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Joel M. Palefsky


Director, Anal Neoplasia Clinic, Research and Education (ANCRE) Center
Infectious disease physician
Clinician, researcher, and fan of good literature and bagels

Dr. Joel Palefsky is an expert in infectious diseases and cancers associated with these diseases. He is an internationally recognized expert on the biology, treatment, progression and history of human papillomavirus (HPV) infections of the anus and genitals, particularly in the setting of HIV infection. He directs the UCSF Anal Neoplasia Clinic, Research and Education (ANCRE) Center, the world's first clinic devoted to anal cancer prevention.

Palefsky's research focuses on the biology and treatment of anal cancer. He is vice chair of the AIDS Malignancy Consortium, a research group supported by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) that investigates new treatments for AIDS-related cancers, and chair of the Anal Cancer/HSIL Outcomes Research (ANCHOR) Study, a multisite NCI study examining whether treating anal cancer precursor lesions prevents the development of anal cancer and seeking to identify biomarkers of cancer progression.

Palefsky earned his medical degree at McGill University and completed a fellowship in infectious diseases at Stanford University.

Palefsky is founder and past president of the International Anal Neoplasia Society. He is also past president of the International Papillomavirus Society and founder and chairperson of its international campaign for HPV awareness.

  • Education

    McGill University, 1984

  • Residencies

    McGill University, Internal Medicine, 1984

  • Fellowships

    Stanford University, Infectious Disease, 1988

  • Board Certifications

    Infectious Disease, American Board of Internal Medicine

    Internal Medicine, American Board of Internal Medicine

  • Academic Title


  • Languages


A life helping others and contributing to our collective knowledge is a life well lived.

Where I see patients (1)

    My reviews


    Overall Experience
    88 Ratings
    About our process
    Jan 13, 2023
    Dr. Palefsky is friendly knowledgeable and communication with him is very easy and direct.
    Nov 18, 2022
    Dr. Palefsky is a fantastic doctor!
    Nov 08, 2022
    Joel Palefsky is an extraordinary physician and human being I have been in his care for over 10 years.
    Oct 13, 2022
    Dr. Palefsky is knowledgeable friendly and calm. His demeanor greatly relieve the stress of the appointment and anoscope procedure.
    Oct 13, 2022
    Dr. Palefsky is a phenomenal clinician. His expertise and compassionate clinical care make dealing with a complex and stigmatizing condition much much easier than one could hope.
    Sep 23, 2022
    Dr Palefsky is a treasure. He is an expert in his field and I am the grateful recipient of his treatment and follow up care.
    Sep 23, 2022
    Love Doc. Palefsky.
    Sep 20, 2022
    There should be an "Excellent" rather than "Very Good" category for Dr. Palefsky. Simply the gold standard in his profession and I feel so privileged to have a physician of his standing as my doctor.
    Sep 20, 2022
    Thanks for the excellent care
    Aug 16, 2022
    Joel Palefsky is always extremely attentive thoughtful in his explanations of procedures and options and fun to talk to
    Jul 26, 2022
    Dr Palefsky is a great doctor. I'm very pleased with him.
    Jul 07, 2022
    Dr. Joel Palefsky is an absolutely wonderful doctor!
    May 05, 2022
    Dr Palefsky is a respected doctor. I feel gratitude for every minute with him.
    Nov 16, 2021
    I wish there was 1 MyChart...I never log in to the 'Zion' MyChart and Dr.Palefsky said that we should have an appointment a year ago
    Nov 09, 2021
    The provider did not discuss treatments because we are waiting for test results. Then he will call me and we will either have this discussion or set up an appointment to further discuss treatments. I would recommend this provider but I hope it is never necessary for me to do so There was no immediate follow up care. He explained that I have no restrictions at this time.
    Oct 06, 2021
    Dr. Palefsky even inquired if I had received m flu shot and learning that I hadn't made arrangements to have me receive it at the conclusion of my treatment.
    Oct 01, 2021
    Dr. Palefsky is an absolutely wonderful doctor! I am so glad he is taking care of me!
    Sep 30, 2021
    I love my doctor
    Jun 29, 2021
    Dr. Palefsky is an absolutely wonderful and caring doctor and very easy to chat with.
    May 18, 2021
    Dr. Palefsky is an elegant man with a good sense of humor and a well known expert in the field of medicine concerning my condition.