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Esteemed Cancer Surgeon Dies

Carolyn Kaelin, a breast cancer surgeon, survivor, and advocate has passed away at age 54.

Amanda B. Keener

COURTESY OF DANA-FARBER CANCER INSTITUTE

Breast cancer surgeon Carolyn Kaelin of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, died last month (July 28) of brain cancer. She was 54.

“We will miss her warmth, energy, intelligence, compassion, and humor,” Eric Winer, director of the Breast Oncology Center at Dana-Farber said in a statement. “She was uncompromising in her pursuit of truly outstanding care for each and every patient.”

At 34, Kaelin became the founding director of the Comprehensive Breast Health Center at  Brigham and Women’s.  “I was quite taken with her enthusiasm and patient-centeredness,” Michael Zinner, the hospital’s chief of surgery, told The New York Times.

In 2003, Kaelin herself was diagnosed breast cancer. After battling the disease, neuropathy in her hands forced her to retire from her surgical career. She then became an advocate for breast cancer patients and survivors and founded the...

The brain cancer diagnosis Kaelin received five years ago was unrelated to her breast cancer.

“The thing that stands out to me more than anything else is that she absolutely insisted on every patient getting everything they possibly could get in terms of the care we could provide, and in a timely fashion,” Winer told The Boston Globe

Kaelin is survived by her husband, William Kaelin, Jr., of Dana-Farber and Harvard Medical School, a daughter, and a son.

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