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With 20 million women of the baby boom generation currently on the verge of “going through the change,” menopause has become an important, if complex topic for American women.

Dr. Susan Love, M.D., one of America’s leading experts on women’s health, and breast cancer in particular, wants to make sure they are ready for it. In 1997, Dr. Love came to Kentucky Author Forum to discuss Dr. Susan Love’s Hormone Book: Making Informed Choices about Menopause (Random House). This event was presented in cooperation with The James Graham Brown Regional Cancer Center Corporation and the Kentucky Cancer Program.

Love claims that the pharmaceutical industry and the medical profession have marketed menopause by turning this natural stage in a woman’s life into a “disease” to be prescribed a “cure” for and thereby guaranteeing a profit. While hormone replacement therapy has documented benefits and can help many women, Love argues that the decision must be based on proper information of its limitations and its possible side effects. “What concerns me most is the message being put out that every woman needs to be on hormones for her whole life,” Love told The Boston Globe. “It’s just not true. We need to look critically at what data we do have and don’t have.”

Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book, an earlier publication, has changed the way women and their doctors view mammography, mastectomy, chemotherapy, and other breast cancer treatments.

Dr. Love, who co-authored her hormone book with Karen Lindsey, left direct patient care in 1996 in order to devote more time to her research and to her foundation. She also served as one of the guides for the Women’s Health Initiative, the largest study of post-menopausal women in the country.

Over the past two decades, Love has been a leader in women’s health issues. She was the first woman surgeon on the staff of Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital and in 1982 she joined the staff of the Dana Farber Breast Evaluation Clinic, the first comprehensive multidisciplinary center for breast care. She founded the Faulkner Breast Center in Boston, the first such facility with an all-female staff, in 1988. She helped to establish the National Breast Cancer Coalition, a network whose purpose is to involve breast cancer patients and their supporters to effect change.

Dr. Susan Love was interviewed at Kentucky Author Forum by Anne Taylor Fleming, author, journalist, and a commentator on the The News Hour with Jim Lehrer. Her passion as a writer is to reflect on changes in women’s lives, precisely what she has chronicled in print on and the air over the past quarter century.

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