Klimberg Named UAMS Chair in Breast Surgical Oncology

V. Suzanne Klimberg, M.D., today became the recipient of the Muriel Balsam Kohn Chair in Breast Surgical Oncology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Klimberg is chief of the Division of Breast Surgical Oncology at UAMS and a professor in the Departments of Surgery and Pathology. She also is director of the Breast Cancer Program at the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute as well as director of Breast Fellowship in Diseases of the Breast at UAMS.

"Dr. Klimberg is a champion for breast cancer patients and survivors," UAMS Chancellor I. Dodd Wilson, M.D. said in a statement "She fights tirelessly to ease the burden of this disease, which affects so many of our mothers, sisters, wives and daughters. We honor her today for her compassionate patient care and her pioneering research that has changed the way we look at breast cancer."

The endowed chair is the result of a gift from the Tenenbaum Foundation. The foundation's primary objectives include providing humanitarian assistance to residents of central Arkansas, promoting awareness of breast cancer and funding research to reduce or eliminate deaths from the disease.

The chair is named in honor of Muriel Balsam Kohn, mother of Judy Tenenbaum, who died of breast cancer in 1993.

Klimberg is recognized for her breast cancer research initiatives, including a study funded by the Tenenbaum Breast Cancer Research Foundation of breast cancer patients at risk for developing lymphedema. To prevent the arm swelling, Klimberg developed the Axillary Reverse Mapping (ARM) procedure. The new technique evaluates the ways in which fluid drains through the lymph node system in the arm.

Klimberg also pioneered the use of a procedure known as radiofrequency ablation for breast cancer patients. The procedure is designed to reduce or eliminate the need for follow-up surgery, reduce recurrence of breast cancer at the original site, and even reduce the need for radiation treatment.

Results of the study from UAMS found that 91 percent of breast cancer patients who underwent breast-conserving surgery followed by radiofrequency ablation did not require a second surgery to remove additional malignant tissue. UAMS is the first hospital to use the procedure to treat breast cancer.