More Than Pink Podcast

The More Than Pink Podcast is designed to give listeners an insight on what is happening in the field of breast cancer research, treatment, screening and survivorship. Through each episode, experts in various fields share their knowledge directly with you through guided conversations on a variety of topics. You can subscribe to our podcast here, or find it on iTunes, Soundcloud, Sticher or TuneIn. If you have any questions, or comments, please email us at

Thanks for listening, and always be More Than Pink!



Series 1: Breast Cancer Basics

Series 1, Episode 1: The Beginning of a Movement

Nancy Brinker, Founder Susan G. Komen

“It’s going to be more than a race. It’s going to be an event for survivorship. It’s going to be an event where people can talk to one another openly and without shame and embarrassment. Share their journey’s. That’s really what it’s going to be.”

~ Nancy Brinker describing the very first Race for the Cure

Susan G. Komen founder Nancy Brinker talks about how it all began and the impact the organization has had on breast cancer.


Series 1, Episode 2: Evolution of Breast Cancer Care

Dr. Debra Patt, Texas Oncology

“Decisions around cancer are not what they were 10 years ago when it was all about stage. And they are not just talking about molecular phenotyping.”

~ Dr. Debra Patt talking about the new conversations happening in health care

Dr. Debra Patt is a practicing oncologist and breast cancer specialist in Austin, Texas, and a vice president of Texas Oncology. She is an active leader in breast cancer research, serves on the US Oncology Research breast cancer committee, and chairs the breast cancer subsection of the pathways task force for The US Oncology Network. In this episode she talks about the evolution of breast cancer care and where we go from here.

Links to topics covered in this episode:

Risk Factors: Inherited Gene Mutations

Risk Reduction: Options for Women at Higher Risk

Diagnosis: Molecular phenotyping, Sentinel Node Biopsy/Axillary Dissection, Staging of Breast Cancer, Tumor characteristics, Tumor Profiling-Personalizing Treatment for Breast Cancer (Komen Perspective article), Triple Negative Breast Cancer

Treatment: Localized Breast Cancer Treatment, MBC treatment, Immunotherapy, PARP Inhibitors, Trastuzumab (Herceptin)

Survivorship: Late effects of treatment, Healthy Lifestyle for Breast Cancer Survivors


Series 1, Episode 3: Becoming a Patient

Jennifer Felch, Komen Austin Board of Directors, Survivor

“You have to spend more time selecting your caregiver, your doctor, than you do finding a new hairstylist.”

~ Jennifer Felch shares her family’s story of breast cancer

Having watched her mother go through breast cancer, Jennifer knew her risk was high. She shares with us her journey and the steps she took to catch her cancer early and what happened when she became a patient. Today Jennifer uses her experience to help influence and impact others as a member of the Susan G. Komen Austin Board of Directors.

Links to topics covered in this podcast:

Breast Cancer Screening for Women at Higher Risk

Survivorship Topics


Series 1, Episode 4: Finding Health Equity

Dr. Virginia Brown, Dell Medical School

“While genetics loads the gun, environment pulls the trigger.

~ Dr. Virginia Brown talking about how being a woman of color is only half the battle

African American women experience a significantly higher mortality rate than any other ethnicity. The reasons are complex and Virginia Brown, MA, PhD, an Assistant Professor at Dell Medical School in the Department of Population Health has dedicated her career to helping communities understand why and how this is the case. Our discussion is about more than just breast cancer, it’s about figuring out how to make substantial changes in the system to truly find health equity.

Links to topics covered in this episode:

Risk factors for breast cancer

Breast Cancer Disparities to Achieve Health Equity for All

Breast Cancer Disparities (Komen Perspectives Article)

Breast Cancer Inequities (Research Fast Facts)

Achieving Health Equity of African-American Women


Series 1, Episode 5: The Cost of Cancer

Greg Lee, LIVESTRONG Foundation

“Being a financial person for much of my life, I’ve seen a lot of line item budgets, but I’ve never seen a cancer line item on a budget. Certainly if you did that it would single-handedly be the largest dollar amount in the budget.”

~ Greg Lee talking about the impact of a cancer diagnosis on an individual

Prior to becoming President of LIVESTRONG in 2016, Greg Lee served as its Chief Financial Officer for nearly 10 years, responsible for the integrity and operation of all financial, accounting, technology and compliance activities for the LIVESTRONG Foundation. LIVESTRONG focuses on the person with cancer, not just the disease itself. We discuss the financial impact of a cancer diagnosis/treatment as well as more than just the “out of pocket cost” that goes along with it.

Links to topics covered in this episode:

Financial Assistance Resources


Series 1, Episode 6: Barriers in Healthcare – The Latino Community Challenge

Available 7/23/19

Jill Ramirez, CEO & President, Latino Healthcare Forum, Austin TX

“I think each community is very warm, has wisdom and they know what works for them. And so we really have to listen to what they are telling us about what their needs are.

~ Jill Ramirez

Jill Ramirez has made it her personal mission to make sure the Latino community in Austin, Texas has healthcare. She’s spent decades educating her community, training community health workers, and making sure Latinos know how to access healthcare.


Series 2: Research and the Cutting Edge

Series 2, Episode 1: The Importance of Clinical Trials

Dr. Vineet Choudhry, Northstar Surgery Specialists

“Breast cancer is a very scary thing. Knowledge is power. The first thing that we talk about when I sit down with a patient is what it means and what the treatment options are, and how to go through this in a step-by-step fashion.”

~Dr. Choudhry talking about the importance of clinical trials

Dr. Vineet Choudhry, MD is a general surgery specialist in Austin, TX and has been practicing for 10 years. He graduated from The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center College Of Medicine in 2003 and specializes in general surgery. Dr. Choudhry and Suzanne discuss clinical trials, specifically cryoblation treatment.


Links to topics covered in this episode:

Clinical Trials


Research Programs (Research Fast Facts)

1-877 GO KOMEN (1-877-465-6636) Helpline


Series 2, Episode 2: Life with Metastatic Breast Cancer

Karen Durham, Advocate In Science

“I have a daughter. And I don’t want my daughter or anyone else’s daughter or son to ever hear the words, ‘You have breast cancer’.”

~Karen Durham (July 7, 1951 – March 26, 2018)

Karen was an integral member of the Komen family, and we are proud to share this special episode. She will be dearly missed.


Links to topics covered in this episode:

Breast Cancer Clinical Trial Information Helpline

Clinical Trials


Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer (Komen Perspectives article)

Metastatic Breast Cancer

Metastatic Breast Cancer Treatment

Metastatic Breast Cancer (Research Fast Facts)

Questions to Ask Your Doctor


Series 2, Episode 3: Advances in Breast Cancer Research

Dr. Adrian Lee, University of Pittsburgh

“Each day we’re finding new ideas about how breast cancer starts and how it metastisizes. These are exciting times.”

~ Dr. Lee talking about his research at the University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Lee is Professor of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology, and Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh. He is also the Pittsburgh Foundation Chair in Precision Medicine. Lee received his B.Sc. and PhD in England, and came to San Antonio for his postdoctoral studies. He was subsequently recruited to Baylor College of Medicine and now the University of Pittsburgh. Dr Lee serves on numerous other national peer-review committees, and is on the Scientific Advisory Council for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. In this episode, Lee discusses with Suzanne advances in breast cancer research and new ideas in treatment.

Links to topics covered in this episode:

Aromatase Inhibitors

Big Data

Breast Cancer Therapies (Research Fast Facts)

Insulin Growth Factors (IGF-1)

Liquid Biopsies


Series 2, Episode 4: Cancer Cell Interaction

Dr. Joan Brugge, Directory of the Ludwig Center at Harvard Medical School, Komen Scholar

“If we really want to understand how breast health controls proliferation, survival, migration, and evasion we should culture them under conditions that more closely mimic the organization of the cell in the human breast.”

~ Dr. Joan Brugge on innovating in the face of drug resistance and adaptation of cancer cells

Dr. Brugge is currently Director of the Ludwig Center at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Brugge has held full professorships at the State University of New York, Stony Brook, and the University of Pennsylvania, where she was named also named as an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. From 1992-1997, Dr. Brugge was Scientific Director of the biotechnology company ARIAD. Her Komen-funded research includes identifying strategies to improve the efficacy of existing and emerging cancer therapeutics, specifically studying how antioxidant compounds contribute to the viability and drug resistance of different subsets of breast tumor cells. Dr. Brugge received the Komen-funded AACR Distinguished Lectureship in Breast Cancer Research and the Susan G. Komen Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science. In this episode, we cover how a cancer cell dies, how it moves in tissue, and what happens when one cell invades another.

Links to topics covered in this episode:

BRCA Gene Mutations


Predictive Biomarkers (Research Fast Facts)

Prophylactic Mastectomy


Memorial Sloan Kettering breast radiologist Elizabeth Morris

Series 2, Episode 5: More Than Just a Screening

Dr. Elizabeth Morris, Chief of Breast Imaging Services, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York

“We need to do better. We certainly recognize that and we need to realize not every person is the same.”

~ Dr. Elizabeth Morris on breast cancer screening options

As a breast imaging doctor, she interprets radiology images such as mammography (including 3D tomosynthesis and contrast-enhanced mammography), breast ultrasound, and breast MRI (including abbreviated MRI). She also does breast biopsies with imaging guidance. She and her team have pioneered high-risk screening with MRI and offer personalized screening to women with average risk as well as those who may have a high-risk gene,such as BRCA1 or BRCA2. Her research focuses on how best to use newer techniques to detect breast cancer early and to assess whether treatment is working.

Links to topics covered in this episode:

2018 Fast Facts: Early Detection

Breast MRI

Breast Density

Breast Ultrasound

Emerging areas in early detection

Estimating breast cancer risk


Screening and Early Detection

Series 2, Episode 6: Does Being Obese Cause Breast Cancer?

Dr. Elizabeth Wellberg, Assistant Professor, University of Colorado School of Medicine’s Department of Pathology, Komen Scholar

“What we are really trying to do is to figure out what it is about the situation of obesity. Is it the inflammation, is it the actual process of gaining weight? Is it high glucose? We know that obesity in itself is related to breast cancer but we really still don’t know how.”

~ Dr. Liz Wellberg on the questions her team is addressing in her new study

Dr. Wellberg is using a mouse model to study how obesity and metabolic disease impact the breast cancer patient’s response to therapy. Her studies revealed detrimental effects of endocrine therapy on the metabolism of obese, but not lean mice. Specifically, endocrine therapy promoted abundant weight and fat gain in obese mice and also increased circulating insulin levels. Dr. Wellberg will focus on the long-term effects of two specific types of breast cancer treatments and work to define the role of obesity in the metabolic response to breast cancer endocrine therapy.

Links to topics covered in this episode:

2018 Fast Facts: Obesity and Breast Cancer

Body weight and weight gain

Healthy lifestyle for breast cancer survivors

Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) hormone levels

Managing side effects and supportive care

Tumor characteristics


Photo of Yankeelov, Thomas

Series 2, Episode 7: Solving for Breast Cancer

Dr. Tom Yankeelov,W. A. “Tex” Moncrief, Jr. Chair in Computational Engineering and Sciences IV – Computational Oncology

“Once a discipline becomes mathematized we get very good at it very rapidly. The number of options to try to understand a phenomenon are infinite and without a mathematical theory you’re left with trial and error and unfortunately in oncology that’s what we have, we have a clinical trial system. But once you mathematize a subject you can start making very precise predictions.”

~Dr. Tom Yankeelov on the importance of math in the future of oncology

The overall goal of Dr. Thomas Yankeelov’s clinical research is to improve patient care by employing advanced imaging methods for the early identification, assessment, and prediction of tumors’ response to therapy. He develops tumor forecasting methods by integrating advanced imaging technologies with patient-specific data and builds predictive, multi-scale biophysical models of tumor growth with the purpose of optimizing therapies for the individual cancer patient.


Series 2, Episode 8: Eliminating Chemotherapy from Your Treatment Plan. Results of the TailorX Study

Dr. Joseph Sparano, Professor of Medicine & Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Women’s Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

“This is really now a third tool that we can use to guide the use of chemotherapy, not in all patients, not in the 1/3 or so of triple negative HER2 Positive disease, but in the two thirds of patients who have hormone receptor positive HER2 negative disease. Especially if there is negative involvement in lymph nodes or low volume involvement of the lymph nodes.”

~Dr. Joseph Sparano talking about the new tool he and his team have developed

Chemotherapy has been a gold standard for treatment of breast cancer and often over-treats women who may not need this aggressive treatment to treat their breast cancer. Dr. Sparano serves as the study chair for the TAILORx clinical trial sponsored by National Cancer Institute, the first clinical trial integrating a mulitparameter gene expression assay in clinical decision making for adjuvant therapy with early stage ER-positive, HER2 negative breast cancer. The results will eliminate the use of chemotherapy for thousands of women.


Series 2, Episode 9: Targeted Therapies, Biologics and Biosimilars for Breast Cancer Treatment

Keith L. Knutson, Ph.D., Consultant in the Department of Immunology, Mayo Clinic,Florida. Director of the Discovery and Translation Lab’s Cancer Research Program.

“Your body is pretty amazing because the human body, a mouse or a dog or a chicken, they can develop antibodies that can recognize almost anything.”

~ Dr. Keith Knutson talks about how biologics have evolved over time and the introduction of biosimiliars which may provide more treatment options for patients.

We are getting more and more sophisticated in determining the types of breast cancer tumors and how they act in the body. Dr. Knutson and his team at the Mayo clinic are working to discover how biologics play an important role with targeted therapies.

Dr. Knutson is internationally recognized in the field of cancer immunology. His research focuses on the immunology and immunotherapy of breast and ovarian cancers, both the basic immunobiology and clinical translation, including clinical trials. His contributions to science include clinical development and testing of self-tumor antigen-specific vaccines in patients with breast and ovarian cancers. He currently has three FDA-approved vaccine trials underway and is principal investigator of 3 Department of Defense grants to test vaccines aimed at preventing recurrence in breast cancer, including triple negative breast cancer for which there are no targeted therapies.


Thank you to our partners who made this podcast possible!

Links to topics covered in this episode:

Facts for Life: Biosimilars

Questions to Ask Your Doctor: Biosimilars

Facts for Life: Making Treatment Decisions

Trastuzumab (Herceptin®)


Series 2, Episode 10: Biosimilars for Breast Cancer May Provide More Treatment Options 

Wendy Y. Chen MD, MPH, Senior Physician, Breast Oncology Center Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Faculty member, Harvard Medical School

““The fact is, some breast cancers can be treated with a targeted therapy alone, but there are times when targeted therapy works better when given with chemotherapy.”

~ Dr. Chen discussing biosimilars coming to market and how they may impact patients

Biosimilar pharmalogics are made from living organisms and offer a new and exciting way to treat breast cancer which can be less expensive, have fewer side effects and replicate the results of their chemical based counterparts.

Dr. Chen earned her medical degree from the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania and her Master’s of Public Health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She is a breast cancer medical oncologist and cancer epidemiologist. She works with the Nurses’ Health Study and has published extensively on nutritional, lifestyle, and hormonal factors that influence breast cancer risk and survival. She also has a particular interest in translating epidemiologic findings to breast cancer clinical practice. She is currently the study chair for the Aspirin for Breast Cancer (ABC) Trial, a large randomized trial of aspirin vs placebo to prevent breast cancer recurrence run through the Alliance of Clinical Trials in Oncology in the United States.

Thank you to our partners who made this podcast possible!

Links to topics covered in this episode:

Facts for Life: Biosimilars

Questions to Ask Your Doctor: Biosimilars

Facts for Life: Making Treatment Decisions

Trastuzumab (Herceptin®)


Series 3: Survivorship

Series 3, Episode 1: Financial Burden of Survivorship

Marla Blaylock, Komen Austin Board Member, Survivor

“It wasn’t until I stepped my foot out the door of my last radiation treatment that the financial chaos started.”

~ Marla Blaylock talking about her personal financial journey as a breast cancer survivor

Marla Blaylock is the CEO and Founder of Blue Lotus Systems. BLS is an established Austin based full-service IT Services provider with 14 years of history, that brings together world-class experts in strategic IT disciplines. She is also a Komen Austin board member and a breast cancer survivor. In this episode, Blaylock discusses the financial burden that settles after treatment is over.

Links to topics covered in this episode:

Financial Assistance Resources

Long-term Side Effects of Chemotherapy


Prescription Drug Assistance


Series 3, Episode 2: Types of Survivorship and Its Effects

Dr. Dawn Hershman, Columbia University Medical Center, Komen Scholar

“The reality is that cancer survivors are more likely to die of heart disease sometimes than they are of breast cancer.”

~ Dr. Dawn Hershman talking about dealing with survivorship

Dawn Hershman is a tenured professor of medicine and epidemiology at Columbia University, where she leads their breast cancer program, and a nationally recognized expert in breast cancer treatment, prevention, and survivorship. She is also a Komen Scholar. In this episode, Hershman discusses the different struggles of survivorship and coping with the emotional effects of the treatment. After the treatment, survivors grapple with what has happened to them and the possibility of recurrence in the future. Many struggle with both the health and financial issues they are left with in the aftermath of treatment.

Links to topics covered in this episode:

Breast Cancer Therapies (Komen Fast Facts)

Financial Assistance Resources

Hormone Therapy

Medical Care After Treatment

Late Effects of Breast Cancer Treatment

Nutrition and Breast Cancer (Komen Fast Facts)

Prescription Drug Assistance

Sources of Support


Survival and Risk of Recurrence After Treatment


Series 3, Episode 3: Everyone Deserves to Grow Up With a Mom

Kyla Thompson, Founder of #pinkkids

“It’s not just about changing the future, but changing the present, and creating an online space where the children of moms with breast cancer can connect and not feel alone.”

~Kyla Thompson, on why she wanted to create #PinkKids

When her mother lost her battle to breast cancer, Kyla wanted to make sure other kids like her had a place to go for support – a social media space just for kids who are going through the same thing. #pinkkids was born!

Links to topics covered in this episode:

Sources of support for family


Series 4: The New Normal. The Journey Through Breast Cancer

Julie M. Sprunt, M.D.Series 4, Episode 1: Build Them Back or Go Flat? Dr. Julie Sprunt

Dr. Julie Sprunt, Texas Oncology Breast Specialist

“I don’t care what anybody thinks about you, I don’t care how they think you look. I want my patients to be able to get dressed in font of the mirror in five years after their diagnosis, ten years after their diagnosis and not constatnly be reminded that they have breast cancer.”

~Dr. Julie Sprunt

The decision a breast cancer patient makes about reconstruction isn’t an easy one and has long-lasting implications. Dr. Julie Sprunt, Breast Specialist at Texas Oncology, talks about the options, timelines and the benefits of rebuilding or going flat. She specializes in breast surgery and treats all breast conditions, from benign breast disease to malignant. She completed a breast surgical oncology fellowship at the University of Southern California (USC) where she learned unique oncoplastic techniques to treat breast disease. She is board-certified by the American Board of Surgery.

Links to topics covered in this episode:


Breast cancer surgery

Breast reconstruction

Genetic testing

Medical care after treatment


Screening and early detection


Series 4, Episode 2: Becoming Whole Again Dr. Elisabeth Potter

Dr. Elisabeth Potter, Plastic Surgeon – Breast Reconstruction

“We want women to feel great without their clothes on. To look in the mirror when they are stepping out of the shower or at the gym or with their partner and feel like they are whole, proud of their bodies and what they’ve been through.”

~Dr. Elisabeth Potter

When it’s time for reconstructive surgery, there are so many options and opportunities it can be daunting for someone faced with this reality. Dr. Potter specializes in natural reconstruction and in this episode talks about the options available today. Board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, she completed her undergraduate studies at Princeton University with a focus in Molecular Biology. She received her medical degree from the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. Following a Plastic Surgery Integrated Residency at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, she completed a Reconstructive Plastic Surgery and Microsurgery Fellowship with MD Anderson in Houston, Texas. Dr. Potter specializes in natural breast reconstruction and has performed over 750 DIEP flap surgeries using patients’ natural fat and tissue.


Series 4, Episode 3: What is Natural after Breast Cancer? Dr. Christine Fisher

Dr. Christine Fisher, Plastic Surgeon

“The patients themselves are very diverse cross section of backgrounds and experiences. All of them are undergoing an experience that I really enjoy seeing them recover from and I enjoy being a part of their feeling of wellness.”

~Dr. Christine Fisher

Getting back to feeling whole is a vital part of breast cancer recovery. Having to lose one or more breasts during the treatment phase is not just physically taxing, it can scar mentally forever. Dr. Fisher and her team work with patients to change that.

Dr. Christine Fisher is a board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in breast reconstruction techniques for breast cancer patients using perforator flaps, such as DIEP flaps, and in cosmetic surgery of the breast and body. For appropriate candidates who are experiencing lymphedema after breast cancer treatment, she also offers lymphatic surgery, including lymphovenous anastomosis and lymph node transfer.


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