Dr. John A. Butler focuses on developing new medical and surgical treatments for breast cancer

December 01, 2012
Dr. John A. Butler, Surgical Director of the Breast Health Center

Dr. John A. Butler, surgical director of the Breast Health Center at UC Irvine Medical Center, attends patients at the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, Orange County's only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center.

Butler also actively conducts cancer research. His work focuses on investigating and developing more effective technologies for diagnosing breast cancer, as well as evaluating promising medical and surgical treatments. Another area of clinical investigation involves assessing how a reduction in dietary fat intake may help prolong survival in women with breast cancer.

In a collaborative study with colleagues at the UC Irvine Beckman Laser Institute & Medical Clinic, Butler has been studying the use of new noninvasive optical probes that can distinguish malignant breast tumors from benign growths and normal breast tissue. Based on a technology called frequency-domain photon migration, the handheld device sends laser light into the breast tissue and/or mass. Variations in the way different tissues scatter and absorb light are used to diagnose suspicious growths. The device may be particularly helpful in examining premenopausal women who tend to have dense breast tissue, which makes it more difficult to determine if a mass is malignant or benign.

Butler has also served as principal investigator and co-investigator on many clinical studies evaluating new chemotherapies for various cancers, and has conducted research on the genetic basis of cancer risk.  He has published dozens of papers in scientific journals, edited book chapters on medical and surgical oncology, and co-authored a reference text on surgery for medical students, residents and practicing surgeons. A frequent presenter on advances in cancer research, Butler has served as a keynote speaker at professional meetings of surgeons and oncologists, as well as guest lecturer at society meetings, symposiums and medical center grand rounds.

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