Breast Cancer Survivor, Physician Speaker
Dr. Kimberly Allison knows breast cancer from both sides of the microscope. Two weeks after she became the Director of Breast Pathology at the University of Washington Medical Center she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Stage 3 breast cancer. She was 33 years old, had no family history of the disease and was still nursing her second child.
In Dr. Allison’s memoir, Red Sunshine: A Story of Strength and Inspiration from a Doctor Who Survived Stage 3 Breast Cancer, she recounts her sudden journey from physician to patient and her attempt to make the most of this terrifying and unexpected education. An uplifting story of survival, Dr. Allison shares all the intimate details of her emotional journey with both humor and honesty.
Today, Dr. Allison sees her cancer as a powerful experience that helped her find inner strength, taught her to see both the humor and the magic in everyday life, and prompted her to reconnect with newly diagnosed patients. She speaks frequently to patient and survivor groups as well as medical audiences about her personal and professional breast cancer experience.
She is currently an Associate Professor of Pathology at Stanford University Medical Center where she is actively involved in clinical diagnostics, breast cancer research and resident training. She also enjoys spending time with her family, running, yoga, painting and double tall lattes.
She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Princeton University, earned her MD at New York Medical College and completed her pathology residency and fellowship at the University of Washington. She has authored over 40 publications in the medical literature and in addition to Red Sunshine, is a contributing author for Dr. Julie Silver’s Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hope and Healing for Your Breast Cancer Journey.
Most Popular Topics:
Red Sunshine: Embracing and Surviving Breast Cancer Treatment
Healing after a cancer diagnosis is a complex process that involves both treating the cancer and the rest of you. As a physician specializing in the very disease she was diagnosed with, Dr Allison knew the chemotherapy, surgery, radiation and antibody therapy she was signed up for were the best medical tools available to cure her cancer. And she made a conscious decision to embrace her medical therapies, including the infamous “Red Devil” (Adriamycin), which she chose to rename “Red Sunshine.” But the additional mental and physical healing she needed so that the rest of her would survive and continue to thrive, came from many other places: support from others, humor, exercise, meditation, acupuncture, writing, backyard magic … from assigning personal gurus to her support team to dreaming of a new set of “Barbie boobs,” her uplifting and sometimes comical approach to her disease has inspired others.
Understanding Breast Cancer: Lessons Learned from Both Sides of the Microscope
Our understanding of breast cancer has shifted from thinking of it as one disease with one potential cure to a disease that has unique biologic features and therapeutic targets in each patient. Practicing this form of “personalized medicine,” depends on knowing accurate information about the pathology or tissue characteristics of a particular cancer. What do you need to know about the pathology of each breast cancer? How can you ensure it is accurate? But understanding the biology of breast cancer is only part of the solution – we cannot lose the personal aspects of medicine. Dr Allison explores some of her “lesson learned” about the importance of the more personal aspects of cancer treatment based on her experience “on the other side of the microscope.“