Obituary- Dr. Susan Love Worked to Eradicate Breast Cancer

Dr. Susan Love

For more than 10 years there was a Dr. Susan Love Foundation for Breast Cancer Research annual 5K walk/run, the “Walk with Love,” in Pacific Palisades.

The first was held in 2008, and nearly $40,000 was raised. Then Riviera resident Helen Dameris, who organized the event said, “After learning more about her work, it became clear to me that if anyone could eradicate breast cancer, it was Susan Love.”

Dr. Susan Love died on July 2 in Los Angeles of recurrent leukemia. She was 75.

Love was born February 9, 1948, in Little Silver, New Jersey. As a child she lived in Puerto Rico and then in in Mexico, where her father was an industrial salesman.

She attended the School Sisters of Notre Dame, who sent her to Fordham University in New York to continue her studies. She graduated and applied to medical school.

She was among the top graduates in the 1974 class of the State University of New York’s Downstate Medical School.

Love completed her surgical training at Boston’s Beth Israel, and in 1988, founded the Faulkner Breast Center at Faulkner Hospital in Boston.

Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book, first published in 1990, and to be released in its updated 7th edition this year is considered the global “bible” for people with breast cancer by The New York Times. The book has been translated into German, Dutch, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, and Hebrew.

Love was recruited by the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1992 to found what later became the Revlon UCLA Breast Center.

In 1996, she retired from active practice of surgery to dedicate her time to pursuing the cause of breast cancer and the goal of ending that cancer.

In 1998, Love earned a master’s degree in business at UCLA’s Anderson School. She was appointed by President Clinton to the National Cancer Advisory Board, a position she held from 1998-2004.

She launched the Love Research Army in 2008, which accelerated cancer research by partnering volunteers and scientists for clinical trials.

Love denounced a standard late-205h-century treatment protocol for breast cancer, which involved mastectomy, radiation and chemotherapy, instead advocating for lumpectomy followed by radiation whenever possible. “Wanting to keep your breast is not about vanity,” she said in a 1993 interview in Technology Review. “Its about being intact as a person.”

For 13 years Love convened the International Symposium of the Human Breast, a meeting she established to bring together world-class researchers, clinicians, and advocates from multiple disciplines in an intimate think-tank environment to stimulate ideas, collaboration, and seed-funding opportunities for breast cancer research.

Love’s foundation CEO Clinton Conway said on her passing, “The light that Susan shared with the world has touched so many, and the world will mourn her loss. As an advocate, a researcher, a doctor, a ssurgeon, a friend, an author, and so much more, her legacy will live on forever in the love she showed the world.”

Love is survived by her wife, Dr. Helen Cooksey, and their daughter Katie Patton-LoveCooksey and her wife, Diana Patton-LoveCooksey. She is also survived by two sisters, Christine Adcock and Elizabeth Love, and a brother Michael James Love.  Service plans are pending.

Dr. Susan Love’s Foundation hosted a 5K run/walk in Pacific Palisades to raise funds for breast cancer research.

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