Oluwadamilola (Lola) Fayanju, MD

Oluwadamilola (Lola) Fayanju, MD

Titles and Affiliations

The Helen O. Dickens Presidential Associate Professor
Chief, Division of Breast Surgery
University of Pennsylvania

Areas of Focus

  • Heredity & Ethnicity
  • Treatment

Research area

Identifying and addressing factors that contribute to racial disparities in breast cancer outcomes that contribute to treatment delays or decrease treatment adherence.


Differences in treatment delivery and receipt are estimated to account for about 50 percent of the racial disparities seen in breast cancer-associated mortality. Dr. Fayanju and her team have identified modifiable factors that hinder timely care for women with breast cancer. These include logistical needs such as difficulty with transportation that are associated with delays in treatment among those with new breast cancer diagnoses. Dr. Fayanju is seeking ways to determine whether someone is at risk for treatment delay and non-adherence and identifying opportunities to mitigate these risks through a personalized approach. Her team hopes that refining how, at the time of diagnosis, women at risk for suboptimal care are identified will decrease disparities in time to evaluation, time to treatment, and treatment adherence and ultimately close the disparities gap.

What’s next

Dr. Fayanju will develop and optimize ways to address modifiable contributors to treatment delay and non-adherence. This involves early collection of social and behavioral determinants of health (SBDOH) data and assessment of unmet social needs at the time of diagnosis with real-time incorporation of this information into patient care. Specifically, her team will conduct a clinical trial to test a comprehensive, tech-enabled platform to administer a SBDOH screening tool. They will also work to develop tools to pre-emptively identify women at risk for treatment delay and non-adherence after breast cancer diagnosis. Together, these studies will provide the framework for devising targeted interventions to address if not eliminate barriers to receipt of timely and complete treatment.


Oluwadamilola “Lola” Fayanju, MD is the Helen O. Dickens Presidential Associate Professor in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (PENN) and Chief of the Division of Breast Surgery for the University of Pennsylvania Health System, aka Penn Medicine. She is also Surgical Director of the Rena Rowan Breast Center in the Abramson Cancer Center, Director of Health Equity Innovation at the Penn Center for Cancer Care Innovation, and a Senior Fellow in the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at PENN.

Dr. Fayanju is an academic breast surgical oncologist whose research spans four areas: (1) addressing disparities and promoting equity in breast cancer presentation, treatment, outcome, and clinical trial participation; (2) improving prognostication and treatment for biologically aggressive variants of breast cancer; (3) creating value in oncologic care, especially through the collection and application of patient-reported outcomes; and (4) elucidating the importance of race and ethnicity in the conduct of research and the promotion of a diverse healthcare and medical research workforce.

She received her undergraduate degree in History and Science and an MA in Comparative Literature from Harvard University. She received her MD and a master’s of population health sciences (MPHS) from Washington University in St. Louis, where she also completed her residency in General Surgery. She completed fellowship training in Breast Surgical Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. In 2019, she was recognized by the National Academy of Medicine as an Emerging Leader in Health and Medicine Scholar. Her research is supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and she has published in a variety of journals including Annals of Surgery, Cancer, and JAMA.