Joan James, PA-C
Family Risk Assessment Program
Meet other members of the
breast cancer treatment team
National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants;
Pennsylvania State Board of Medical Education and Licensure
My approach to healthcare has been the same since I started at Fox Chase nearly 30 years ago: to do my best as a member of the healthcare team and never let the patient down. I am proud to say that I was the first physician assistant (PA) hired at Fox Chase in 1979, because of the vision of a Medical Oncology Department that was among the first to recognize the value of PAs in this setting. I was 1 of 4 PAs that brought continuity of care to the inpatient and outpatient setting delivering top notch oncology care to our patients.
My goal is to help guide our patients through the maze of their cancer experience so that they can allow their healing to begin. Over the last 15 years I have also been working to prevent breast cancer in women at increased risk of the disease. I have shepherded these women through all aspects of their first chemoprevention clinical trial experience.
Many "firsts" have occurred in the medical oncology arena since 1979 and a few highlights of my career include:
- Meeting thousands of truly remarkable patients and participants.
- Working on a research protocol utilizing high dose steroids to prevent nausea and vomiting from platinum based chemotherapy in the early 1980's.
- Helping Dr. Mary Daly establish a high risk clinic for women at increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer in the early 1990's.
- Reaching out to the community to educate family practitioners about the importance of cancer screening tests for the elderly and teaching them to do a clinical breast exam.
- Looking out for the welfare of patients as a member of the Institutional Review Board for over fifteen years.
- Helping Fox Chase achieve national prominence as a top accruer to the NSABP's Breast Cancer Prevention Trial and the Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene to Prevent Breast Cancer.
- Working side by side with some of the finest researchers in breast cancer chemoprevention throughout the United States and Canada.
To work in a comprehensive cancer center that can see the value of all members of the health care team is a beautiful thing indeed!
Lastly, I must share with you my favorite story. In the early 1980's I arranged for my lung cancer patient to see his four year old daughter before a surgical procedure since young children were not allowed in patient rooms early in the morning. As he received chemotherapy, surgery and radiation treatments I would reassure him that we would get him through this and he would dance at his daughter's wedding. We have kept in touch throughout the years and I received a wonderful present in the mail a few years ago - a picture of my patient and his daughter dancing at her wedding!
Hahnemann University, Philadelphia, Pa., Physician Assistant Program, 1976
Honors and Awards
Special Contributors Award, Fox Chase Cancer Center, 1988;
Silver Key Award, Friends of the Hospital of Fox Chase Cancer Center, 1994;
Shining Light Award, Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition, 1997
Genetic Risk for Cancer: A Model for Cancer Control;
Fisher B., Costantino J., Wickerham D., Cecchini, R., Cronin, W., Robidoux, A., Bevers, T., Kavanah, M., Atkins, J., Margolese, R., Runowicz, C., James, J., Ford, L., and Wolmark, N.: Tamoxifen for the Prevention of Breast Cancer: Current Status of the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project P-1 Study. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Vol., 97, No. 22, November 16, 2005.