Why I donate part of my proceeds from my novels to the College of American Pathologists (CAP)
I know what it’s like to have breast cancer. My laboratory receives specimens every day from women who have undergone a biopsy for a suspicious mass. But, breast cancer is not a single type of cancer. Instead, there are multiple distinctly different tumors, each with its own treatment and prognosis, and the definitive diagnosis is made by the pathologist. My own diagnosis was invasive ductal carcinoma.
Years before I discovered I had cancer, I ran a unique program through the CAP Foundation called See, Test & Treat, a pathologist-led initiative that provides free cervical and breast cancer screening to medically underserved women who face language, cultural, financial, and transportation barriers to health care.
I was a huge fan of pathologist Dr. Gene Herbek, who created the program in 2001 at the Native American reservations Standing Rock and Rosebud. He was able to connect with patients directly regarding their lab results. I was so excited about the idea that I pitched the program to the administrators at Tufts Medical Center, which is located in the heart of Chinatown, and we started a program that ran for five years. See Test & Treat events are now hosted by pathologists all over the United States.
This is an absolutely feel-good program where the community, pathologists, gynecologists, radiologists, primary care physicians, nurses, and laboratory technologists all come together to care for medically underserved women—it’s a beautiful thing, and I’m proud to contibutribe in any way I can.