Staring Down Cancer

A voice for breast cancer patients

FILE -- Sept. 1, 2013: The dome of the U.S. Capitol is seen in Washington.

FILE -- Sept. 1, 2013: The dome of the U.S. Capitol is seen in Washington.  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

I just returned from a trip to Washington, D.C. where I served as a consumer reviewer for the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP ) Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program scientific peer review. 

It was so inspiring to be surrounded by medical and scientific experts in the field of cancer research, along with other women affected by this disease. We were there to decide which proposals would move the field forward in eradicating breast cancer. It’s an experience I will not soon forget.

There is no question in my mind about the brain power assembled in that room ... geniuses, all of them, I’m convinced!  It was wild to think that they were listening to my opinion of the worthiness of scientific proposals.  

It’s challenging to go up against these esteemed scientists with their deep knowledge about cancer research and its complexities. The program emphasizes the partnership between survivors and scientists, making it clear that the scientists have their job and I have mine. We need a voice, and now we have it.

I’d like to announce that The Noreen Fraser Foundation has a new addition to its staff: Diana Chingos is the new executive director. She brings a background in women’s cancers advocacy and research engagement.  

Over the past 15 years, Diana has performed her work as a patient advocate in Research at the University of Southern California, interacting with scientists and leading a survivorship advisory council. She has performed an advisorial role to federal, state and private research funding agencies and may just be the most research-savvy nonscientist I know.

Diana is a breast cancer survivor who shares the foundation’s mission to fund the most cutting-edge translational cancer research that will make a real difference in the lives of women. She will be a great asset to our team, to aligning our goals to grow the organization, and keeping the interests of women with cancer front and center.  You will hear more about her and from her in the coming weeks.

Noreen Fraser is living with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. She is the Founder and CEO of the Noreen Fraser Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to funding groundbreaking women's cancer research. To stay in touch with Noreen, please 'LIKE' The Noreen Fraser Foundation on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.  Noreen can be contacted via email at