Race for the Cure Honorary Co-Host Dedicates Her Life to Saving Lives of Breast Cancer Patients
Dr. Coral Omene sees the effects of breast cancer on women every single day as a medical oncologist at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and RWJBarnabas Health. She has dedicated her career, her research and her life to caring for patients, exploring new breast cancer therapies and seeing more survivors.
“I have always been passionate about women’s health,” said Omene.
Omene is this year’s Race for the Cure co-host, inspiring attendees to march, run and walk in honor or in celebration of loved ones affected by breast cancer. Race for the Cure, held on Sunday, November 5 at Six Flags Great Adventure, is a day dedicated to making an impact in the community by raising funds and awareness, celebrating breast cancer survivorship and honoring those who have lose their battle with this disease.
“I can’t wait to cheer alongside and celebrate the life of these remarkable breast cancer survivors and, in doing so, help raise funds to continue the fight against breast cancer,” said Omene.
Passion to End Breast Cancer Forever
She began her career in breast cancer care after receiving a combined MD/PhD degree at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and afterwards obtained a PhD studying the interactions between the BRCA1 breast cancer gene and the protein BARD1 (BRCA1-associated RING domain protein), which was previously discovered in her laboratory, as a mechanism for defeating tumor growth.
“This turn in my career set the path for my lifelong interest in breast cancer,” said Omene.
Throughout her experiences studying to become an oncologist, Omene has dedicated her life to researching new treatments and discoveries to the care of breast cancer patients, particularly those of an underserved population.
“One of the major issues with health care disparities in this population is the access to quality oncological care,” explained Omene.
Omene has made it her mission to help close disparity gaps when it comes to accessing breast cancer care to those who need it most in our 13-county service area, a goal Komen Central and South Jersey is dedicated to fulfilling.
Money raised from Race for the Cure helps to fund programs that provide breast cancer services for uninsured or underinsured women and men in our local communities, including mammograms, diagnostic tests, patient navigation services, transportation, breast cancer education and so much more.
“I am excited to continue working with the diverse population in our communities, offering access to cutting-edge research and clinical trials,” said Omene.
A Daily Fight to Save Lives
Omene’s days consist of clinical activities, taking care of a diverse group of patients with different types of breast cancers.
“I may see patients with a new diagnosis of breast cancer where I explain to them the meaning of their diagnosis, stage, prognosis and treatment options,” said Omene. “There are also patients who come in for routine follow up while on treatment and we discuss their progress and any issues they may have.”
She also sees patients who have completed treatment at routine visits where she checks for any signs on mammograms or symptoms of recurrence of the disease.
“In all cases, I discuss clinical trial options that may be available and encourage enrollment,” said Omene.
Omene dedicates time to focus on her research, particularly focusing on triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) and its many challenges.
“I am fascinated by TNBC and the lack of effective therapies, especially given its aggressive nature, poor prognosis, complex biology and negative impact that it has on young African-American women, and women of Latina and Caribbean descent,” said Omene.
Recently, she has been working on a research project funded by the National Cancer Institute, aimed at reducing the risk of developing TNBC. This research has the potential to be used as chemoprevention (the use of medication to lower one’s risk of developing cancer), or to prevent cancer recurrence for TNBC patients and high-risk populations, once again helping to close the disparity gaps that exist in breast cancer care.
Coming Together to End Breast Cancer Forever
Dr. Omene’s dedication to ending this disease will be celebrated at Race for the Cure, alongside thousands of women and men in our communities who are racing to save lives.
“I am constantly awed by the strength and courage of all the women I meet fighting breast cancer every day. My experience to date makes me confident to encourage these women that they should remain strong and never give up hope, because we continue to make significant strides in breast cancer research that impacts the survival of these women with exciting new therapies,” said Omene.
You can join Dr. Omene in her mission to eradicating breast cancer forever. Act, donate, get involved with Race for the Cure.