Jeannie Shen, MD, a Fellowship-Trained Breast Surgeon, Is Medical Director of the Breast Program and the International Health Program at the Cedars-Sinai Affiliate
Jeannie Shen, MD, a fellowship-trained breast surgeon who is board-certified in general surgery, has been appointed medical director of the Breast Program at Huntington Cancer Center, an affiliate of Cedars-Sinai Cancer, and medical director of Huntington Hospital International Health.
“Dr. Shen will support the growth and vision of a comprehensive breast program for the San Gabriel Valley, expanding the community’s access to quality cancer diagnostics, treatments and innovative cancer care,” said Armando E. Giuliano, MD, regional medical director of the Cedars-Sinai Cancer Breast Oncology Program.
Shen earned her medical degree and served a general surgery internship and her general surgery residency at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, and completed a breast surgical oncology fellowship at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. When Shen trained in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the idea of a breast surgery specialist was fairly new.
“At the time, no special training was suggested for physicians who wanted to go into breast surgery,” Shen said. “But I wanted to be the very best breast surgeon I could be, so I applied for a fellowship. At MD Anderson Cancer Center, I was their second breast surgical oncology fellow, which shows you how new breast fellowships were.”
Shen, who is American-born Chinese and speaks Mandarin fluently, said many of her patient visits are about education—and are often conducted in Mandarin.
“Many patients come in well informed, but there’s just so much to know,” Shen said. “Sometimes it can be difficult for patients to understand what applies to them and what doesn’t. After one recent consult, my patient told me, ‘We’ve been researching online for a week, but now we actually understand what we were reading. We understand the plan, and we feel very optimistic.’”
Shen is also a trained medical acupuncturist and has collaborated with Huntington Cancer Center’s integrative oncology nurse practitioner in clinical trials to test acupuncture as a complementary therapy to address nausea and other common side effects that can occur after breast surgery.
For Huntington Cancer Center’s Breast Program, Shen hopes to maintain a team of high-quality physicians for surgery, reconstruction, and medical and radiation oncology; to provide complementary supportive services; and to open up access for San Gabriel Valley patients to innovative treatments. As medical director of Huntington Hospital International Health, she hopes to broaden the program’s reach further.
“Cedars-Sinai serves one of the most diverse patient populations in the country,” said Dan Theodorescu, MD, PhD, director of Cedars-Sinai Cancer and the PHASE ONE Distinguished Chair. “As medical director of Huntington Hospital International Health, Dr. Shen will develop initiatives to bring the clinical care and groundbreaking research—such as the Molecular Twin precision medicine initiative—that Cedars-Sinai Cancer is known for, to our patients here and internationally.”
Shen advised women newly diagnosed with breast cancer not to panic.
“The majority of breast cancers identified on screening mammograms are early stage, and the prognosis is very good,” Shen said. “Increasingly, breast cancer treatment plans are personalized and developed to ensure the most effective treatment, while minimizing long-term side effects.”
Shen’s breast cancer prevention advice is to maintain a healthy weight and make time for regular physical activity—at least 30 minutes per day.
“I know we women are busy with our careers and being good mothers, good daughters, good sisters and good wives,” Shen said, “but find time to take care of yourself and prioritize your health. If you are not healthy, you can’t take care of others.”