The Department of Surgery’s programs in breast cancer and melanoma partner with specialists across the continuum of care to provide world-class treatment for patients throughout the Commonwealth. Our experienced breast surgeons specialize exclusively in breast cancer procedures, and our experienced melanoma surgeons specialize almost exclusively in melanoma. Our collective expertise provides patients with the knowledge and tools to successfully combat all stages of breast cancer and melanoma. The comprehensive array of surgical procedures we perform for breast cancer include breast conserving surgery, axillary surgery, sentinel lymph node biopsy, lumpectomy, mastectomy, and intra-operative radiation therapy. The procedures we perform for melanoma include excisions, sentinel node biopsy, axillary, inguinal, pelvic surgery and complex soft tissue resections, with skin grafting if needed. We also collaborate closely with colleagues in other surgical specialties to manage selected sites of disease. Our teams identify and perform the most effective treatments in our state-of-the-art facilities.
David Brenin, MD Chief, Breast and Melanoma Surgery Division
The Division of Breast and Melanoma Surgery is dedicated to providing the highest quality, most advanced and multi-disciplinary oncology care available. We approach every patient and their disease with an experienced eye to provide the best possible individualized cure and as a unique opportunity to advance the treatment of malignancy.
David Brenin, MD Chief, Breast and Melanoma Surgery Division 434-924-2625
David Brenin, MD, FACS is the M.C. Wilhelm Professor in Diseases of the Breast and Chief of the Division of Breast and Melanoma Surgery, in the department of surgery at UVA’s School of Medicine. His clinical practice specializes in the treatment of breast cancer and benign diseases of the breast. Dr. Brenin is an expert on surgical procedures involving the breast including lumpectomy, sentinel node biopsy, axillary dissection, nipple-sparing mastectomy and IORT.
Dr. Brenin is a graduate of New York Medical College, and completed his surgical residency training in Chicago, at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He went on to complete a Breast Surgical Oncology fellowship at the same institution. Dr. Brenin joined the faculty at UVA in 2002 and his primary research interests revolve around ablative therapies for the treatment of breast tumors and immunotherapy.
Lynn Dengel, MD is a board-certified and fellowship-trained surgical oncologist. After finishing her undergraduate degree at Dartmouth College, she received her medical degree from the Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington D.C., where she graduated cum laude and was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society. She subsequently completed general surgery residency at the University of Virginia Hospital Medical Center in Charlottesville, VA, where she received the Award of Academic Excellence from the department of surgery. Dr. Dengel completed a fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. She has authored and co-authored several articles in leading peer-reviewed publications, including the Annals of Surgical Oncology, Journal of Clinical Oncology, and Annals of Surgery.
Anneke Schroen, MD is a surgical oncologist specializing in breast diseases at UVA Health, where she serves as Vice Chair for Faculty Development in the Department of Surgery. Her clinical practice focuses on the management of breast cancer as well as other breast diseases and provides care to patients both at the UVA Breast Center in Charlottesville and the UVA Breast Clinic in Culpeper.
After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Schroen earned her medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. She completed her general surgery residency and surgical breast oncology fellowship at UT Southwestern as well. She completed a research fellowship in clinical epidemiology and health services research at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Dr. Schroen joined the UVA faculty in 2002. She currently has appointments in the Department of Surgery and Department of Public Health Sciences. Her academic interests are broad and have included health services research in breast oncology, systematic factors affecting oncology clinical trial accrual, surgical education research, surgeon workforce, academic productivity measures, and unconscious bias in the workplace.
Dr. Showalter is a Virginia native. She grew up in northern Virginia and attended college and medical school at the University of Virginia. She then moved to Philadelphia where she completed her general surgery residency at Thomas Jefferson University and her Breast Surgical Oncology fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. During her time at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Showalter also completed coursework for a certificate in clinical research in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Following her surgical training Dr. Showalter returned to the University of Virginia as an Assistant Professor of Surgery in the Division of Surgical Oncology. Dr. Showalter now specializes in treating breast cancer and diseases of the breast. She also co-leads the Surgical Oncology Training Program, funded by the National Cancer Institute.
Craig Slingluff, MD is the Joseph Helms Farrow Professor of Surgery at UVA Health where he serves as the vice-chair for research in the Department of Surgery, co-leader of the UVA Cancer Center’s Cancer Therapeutics Program and director of the Cancer Center’s Human Immune Therapy Center. He also is co-chair of the Melanoma Committee of ECOG-ACRIN (Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group – American College of Radiology Imaging Network). He has 26 years of experience as a surgical oncologist at UVA. His clinical practice is focused on melanoma management, and he leads the Melanoma Multidisciplinary Team in the Cancer Center. He also cares for patients with other unusual cutaneous malignancies. His research laboratory and clinical trials program study the immune response to cancer and develops new immunologic therapies for melanoma and other cancers. Much of his work is focused on developing effective cancer vaccines against melanoma, to protect against recurrence, and to prolong life of patients with melanoma. He has led over 20 clinical trials of cancer vaccines and other immune therapies. He has been funded continuously by the National Cancer Institute and Department of Defense for over 20 years and has mentored over 50 research fellows and students in translational and clinical cancer immunology research. He also founded and co-leads the Surgical Oncology Training Program funded by the National Cancer Institute since 2011.
Our highly experienced, award-winning breast surgeons are all fellowship trained and committed to the treatment of breast cancer in close coordination with a multi-disciplinary team. The comprehensive array of surgical procedures we perform – including breast conserving surgery, axillary surgery, sentinel lymph node biopsy, lumpectomy, all types of mastectomy with and without reconstruction, and intra-operative radiation therapy – allows our team to identify and carry out the most effective treatments in our state-of-the-art facilities.
The University of Virginia Breast Care Program includes specialists across the continuum of care to provide world class treatment. All patients treated at our institution benefit from the presentation of their case at our weekly multi-disciplinary breast cancer conference two times (both before and after surgery). During this weekly conference, the care of every breast cancer patient treated at UVA is discussed in detail. All patient information is reviewed including history, genetics, mammograms, ultrasounds, MRI’s, pathology slides, cosmetic, plastic surgical, and social concerns. Opportunities to participate in clinical trials of the most up-to-date treatments are considered. Our approach assures the best possible outcomes for all patients as it allows for close coordination between the many treating physicians of each patient’s individualized care. All aspects of every patient’s case are reviewed by our specialized physicians and agreed upon including: specific diagnosis, pre-operative evaluation, surgical planning, post-operative care, review of surgical pathology specimens, determination of chemotherapy needs, radiation therapy, and management of long-term follow-up.
At the University of Virginia, we are committed to treating patients with melanoma in a multi-disciplinary approach including surgery, radiology, medical oncology, dermatology, pathology, and innovative clinical trials. These specialties are represented at our weekly educational conferences, where every patient’s case is reviewed prospectively to develop treatment plans based on the histologic sections from their biopsies or surgery and on their clinical presentation as well as their expected responses to standard and experimental treatment protocols.
Additional expertise from specialty groups including head and neck surgeons, dermatologists, plastic surgeons, ophthalmologists and neurosurgeons are available readily, within this team approach.
We currently offer patients standard surgical management and consultation care regarding adjuvant therapy with effective new systemic therapies as well as experimental melanoma vaccines. We are actively involved in developing some of these novel therapies and are able to provide advice to patients about alternatives available regionally and nationally. We are developing treatment protocols for patients with advanced unresectable disease as well as patients with high risk resected disease and are happy to provide consultation and treatment as desired and appropriate.
Education and Training
Our annual meeting features didactic sessions, discussions, and interactive case presentations. The intent of the course is to provide clinicians with practical information related to breast imaging and breast care and will include the latest information on new screening methods and treatment of breast cancer.
Research in Breast Cancer and Melanoma
Our commitment to improving patient care includes finding better ways to treat patients with breast cancer and melanoma. For this reason, clinical and laboratory based research is central to what we do.
UVA is pleased to offer women with early-stage breast cancer a new, clinical research option: PrecisionBreast IORT. Typically, women with early-stage breast cancer may choose to be treated with a mastectomy or with breast-conserving therapy, which involves a lumpectomy and radiation therapy. Standard whole breast irradiation involves weeks of daily treatments.
UVA now offers PrecisionBreast IORT, a unique form of intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) that utilizes CT image guidance and high-dose rate brachytherapy to provide a single, full prescription dose of radiation at the time of a patient’s breast surgery.
Precision Breast IORT is offered at UVA as part of a phase II clinical trial and is performed by a team of breast cancer specialists, including surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists and brachytherapy physicists.
We are one of very few centers able to offer studies of focused ultrasound ablation (FUSA) for the treatment of benign and malignant breast tumors, and the combination of FUSA with immunotherapy to treat breast cancer. This is an interdepartmental effort involving close work with UVA Radiology and Medical Oncology, as well as a cross grounds collaborations.
Treatment of melanoma is now possible with immune therapies, and UVA offers all FDA-approved immune therapies. However for patients with stage II melanoma and some early stage III melanomas, such therapies are not available or recommended. UVA offers clinical trials of experimental melanoma vaccines alone or combined with other therapies which are not available anywhere else in the U.S.
“A note seems inadequate to express my gratitude for your help at this narrow point in my life. Of course your skill and expertise are remarkable but your kindness, humor and respect was outstanding and made the path smoother. You’re a rock star in our book!”
“I am so glad that the IORT study led me to you so that you could be my most excellent surgeon. I am fortunate to have your skill and wisdom applied to my care.”
“Thank you and your amazing staff for the care you have given me. You are an amazing person and a fabulous surgeon. I knew it the moment we met. Thank you for saving my life.”
“Thank you so much for making my cancer experience a good one. You were so patient and thoughtful in answering our questions and we had complete confidence in your surgical ability. Your staff is incredible as well.”