Q&A with BCRC’s Silvana Kelly and Dr. Susan Love – Breast Cancer Resource Center Blog

Q&A with BCRC’s Silvana Kelly and Dr. Susan Love

Dr. Susan Love will be the keynote speaker for the BCRC’s upcoming PINK WEEK, presenting a Message of Hope on Thursday, October 1, 2020.

Dr Susan Love and Silvana Kelly

We are excited to share this conversation between Silvana Kelly, Executive Director of the Breast Cancer Resource Center of Santa Barbara and Susan Love MD, Chief Visionary Officer, Dr Susan Love Foundation for Breast Cancer Research. Dr. Susan Love is the keynote speaker for the BCRC’s upcoming PINK WEEK, presenting a Message of Hope on Thursday, October 1, 2020. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and #PINKWEEK is September 29 – October 2. Join the conversation and help us to spread hope and awareness through this important series of virtual events. For more information and to register today please go to: www.bcrcsb.org/pinkweek/

Silvana Kelly, BCRC: Can you share with us a little about your personal history with the BCRC?

Dr. Susan Love: It began with my collaboration with Otto Sartorius, a breast cancer surgeon and researcher in Santa Barbara.  He started the Santa Barbara Breast Cancer Institute in 1983 to initiate and pursue research programs and promote breast disease education. He was focused on accessing the breast ducts, using nipple aspirate fluid as a kind of “Pap” test to detect breast cancer.   When I was recruited to start the Revlon UCLA Breast Center in 1992, I reached out to him as a colleague doing similar research.  After he retired as head of the Institute, I volunteered to temporarily take over. I soon moved the Institute to Santa Monica, and we renamed it the Dr Susan Love Research Foundation.  But before leaving, we decided to hold a fundraising Walk to raise money for the cause in Santa Barbara.  The Walk led to a community meeting where it was decided that the proceeds should be used to start the Breast Cancer Resource Center. 

Silvana Kelly, BCRC: Can you tell us about the mission of the Dr Susan Love Research Foundation?

Dr. Susan Love: The Dr Susan Love Foundation for Breast Cancer Research challenges the status quo and seeks to both end breast cancer and improve the lives of people impacted by it through education and advocacy.  The Foundation drives collaborative, cutting-edge research with nontraditional partners, brings to light the collateral damage of treatment, seeks ways to diminish it, and interprets science to empower patients.

Silvana Kelly, BCRC: Why did you choose to focus on Breast Cancer Research?

Dr. Susan Love: When I became a surgeon, there were very few women. In fact, there were quotas as to how many women could be accepted into the program.  Once I finished my training in surgery, no one offered me a job, because they did not want to hire a woman.  As a result, I hung up a shingle and set up a practice.  The only patients that were referred to me were women with breast cancer.  I soon realized how poorly they were being treated and that this was an area where I could make a difference.   

Silvana Kelly, BCRC: What are some of the developments in Breast Cancer Research that you feel most hopeful about?

Dr. Susan Love: I am very excited at our growing ability to determine exactly what kind of breast cancer a person has and the opportunity to do precision medicine.  In other words, we have gone beyond one-drug-fits-all to drugs which will specifically treat a particular variation of cancer.

Silvana Kelly, BCRC: What is the most valuable advice you could provide a person facing a new diagnosis?

Dr. Susan Love: Take a deep breath.  A breast cancer diagnosis  is NOT an emergency.  You have time to get a second opinion, do some research, and make a decision about treatment that makes sense for you.

Silvana Kelly, BCRC: Thank you Dr. Love for taking the time to share with us and for the important research that you are working on. We are looking forward to your Message of Hope during PINK WEEK and are grateful to you for your support.


The Breast Cancer Resource Center of Santa Barbara (BCRC) fosters hope when it’s needed most, and right now our support services are more critical than ever.

At this time when there is such a need for human connection, the BCRC is here to listen, empower, inspire as well as provide practical support, guidance and resources from diagnosis through survivorship.

The BCRC is continuing to provide our support services virtually and we need your help to ensure that the BCRC can continue to offer all of our essential services free of charge.

Please click here to DONATE and consider offering your support with any amount to the BCRC today.

Remember to join us for PINK WEEK 2020!

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