Susan M. Love, MD, MBA, a breast cancer surgeon who revolutionized patient care and advocacy, died July 2, 2023, at the age of 75.
Love was born February 9, 1948, in Long Branch, New Jersey. As an undergraduate, she studied at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland and Fordham University. She earned her medical degree from the State University of New York Downstate Medical School. She completed her surgical training at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. In 1998, she earned a business degree from the Executive MBA program at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
She began her career as a general surgeon but breast cancer soon became the focus of her work. After teaching for a year at Harvard Medical School, in 1988, Love helped found the Faulkner Breast Center at Faulkner Hospital, which provided comprehensive care from radiologists, oncologists, and surgeons. In 1992, she was recruited to UCLA to help launch what is known today as the Revlon UCLA Breast Center.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Love helped establish a new paradigm for treating patients with breast cancer. She argued that full mastectomies were too frequently recommended and that many women would benefit from partial mastectomies or lumpectomies. She also encouraged women to ask questions about their medical care.
In 1990, Love authored Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book, considered a seminal work for patients with breast cancer. The book’s seventh edition is scheduled for release this year.
In 1991, Love helped organize the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC), an advocacy group aimed at eradicating breast cancer by focusing government, research institutions, and consumer advocates on the disease. She later served on the board of NBCC, as well as on the board of the Young Survival Coalition.
Love retired from practicing surgery in 1996 but continued to teach part time. She was appointed by President Clinton to the National Cancer Advisory Board, serving from 1998 to 2004. She became involved with the Santa Barbara Breast Cancer Institute, which later moved to Santa Monica, California, and was renamed the Dr. Susan Love Foundation for Breast Cancer Research.
In 2008, Love launched the Love Research Army, which recruits volunteers to participate in breast cancer studies. She also led the International Symposium of the Human Breast, a meeting that brought together researchers, clinicians, and advocates from multiple disciplines to discuss research and forge collaborations and funding opportunities for breast cancer research.
An AACR member since 1995, Love was a member of the Minorities in Cancer Research and Women in Cancer Research membership groups as well as several AACR Scientific Working Groups. She was also an active participant in several AACR meetings, including the AACR International Conference on Cancer Prevention Research, the AACR Conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities, and the AACR Annual Meeting.
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