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BCRF Grantee Since


Area(s) of Focus

Lawrence N. Shulman, MD

Deputy Director for Clinical Services
Director, Center for Global Cancer Medicine
Abramson Cancer Center
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Current Research

Breast cancer is a major public health concern in low and middle income countries (LMCs) such as Rwanda, where women have a much higher risk of dying, in part because of delayed diagnoses and late-stage presentations. Without the correct diagnosis, optimal treatment cannot be given, and the chance for successful treatment outcome is greatly diminished. In addition, it is critical that the correct diagnosis is made rapidly so that patients suffering from cancer can have treatment instituted quickly. Very little is known, however, about effective ways to promote early detection of breast cancer in settings where mammography screening is not widely available and health care resources are highly limited. With continued funding from BCRF, Drs. Shulman and Mpunga have launched a pilot program to promote early detection of breast cancer in Burera District, a remote rural area of Rwanda where Rwanda’s first national cancer facility, the Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence (BCCOE), is located. In the initial phase of the project, the team trained 66 health center nurses in clinical breast exam and evaluation of breast concerns, and 508 community health workers (CHWs) in the basics of breast awareness and patient education. As a result of these trainings, both health center nurses and CHWs demonstrated significant improvements in knowledge and skills. In the coming year the research team will continue to measure the impact of these trainings on patient volume, diagnostic delays and breast cancer stage, and lay the groundwork for assessment of breast cancer survival. These efforts will further build capacity to efficiently evaluate and care for the growing number of women with breast concerns who come to the Butaro Hospital. The researchers envision this program as a model for early detection efforts throughout Rwanda and the region.


Lawrence N. Shulman, M.D., is the Deputy Director for Clinical Services of the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania, and Director of their newly formed Center for Global Cancer Medicine.  He has a leadership role in the strategic development of cancer services for the Cancer Center and its affiliated hospitals.

Dr. Shulman is the former Chair of American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Quality of Care Committee. He is a member of the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons, and Chair of their Quality Integration Committee. 

Dr. Shulman serves as Senior Oncology Advisor to Partners In Health (PIH), a non-profit organization co-founded by Dr. Paul Farmer, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, and Ophelia Dahl in 1987. Over the past five years, PIH has expanded its mission to include supporting the establishment of national cancer treatment programs with the Ministries of Health in Rwanda and Haiti. In addition he works with the cancer program in Botswana.  Dr. Shulman is a member of ASCO’s Global Oncology Leadership Task Force and International Affairs Committee.

A specialist in the treatment of patients with breast cancer, his research includes development of new cancer therapies, and implementation of cancer treatment programs in low-resource settings.

He received his MD from Harvard Medical School, and trained in Hematology and Oncology at the Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, MA.