Researchers
Meet the Researchers

These researchers dedicate their careers to finding new treatments and cures for people with cancer. 

Kala Visvanathan
Researchers
Kala Visvanathan, MD, MHS Works to Prevent Cancer in Every Patient
Could broccoli prevent cancer? That’s one of the things Kala Visvanathan, MD, MHS, is studying. With the help of donor-supported grants, including a Career Development Award, Dr. Visvanathan researches how to prevent cancer and keep it from reoccurring.

Preventing Cancer Starts with Understanding People

“To be successful in preventing cancer,” says Dr. Visvanathan, “we need to understand what is happening in the real world.” 

Why, for example, are there some patients who have not had germline testing to determine if they are a BRCA1/BRCA2 carrier, even though they fit the criteria for testing? The test, which has been available for 15 years, indicates the likelihood for developing ovarian, breast, and other types of cancer. Still, not all patients are aware the test exists, have access to the testing, or feel comfortable taking advantage of it. 

“We found the disparity to be worse among individuals of low socioeconomic status, even if they have insurance,” explains Dr. Visvanathan. “This group of individuals and their families could benefit enormously from prevention given the rising costs of treatment.” 

Looking Ahead to the Future of Cancer Prevention

“To reduce the risk of cancer in women and men, we must remove any barriers so that patients and providers not only have access to the best care, but also understand the benefits of prevention.” 

Dr. Visvanathan evaluates real world information to uncover real world solutions. “I believe strongly that technological advances enabling us to merge large databases from multiple sources that have information on all types of individuals can be used to better understand the source of the disparities and then identify effective solutions to address them,” says Dr. Visvanathan. 

Dr. Visvanathan and her team continue to explore new avenues in research and look to the next generation of scientists to help uncover new information. 

“Women researchers are an important part of the solution to improving cancer outcomes.” 

To reduce the risk of cancer in women and men, we must remove any barriers so that patients and providers not only have access to the best care, but also understand the benefits of prevention.
Kala Visvanathan, MD, MHS