Dr. Susan Love is building an ‘Army of Women’ to help save lives.
Her goal is not just to cure breast cancer, it’s to eradicate it. She said, “The key to ending breast cancer is to stop it before it starts.”
She wants to do this by recruiting an Army of Women -- one million healthy women of every age group and ethnicity, including breast cancer survivors and women at high-risk of getting breast cancer -- to directly partner with breast cancer researchers working to make the disease a thing of the past.
Love, a clinical professor of surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California-Los Angeles, started her nonprofit research foundation in 1983 in Santa Barbara, Calif., to improve the quality of women’s health through innovative research, education, and advocacy. The Foundation works to identify the barriers to research and to then create new solutions.
The Love Foundation partnered with the Avon Foundation for Women in 2008 to provide critical research dollars and perhaps more importantly, to help recruit volunteers coast-to-coast.
“Over and over I’ve heard scientists lament how difficult it is for them to find the volunteers they need for research studies. I’ve long believed that helping scientists overcome this obstacle would accelerate our understanding of what causes breast cancer and how to end it. By responding to this need, the Army of Women will change the face of breast cancer research,” she said.
Although her approach is outside the norms of “classic” breast cancer research that works on a molecular level, Love, one of the founding mothers of breast cancer advocacy, is starting to sway hearts and minds of her colleagues to think outside the box.
“There are a lot of people working on breast cancer research, so you have to bring something different to the table if you want to be successful,” she said matter-of-factly.
“When it comes to breast cancer the focus has been on early detection and treatment. More resources need to be spent on determining the cause of breast cancer, which isn’t just going to take more research -- it’s going to take a different type of research.