Dr. Richa Sharma, an oncologist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital who focuses on DNA repair disorders like A-T, has become available to consult with local doctors as they plan treatments for A-T patients who have developed cancer.
Approximately 30% of people with A-T develop cancer. Lymphomas and leukemias (lymphoid cancers) are by far the most common forms, especially in A-T patients who are less than 20 years old. Over the age of 20, people with A-T are also susceptible to a wide variety of solid tumors that are usually seen only in much older individuals who do not have A-T. Solid tumors may involve the breast, esophagus, stomach, liver, colon, and skin, among other organs.
Because some cancer therapies can be toxic for people with A-T, making treatment planning more complex, patients should be treated in academic oncology centers after consulting with physicians who have specific expertise in A-T.
Dr. Sharma is an instructor in the hematology department at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, a premiere center for research and treatment of potentially fatal childhood diseases, including cancer and certain blood, genetic and immunodeficiency disorders. To reach Dr. Sharma, physicians can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.