Gwen was diagnosed at age 44 with stage 3C invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC), HR+, HER 2-neg. Following a bilateral mastectomy, left side axillary node dissection, and intention-to-cure chemotherapy, her cancer was found to have metastasized to her brain upon completion of the chemo protocol. Despite having clear CT and bone scans, Gwen pushed for a brain scan feeling dissatisfied with the answer that it’s not standard of care to perform brain scans on patient without symptoms. Without this scan, she may have been thought to be in remission and wants to address the need for earlier brain scans with hopes of catching metastasis earlier on, avoiding the need for whole brain radiation and to preserve a longer and better quality of life for brain mets patients.
Gwen is beginning her work in advocacy and hopes to also focus her efforts on ILC, pregnancy-associated breast cancer, and increasing access to clinical trials for patients with CNS metastases.
She lives in Seattle with her family, including two daughters whom she welcomed in 2012 and 2018.
WHAT I'M WORKING ON
Breast Cancer Brain Metastasis Initiative: The Marina Kaplan Project
BCBM Initiative: The Marina Kaplan Project aims to accelerate urgently-needed research on breast cancer brain metastasis through advocating for increased funding, collaborating with leading researchers, and influencing key stakeholders.Link to program