Xavier Llor, MD, PhD, is a gastroenterologist at Yale Medicine with a specialty in colorectal cancer and cancer genetics. He is the co-director of the Smilow Cancer Genetics and Prevention Program and the medical director of the Colorectal Cancer Prevention Program.
After receiving a medical school education from the Autonomous University in Barcelona, Dr. Llor trained in basic research and internal medicine at the University of Chicago and completed his PhD in molecular biology from the University of Barcelona. His background as both a clinician and researcher led him to specialize in cancer genetics, where he works to identify specific genes that make a person more susceptible to gastrointestinal cancers. “One of the most rewarding things about this field is that every day we seem to discover more, and that knowledge is translated very quickly into patients’ lives,” says Dr. Llor.
As a physician, Dr. Llor uses his research to screen for cancer in his patients. The goal is to detect cancer risk as early as possible. This knowledge can help patients take measures to prevent cancer, or it can help doctors treat patients with cancer as early as possible. “The earlier a cancer is detected, the better the prognosis is,” says Dr. Llor.
In addition, genetic defects that are linked to gastrointestinal cancers may also be linked to cancers in other parts of the body. “We take a broad and comprehensive approach to patients in making sure that we prevent all cancers that are linked to those particular genetic defects,” says Dr. Llor.
As a researcher, Dr. Llor continues to identify new genes that may be linked to colorectal cancers and better understand the link between stomach and breast cancer, and a mutation in the gene CDH1. He has also made important contributions to the field of Lynch syndrome (a hereditary form of colorectal cancer).
Dr. Llor teaches as an associate professor of medicine (digestive diseases) at Yale School of Medicine.