August 24, 2012
Mocharnuk Named Director of Breast Center at SIU
Robert Mocharnuk, M.D., has been named the director of The Breast Center at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. The center focuses on comprehensive, research-based, patient-focused care for patients with breast cancer. It is located on the second floor of Simmons Cancer Institute (SCI) at SIU, 315 W. Carpenter St., Springfield.
He is an associate professor of internal medicine at the School of Medicine and a member of SCI. He specializes in breast cancer and genitourinary cancers, as well as non-malignant bleeding and clotting disorders.
The Breast Center, which opened in 1998, was one of the first 100 centers to be awarded accreditation by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), administered by the American College of Surgeons.
“Our commitment to interdisciplinary breast cancer care sets us apart from other programs,” Mocharnuk said. “The weekly interdisciplinary conference gathers physicians, surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, nursing staff and psychologists to discuss and decide the best treatment for our patients. This team approach to cancer allows the patient to see all of the doctors in one setting in one day and provides a consensus plan for treatment.”
Mocharnuk was recently recognized for his efforts to enroll patients in clinical trials by the National Cancer Institute in affiliation with the Community Clinical Oncology Program. Clinical trials are a vital component of advancing cancer research and treatment. However, only one to two percent of adults in the United States enroll in clinical trials. “Enrolling in clinical trials is more difficult in the United States because of the large amounts of paperwork patients and physicians must complete,” Mocharnuk said.
Mocharnuk has also been an advocate for new state laws that require insurance companies to cover clinical trials and that affect insurance coverage for oral chemotherapy.
He testified in a state senate committee in May 2011 regarding equal insurance coverage for oral chemotherapy medications. Prior to the new law, insurance companies either didn’t cover oral chemotherapy medication or required a large co-payment. Mocharnuk said the legislation was about doing the right thing. “It shouldn’t be a choice between taking care of yourself or mortgaging the farm,” he told committee members. Both bills became law in January 2012.
Mocharnuk has served in the Division of Hematology/Oncology in the Department of Internal Medicine at SIU since 2007. He is a native of California and was an associate professor of medicine in the hematology division at University of Southern California (USC) Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles (2000-07, 1996-2000), before moving to Springfield in 2007.
Mocharnuk was also a member of the Los Angeles Hematology/Oncology Medical Group (1996-2000) and medical director of the Cancer Detection Center at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles (2000-02).
He completed a hematology/medical oncology fellowship and his internal medicine residency at USC/Los Angeles County Medical Center (1996, 1993). He earned his medical degree from Texas Tech University School of Medicine in Lubbock (1990). He earned his master’s in education and his bachelor’s in English from Stanford University (1980, 1979).
Board certified in internal medicine, medical oncology and hematology, Mocharnuk’s memberships include the American Society of Hematology, American College of Physicians and American Society of Clinical Oncology. He has authored more than 100 articles as a senior medical writer for Medscape/Web MD (1997-2003) and has served as the hematology/oncology editor for ClinicalOptions.com (2003-07).
Mocharnuk is married to Erin Foley, and they have two children.
The mission of Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU is to serve the people of central and southern Illinois by addressing their present and future cancer needs through education, research, patient care and community service. Its website is www.siumed.edu/cancer.