Penny R. Anderson, MD
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Fox Chase Cancer Center
333 Cottman Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19111
Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology
Director, Breast and Gynecologic Radiation Oncology
Vice Chair for Quality Assurance and Process Improvement
After completing my training at Fox Chase, I joined the radiation oncology department attending staff in 1999. I chose to stay at Fox Chase because I wanted to remain in a research setting at a hospital with the highest excellence in cancer care. In my practice, I specialize in treating patients with gynecological cancers, breast cancer and sarcoma.
As a female oncologist, I address the many unique treatment issues specific to women. My patients discuss their personal issues surrounding their cancer, as well as the side effects of treatment. It is gratifying to offer comfort, not only through radiation treatment, but afterwards in their follow-up care.
As director of breast and gynecologic radiation oncology, I believe it is important to spend time educating my patients. These women have many personal issues related to quality-of-life. We provide education and support from diagnosis throughout treatment and follow-up care.
A particular accomplishment of mine was changing the practice of gynecological high-dose-rate brachytherapy in 2001 from an inpatient to an outpatient procedure for patients. This procedure is now much easier for patients to tolerate, while maximizing our highest quality of care.
At Fox Chase, we use the most sophisticated technology for both external beam (IMRT) radiation therapy and brachytherapy. We have a CT and an MRI simulator for gynecological cancer treatment planning. We use CT/MR-based brachytherapy treatment planning for patients with gynecological cancers.
As a breast cancer specialist, I am part of the Breast Evaluation Center's multispecialty team at Fox Chase. My role is integral in developing the best course of treatment for our newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. At Fox Chase, we use IMRT to treat women with breast cancer.
In treating patients with sarcoma, I collaborate with the surgeons and medical oncologists to determine the best course of treatment. Before surgery, radiation therapy helps to reduce the tumor's size, making it easier to remove. Following surgery, radiation therapy can improve local control and chance for cure. In treating sarcomas, we use an MR simulator in the planning process, which helps improve accuracy of treatment.
Research is another interest of mine. I am a member of multiple national committees aimed at constantly improving and advancing the treatment and outcome of gynecologic and breast cancers. I am the principal investigator for several national trials evaluating novel, innovative approaches for breast and gynecologic cancer treatment. Each year, I am invited to present at many professional meetings, including the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG), ASTRO (American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology), and the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG).
- Fellow, Radiation Oncology, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA
- Resident, Radiation Oncology, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA
- MD, Lewis Katz School of Medicine, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, 1994
- American Board of Radiology, Therapeutic Radiology
- American Society of Clinical Oncology
- American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology
- Radiation Therapy Oncology Group
- Gynecologic Oncology Group
- Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group
- American Brachytherapy Society
In November 2014, at the age of 58, Judith Ingraham noticed a small lump on the lower part of her left leg near her ankle. “I went to my primary care physician who sent me for an ultrasound and then an MRI. The results were inconclusive so I went for a second opinion and an X-ray. I was told by that doctor to leave it alone unless it grew larger and he insisted it would never be cancer,” recalls Judith.
In the spring of 2011, Michelle Palandro noticed a hard bump on her hip so she had her doctor check it out. The doctor ordered an X-ray which showed “fatty tissue in normal limits.” She followed her doctor’s recommendation and didn't worry about it, especially because she was so healthy and active. Then in July, after a moderate mountain hike, she developed excruciating pain in her lower leg. She went to a general surgeon to have the growth removed the following month. Tests revealed she had malignant stage 3 liposarcoma, a type of tumor that grows within the fat cells in deep soft tissue.
"Get a second opinion, and go to a nationally recognized cancer center!" This is the advice Rosella Nelson wants everyone who has been diagnosed with cancer to hear. Had she not practiced what she preaches, Rosella would have had both breasts removed needlessly in 2007 at her local hospital. Fortunately, a second opinion at Fox Chase Cancer Center provided Rosella with alternatives, as well as hope.
Breast Cancer; Gynecologic Cancers; Brachytherapy