Her death was announced her namesake, Susan Love, Ph.D., Breast Cancer Research Foundation, announced that she had recurrent leukemia. Dr. Love was diagnosed in 2012 with acute myeloid leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow.
For years, Dr. Love said, interviewers expected to hear the tragic story of how she decided to specialize in breast cancer. She was probably at the bedside of her beloved relative who died of her breast cancer. Certainly not, she said. In fact, her focus on breast surgery in the 1980s was “pure sexism,” after she became one of the few women to graduate from medical school, and one of even fewer to graduate from medical school. ”. go into surgery.
“I was chief resident in surgery at Harvard, and when I finished that, no one offered me a job,” she told a UCLA interviewer. in 2018. “So I cut my shingles, and all the people I was introduced to were women with breast problems. I’ve found that it can make a much bigger difference than
“As a woman, there’s always something unique you can bring to the table to actually make it better,” she continued. “And I think the trick is not to just give up and be patient.” [garbage]but to make their own way.
Dr. Love was one of the nation’s most prominent breast cancer research and treatment advocates. She has directed breast clinics in Boston and Los Angeles, has taught at Harvard Medical School and UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, and was an early advocate for less invasive cancer treatments than traditional methods, which she has been advocating for. was described as “cutting, burning, and poisoning.” ”
To the dismay of some colleagues, he argued that radical mastectomy was often unnecessary and was done simply because surgeons were accustomed to removing the entire breast. Yes, some colleagues were disappointed. Instead, she advocated partial mastectomy and breast lumpectomy as methods of preserving breast tissue.
She also parted ways with her colleagues by soothing and comforting patients, such as holding patients’ hands before undergoing surgery. “Boys wipe themselves and come in when patients are asleep,” she told the New York Times. in 1988. “I was furious about it, but they’re used to it.”
In 1990, she published The Heartfelt Book of Dr. Susan Love. Co-authored with Karen Lindsay, the book provides information on breast cancer treatment and prevention and has become known as the bible for breast cancer patients. The book has been translated into at least six languages, with the latest seventh edition due out this fall.
“Her book demystified breast cancer to the public,” said Fran Visco, an attorney, breast cancer survivor, and president of the National Breast Cancer Coalition. Earlier, in her telephone interview, she recalled, “I couldn’t say ‘breasts’ let alone ‘breast cancer’,” and when one of her relatives was treated for a lump in her breast, she was too embarrassed to say so. No, she added. She told her children that she had a “lump in her arm” instead.
Determined to find ways to not only improve diagnosis and treatment, but also eradicate breast cancer, Dr. Love launched a national campaign modeled on the work AIDS patients did a decade ago to advance awareness and treatment. I started thinking about a grassroots organization. She met with visionary breast cancer advocate Susan Hester and soon partnered with a small group of women to co-found the National Breast Cancer Coalition in 1991.
Within a year, the coalition had 150 member groups. He organized marches and letter-writing campaigns, met with President Bill Clinton at the White House, and lobbied for increased federal funding for breast cancer research, from about $90 million in 1992 to $400 million in 1994. increased to $20 million.
The coalition says its advocacy has generated more than $4 billion in research into the disease, but the research remains frightening: About 264,000 women in the United States die each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 42,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer die in control and prevention. About 500 men die from breast cancer each year in the United States.
“Susan’s vision was the beginning of breast cancer advocacy in earnest,” Bisko said. “She had a vision of women as united, collective voices, ready and capable of setting the agenda for breast cancer and leading the fight against breast cancer. It took us places we never imagined we could go.”
As a parent who came out as a lesbian in the years before same-sex marriage was legalized, Dr. Love’s advocacy extended into her personal life. After giving birth to his daughter through artificial insemination, he fought a legal battle to allow his partner, surgeon Helen Cooksey, to legally adopt and co-parent their child, Katie. A 1993 decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Court marked the first time the state allowed joint adoption by same-sex couples.
“Helen and I have the money and the privilege,” Dr. Love said the following year, “so it’s our duty to pave the way.”
Susan Margaret Love was born on February 9, 1948 to an Irish Catholic family in Long Branch, New Jersey, the eldest of five children. His mother was an artist and homemaker, and his father sold forklifts to the Eaton Company. His work took his family to Puerto Rico and Mexico City, where Dr. Love graduated from high school.
While studying at the University of Notre Dame, Maryland (now a college), she felt called to enter the Catholic Congregation of Lecturers. She entered the convent, but she decided that she had another mission, and after a few months she left the convent.
“I wanted to save the world, but they wanted to save their souls,” she said.
Dr. Love continued her medical studies at Thomas More College, a girls’ school at Fordham University in the Bronx. She graduated in her 1970 and four years later received her medical doctorate from Downstate Her Medical Center, which is based in Brooklyn, part of the State University of New York. She completed her surgical residency at Beth Her Israel Hospital in Boston, Harvard Medical School Hospital, and became the founding director of the Faulkner Breast Center in Boston in 1988.
Four years later, she was hired as Director of the current UCLA/LeBron Breast Center in Los Angeles. She retired from regular surgery in 1996, the year after she became medical director of her eponymous foundation, then known as the Santa Barbara Breast Cancer Institute.
The foundation, now based in Los Angeles, has launched initiatives such as the “Love Research Army,” which combines cancer scientists and volunteers to accelerate research around the world. Under the guidance of Dr. Love, it also self-reading portable ultrasound machineis designed to help patients in low- and middle-income countries determine whether their lumps may be benign or malignant.
Dr. Love is also a member of the National Cancer Advisory Board and author of books such as “Dr. Love.” Susan Love’s The Book of Menopause and Hormones (1998) somewhat controversially opposed the widespread practice of using hormone replacement therapy to treat menopause, arguing that it leads to an increased risk of cancer. brewing.
She and her partner of 40 years, Cooksey, married briefly in 2004, when same-sex marriage was legal in San Francisco. Survivors include her daughter, Katie Patton-Lovecussy, in addition to her wife. two sisters. and brother.
Dr. Love said that despite her previous research on breast cancer, her leukemia diagnosis took her into uncharted territory. Her youngest sister, Elizabeth M. Love, donated bone marrow for a bone marrow transplant, which enabled her to return to work until her death, as well as other interests such as dancing, traveling, and good food and drink. I was able to continue to enjoy the fact that there was
“This is a reminder that none of us can get out of here alive. We don’t know how much time we have,” she said. told the Times about her diagnosis. “I tell my daughters that they should do what they want, whether it’s to change the world or have a good time. Now they’re drinking expensive wine.”