Susan K. Axler, AACR affiliate member and Scientist ↔ Survivor Program, died August 17, 2017, from complications due to metastatic breast cancer.
Axler was a patient advocate, having been first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1988 at the age of 41. She had undergone a lumpectomy, radiation treatment, a mastectomy, and eventually other therapies to fight the cancer once it metastasized to her bones in 2000, following an eight-year remission.
Born in Philadelphia, Axler was a fourth grade teacher and reading specialist in the Neshaminy School District in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, from the 1980s until her retirement in 2002. In 2013, Axler joined the AACR and spoke at the Annual Meeting that year as part of the Scientist – Survivor Program.
She was able to travel throughout the United States working with advocates and experts. In addition to her advocacy work with the AACR, Axler was a member of the Linda Creed Breast Cancer Foundation, leader with the South Jersey Cancer Fund, volunteer with the American Cancer Society’s Reach to Recovery Program, and attendee at the Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation advocacy program at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
Axler was accepted into the Susan G. Komen Advocates in Science Program and attended training classes on advocate grant reviewing with the Department of Defense, and became a patient-advocate grant reviewer. She was appointed to Komen’s grant reviewing panels for the research and college scholarship reviewing groups, the American Cancer Society review panels, where she worked closely with researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, and was a mentor for new reviewers.
She also helped create a handbook for women with recurring metastatic breast cancer in 2001. Her volunteer work was recognized by an award from the American Cancer Society.