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Cancer-Infectious Diseases (Cancer-ID) Program

The Cancer-Infectious Diseases (Cancer-ID) Program is an integrated multidisciplinary clinic that will provide supportive consultative services to people with HIV and cancer. Dedicated HIV/ID specialists from Yale Medicine will work closely with the patient’s oncology care team to manage care for patients with HIV undergoing cancer treatment. A team of providers, including surgical oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and pathologists, will provide consultative services for people with HIV with hematologic malignancies, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, head and neck, thoracic, dermatologic, and breast cancers, as well as those with Kaposi Sarcoma, liver, gynecologic, and neuro-oncologic malignancies. Access to a wide variety of support services and clinical trials is also available.

Our Approach

People with HIV have higher rates of cancer incidence compared to uninfected individuals. In addition, they have worse outcomes after a diagnosis of cancer. Because the majority of cancer clinical trials do not include patients with HIV among their study population, there is little evidence-based guidance with regard to cancer care for these patients. What’s more, the patient experience may additionally suffer because this patient population includes an underserved and understudied group who are often impacted by health inequities and health disparities. With the advent of immune-based therapies and personalized approaches to cancer care, the lack of data within the HIV population to guide treatment decision-making further impacts health disparities among this underserved population. 

The Cancer-Infectious Diseases, or Cancer-ID program, was established in July 2022 to provide consultative care to patients with HIV who are also diagnosed with cancer. Brinda Emu, MD, serves as the director of the Cancer-ID program. She and Mark Lustberg, MD, are HIV specialists with a specific interest in cancer care and will see patients on a consultative basis. The Cancer-ID program will be located within the Nathan Smith Clinic, which is directed by Lydia Aoun-Barakat, MD.

The program additionally has the support of Yale Cancer Center leadership. It is led by Jill Lacy, MD, and a large network of consultative affiliated oncology faculty members across all oncology disease areas, who serve as liaisons and ambassadors within the Yale Cancer Center to ensure appropriate and timely care to patients with both HIV and cancer, including access to clinical care and ancillary services. 

There are three main goals of the Cancer-ID program: 

  • Provide consultative care to patients with both HIV and cancer to facilitate and manage both HIV infection and cancer care throughout and beyond cancer treatment 
  • Improve the patient experience while receiving cancer care
  • Identify and engage patients in research activities and clinical trials when appropriate

The program additionally hopes to build expertise in the clinical care of cancer among people with HIV, provide outreach to the community to improve cancer prevention and screening, and identify and address research needs in the area of cancer epidemiology, prevention, biology, and clinical care to improve our understanding of the intersection of these two epidemics: HIV and cancer.