Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, March 16, 2017
Advancing science and patient care, Greene lends a helping hand
by Faith DeAmbrose
Nancy Greene’s life changed five years ago when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Throughout treatment, and in the years that have followed, Greene has taken her experience and worked to transform it in ways that help others.
Her journey recently took her from her home in Stonington to Reston, Virginia, where she participated on a panel to peer-review grant applications aimed at breast cancer research. She reviewed 17 over a day and a half, she said in a recent interview.
This is the third year Greene has participated in the program, which is run through the Department of Defense’s Office of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs. Since its inception in 1992 the CDMRP has funded close to $11 billion in breast cancer research. All requests for funding must go through a two-tier process, the first being a peer review and the second a rigorous review of the surrounding science.
“It is important because good things come from it. This is new research, not research that duplicates anything existing,” Greene said.
Greene, of Stonington, who is also a member of the National Breast Cancer Coalition, essentially acts as a patient advocate and looks at the applications from a patient-centered perspective. In other words, she said, she puts herself in the shoes of the person receiving the intended treatment and assess its practicality as a treatment option.
Her desire to help advance science and overall patient advocacy has been at the forefront of the work she has done over the last few years.
As a person that had regular mammograms and thought she was taking preventative measures, she learned that, for her, breast cancer was hiding in dense breast tissue, making detection difficult. She later found out that her experience was not unique and that women with dense tissue are at an added disadvantage when it comes to early detection because a mass is typically hidden in the dense tissue.
“Since then, I have become an army of one,” she said. “I talk about it because people need to know it happens, and women need to be their own advocates.”