leader in the design of educational programs in cancer genetics and cancer risk for both high-risk individuals and for their health care providers.
She served as the Principal Investigator of the NSABP breast cancer prevention trials (P1 and STAR).
Dr. Daly is the Editor-in-Chief of the PDQ Cancer Genetics Board. She has co-authored over 225 peer-reviewed publications and has served on a number of editorial boards. Collapse
Fellow, Oncology, University of Texas Health Center, Austin, TX
Resident, Internal Medicine, University of Texas Health Center, Austin, TX
MD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, 1978
PhD, Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, 1973
MSPH, Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, 1971
BA, Biology, College of New Rochelle, New Rochelle, NY, 1965
Board Certified in Medical Oncology
Board Certified in Internal Medicine
Pennsylvania Medical License
New Jersey Medical License
Texas Medical License
National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN)
Breast Cancer Risk Reducation Panel
Breast Cancer Screening and Diagnosis Panel
Genetic/Familial High-Risk Assessment: Breast and Ovarian Panel
JNCCN Editorial Board
International Gynecologic Cancer Society
American Society of Clinical Oncology
American Association for Cancer Research
American Society for Preventive Oncology
American Public Health Association
Honors & Awards
Philadelphia Magazine Top Doctors, 2009-19
America’s Top Doctors®, 2015-2017
Susan G. Komen Light of Life Award, 2014
Women of Distinction Award, Philadelphia Business Journal, 2011
Cancer Control Award, American Cancer Society, 1996, 2004
I was a first grade teacher for six years before becoming a reading specialist for kids with learning disabilities. After having four children of my own, I decided to be a stay-at-home mom and teach my children, along with my nieces and nephews.
I am BRCA1 and BRCA2 positive, meaning I have mutations in those two genes that make me more susceptible to cancer. When I was 67 years old, I was diagnosed with premalignant pancreatic cysts and anal cancer in the same year.
Linda Snow was active, maintained a healthy diet, and underwent genetic testing, followed by two double mastectomies and a hysterectomy. So she was shocked that even with all of these precautionary procedures that she still got breast cancer. Linda sought treatment at Fox Chase Cancer Center, where she met with her treatment team. After a long road, she is now cancer free and credits her survival to Fox Chase. "Where you start your cancer treatment really does make a difference," said Linda. "You have got to act with a sense of urgency because it can mean the difference between life and death. I unequivocally believe that I am alive today because I chose Fox Chase."
In May 2008, Denise Portner, 45, underwent genetic testing that showed she carried the BRCA2 mutation, just like her mother and aunt, who had breast cancer. Genetic counselors at this hospital advised her to consider prophylactic oophorectomy, a surgical procedure to remove one or both of her ovaries to help reduce her risk for breast and ovarian cancers. Denise decided to get a second opinion from the Risk Assessment Program at Fox Chase Cancer Center, and on June 16, 2009, she learned that she had breast cancer, which changed her treatment plans. Instead, she had a double mastectomy that summer, followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and, later, the originally planned oophorectomy. "It was a challenging ride, but I always felt that I was getting the best possible treatment and that I was fortunate to have a world-class cancer center within a 10-minute drive of my home," Denise said. "If I had not been aware of my genetic status, I would not have had the MRI and would not have known that I had breast cancer."
Improving the Estimation and Communication of Ovarian Cancer Risk among BRCA1/2 and Lynch Syndrome Carriers to Optimize Decision Making
Translation of Genomics into Improvements in Cancer Prevention and Treatment
COGENT (Communicating Genetic Test Results by Telephone)
LEGACY (A cohort of youth in families from the Breast Cancer Family Registry)
Return of Genetic Research: Ethical Issues
The Risk Assessment Program at Fox Chase looks at your personal and possible inherited genetic factors that may put you at higher possibility for getting cancer. We comprehensively examine your profile for all cancer types, including — but not limited to — breast cancer, ovarian cancer, gastrointestinal cancers, prostate cancer, and melanoma. Knowing your risk helps you learn what you can do to lower your chances of getting cancer.
The Department of Clinical Genetics is built on the success of Fox Chase's Margaret Dyson Family Risk Assessment Program (now Risk Assessment Program), which Dr. Mary Daly began in 1991. A high-risk screening clinic was developed for individuals with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer. In addition to the clinic, genetic counseling was provided for both high risk and breast and ovarian cancer patients. As the clinic developed, it became clear that it was important to provide consultations for biopsy findings that put women at increased risk. Since then, Fox Chase has expanded risk assessment services to those at high risk for all cancers.
Pal T, Agnese D, Daly M, La Spada A, Litton J, Wick M, Klugman S, Esplin ED, Jarvik GP, Professional Practice G. Points to consider: is there evidence to support BRCA1/2 and other inherited breast cancer genetic testing for all breast cancer patients? A statement of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG). Genetics in Medicine, 22(4):681-5, 2020.
Houghton LC, Knight JA, Wei Y, Romeo RD, Goldberg M, Andrulis IL, Bradbury AR, Buys SS, Daly MB, John EM, Chung WK, Santella RM, Stanczyk FZ, Terry MB. “Association of Prepubertal and Adolescent Androgen Concentrations With Timing of Breast Development and Family History of Breast Cancer”. JAMA Netw Open. 2019 Feb 1;2(2):e190083. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.0083. PMID: 30794303
Terry MB, Daly MB, Phillips KA, Ma X, Zeinomar N, Leoce N, Dite GS, MacInnis RJ, Chung WK, Knight JA, Southey MC, Milne RL, Goldgar D, Giles GG, Weideman PC, Glendon G; kConFab Investigators, Buchsbaum R, Andrulis IL, John EM, Buys SS, Hopper JL. “Risk-Reducing Oophorectomy and Breast Cancer Risk Across the Spectrum of Familial Risk”.J Natl Cancer Inst. 2018 Nov 28. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djy182. [Epub ahead of print] PMID:30496449
Nicolas E, Demidova EV, Iqbal W, Serebriiskii IG, Vlasenkova R, Ghatalia P, Zhou Y, Rainey K, Forman AF, Dunbrack RL Jr, Golemis EA, Hall MJ, Daly MB, Arora S. Interaction of germline variants in a family with a history of early-onset clear cell renal cell carcinoma. Mol Genet Genomic Med. 2019 Mar;7(3):e556. doi: 10.1002/mgg3.556. Epub 2019 Jan 24. PMID: 30680959; PMCID: PMC6418363.
Frost CJ, Andrulis IL, Buys SS, Hopper JL, John EM, Terry MB, Bradbury A, Chung WK, Colbath K, Quintana N, Gamarra E, Egleston B, Galpern N, Bealin L, Glendon G, Patrick Miller L, Daly MB. “Assessing Patient Readiness for Personalized Genomic Medicine”. Journal of Community Genetics, 10 (1), 109-120. Received: 26 June 2017 /Accepted: 18 April 2018 https://doi.org/10.1007/s12687-018-0365-5 EPUB ahead of print 5.29.18
Wolf SM, Scholtes E, Koenig BA, Petersen GM, Berry SA, Beskow LM, Daly MB, Fernandez CV, Green RC, LeRoy BS, Lindor NM, O'Rourke PP, Breitkopf CR, Rothstein MA, Van Ness B, Wilfond BS. “Pragmatic Tools for Sharing Genomic Research Results with the Relatives of Living and Deceased Research Participants”. J Law Med Ethics. 2018 Mar;46(1):87-109. doi: 10.1177/1073110518766024. Epub 2018 Mar 27. No abstract available.
Buys, S.S., Sandbach, J.F., Gammon, A., Patel, G., Kidd, J., Brown, K.L., Sharma, L., Saam, J., Lancaster, J., Daly, M.B. “A Study of Over 35,000 Women with Breast Cancer Tested with a 25-gene Panel of Hereditary Cancer Genes,” Cancer 2017 May 15; 123(10): 1721-1730. doi: 10l1002/cncr.30498.
Daly, M.B., Montgomery, S., Bingler, R., Ruth, K. “Communicating Genetic Test Results within the Family: Is it Lost in Translation: A Survey of Relatives in the Randomized Six-Step Study,” Familial Cancer 2016;15(4):697-706. (PMCID: PMC5010833).