Rest in Power: Dr. Susan Love, Surgeon and Fearless Advocate for Breast Cancer Patients

Dr. Susan Love speaks on stage during the Hope Honors hosted by the Avon Foundation at Cipriani 42nd Street on Oct. 28, 2008 in New York City. (Dimitrios Kambouris / WireImage)

This tribute was originally published by The National Breast Cancer Coalition.

The National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) mourns the loss of Dr. Susan Love, who died on July 2, 2023, after a long struggle with leukemia. Love was a founder of NBCC and a true advocate for patients.

Knowing that ending breast cancer requires advocate voices and action, Susan Love was part of a small group of women who came together in 1991 to form NBCC. Through the strength of her charisma, brilliance and firm belief in women’s power, she helped unite activists, survivors, researchers, policymakers and grassroots and national organizations to work together toward ending the disease for everyone.

Susan Love was an innovator, a leader, a compassionate doctor, an author, and a researcher. She wrote The Breast Book, which became the bible for women and men diagnosed with breast cancer. And she led NBCC advocates on the dance floor every year at our annual meeting.

I started to realize how women weren’t getting information. If they came in with a lump or what they thought was a lump, the doctor would say, ‘Don’t worry your little head about that, dear.’ Most of these patients were scared to death. I realized I could make a contribution.

Dr. Susan Love

Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book was originally published in 1990.

NBCC would not exist were it not for Susan Love, and her loss is felt deeply across the breast cancer advocacy and research communities.

“Susan was not just a visionary leader, she was a dear friend to so many of us who became NBCC advocates. She was there for all of us every moment we needed her,” said NBCC president Fran Visco. “We will miss her irreverence, her ability to lead us down paths we never even envisioned, her compassion and her laughter—not to mention her dancing.”

The Fall 2005 issue of Ms. featured a cover story on Dr. Susan Love.

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The National Breast Cancer Coalition is a grassroots advocacy organization that combines the power of advocacy, education, policy, and research to unite around the goal of ending breast cancer. It was founded in 1991 by a group of breast cancer survivors.