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Dedicated Oncologists

Bakes for Breast Cancer funds dedicated oncologists at the earliest stages of clinical research. With a long journey of research and clinical trials ahead, oncologists have few funding options when they’re just starting out. We believe this is where we can make the most impact, so we lean on the expert guidance of our Medical Advisory Board to identify promising researchers we can help get off the ground.

Meet the Recipients

We are beyond grateful to our recipients! They give an incredible amount of time to their patients, research, travel, events, and more. It’s more than a full-time job — but these inspiring doctors aren’t stopping until we win the fight against breast cancer.

The support provided by organizations like Bakes for Breast Cancer is crucial to the execution of important projects which otherwise go under-funded or unfunded.

Dr. Rachel FreedmanDana-Farber Cancer Institute, 2019-2024 recipient

Dr. Veda Giri

Funds raised in 2024 will help support the PROSPER Study which focuses on early onset (eo) cancer, primarily breast cancer in the age group of 18-49.

Read video transcript

Early-Onset Cancer Program

Nationally, what we’ve been observing are increasing trends of early onset cancers in general. It is a really important area to address for a number of reasons. One is that oftentimes cancers in younger adults tend to be more aggressive. There can be some differences in responses to therapies and these patients can have unique psychosocial needs, supportive needs that have to be brought into their care in order for them to really launch into survivorship.

One of the important focus areas for us is going to be in early onset breast cancer. These are young adults, primarily individuals who are extremely active in their lives. They have very busy lives and managing all of these things in life, along with a cancer diagnosis and cancer treatment really can put a strain. It can really impact mental health and have it be a difficulty to go forward.

So our particular early onset cancer program is actually going to be very translational and very comprehensive. So we’re going to look at this by engaging multidisciplinary experts that addresses how do we make advances in this space from the clinical arena, which means we have to go hand in hand with research and everywhere along the way we need to think about this from the aspect of addressing disparities and enhancing equity.

Patients who have early onset cancers are often the patients that need to be seen
for genetic testing and genetic counseling and then use those results to be able to give medical management recommendations to patients about cancer screening, risk for themselves for additional cancers, treatment of cancers and then genetic testing in their families.

Now, this field has really risen in importance because of this field of precision medicine. So now for patients, even that have cancers, particularly advanced cancers, genetic testing is being done to be able to identify genetic changes that can help inform their treatment. And also even in the space of some patients, for example, with earlier stage breast cancers, those genetic results can help inform their surgical decisions. So it’s really important across the spectrum from cancer treatment all the way to cancer risk information.

Dr. Rachel Freedman

Funds raised in 2019-2024 will support Dr. Rachel Freedman in her work on the ADVANCE clinical trial at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The trial focuses on an alternative chemotherapy approach with older patients — women who are woefully underrepresented in clinical trials, even as they face worse outcomes than their younger counterparts. Baked into the study design is a focus on patient experience and quality of life, including a wealth of scientific efforts to answer questions like what makes cancer different in older women and what drives their side effects.

According to Dr. Freedman,
“it is because of Bakes for Breast Cancer that this trial will be completed, and the results disseminated.”

Dr. Rachel Freedman is a medical oncologist specializing in breast cancer at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Medical Director of the Dana-Farber Cancer Care Collaborative. Her research primarily focuses on the care of vulnerable patient populations, including those who are historically underrepresented in clinical trials and suffer worse outcomes after diagnosis. Her varied research is targeted towards improving the evidence base and outcomes for women at risk for poor outcomes.

Dr. Freedman is a graduate of Georgetown University School of Medicine. She completed her residency at Beth Israel Medical Center and her medical oncology fellowship at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She received a Masters in Public Health from Harvard University and has been on faculty at Dana-Farber since 2009.

Dr. Shom Goel

Money raised from our generous donors in 2017-2018 went to Dr. Shom Goel at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to fund his work with immune-based therapies. Over the last year, his team has made significant progress in learning how to make those therapies more effective for breast cancer. Thanks to those discoveries, Dr. Goel’s team can take their findings from the lab setting into clinical trials.

“It is not an overstatement to say that we could not have done that work without you,” said Dr. Goel.

Dividing his time between the laboratory bench and patient bedsides, Dr. Shom Goel is a breast cancer oncologist and physician-scientist. His recent research has addressed why breast cancers are resistant to the drug treatments used in the clinic and how breast cancers can “hide” from the immune system.

Dr. Goel graduated from the University of Adelaide Medical School and completed medical oncology training in Sydney. Previously at Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston Massachusetts, Dr. Shom Goel is now a Group Leader in the Cancer Research Division at The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Victoria, Australia.

Dr. Heather Parsons

Funds from 2015-2016 supported Dr. Heather Parsons at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, specifically in her biomarker research. Dr. Parson’s preclinical research is developing biomarkers to better direct existing treatments, with the next important step being a large-scale national study. Ultimately, the results will allow doctors to reduce overtreatment and know when to intensify treatment to meet specific patient needs. The highly personalized treatment would help patients live better, longer.

“There’s a catch-22 in cancer research of needing funding to do the important work, but needing results to get the funding in the first place. Bakes for Breast Cancer was integral to my start in breast cancer research,” shared Dr. Parsons.

Heather A. Parsons, MD, MPH is a medical oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Parsons’ research focuses on breast cancer and the use of blood-based genomic biomarkers to understand the course of breast cancer and patient response to treatment.

Dr. Parsons is a graduate of Dartmouth College and has a Master in Public Health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She received her medical degree from Drexel University College of Medicine, followed by an internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She then completed a fellowship in Medical Oncology at Johns Hopkins Hospital before joining the faculty at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Dr. Parsons’ honors and awards include a Young Investigator Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology. She is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Association for Cancer Research, and the Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium.


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Bakes for Breast Cancer, Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to finding a cure for breast cancer in our lifetime by awarding grants to cancer research and treatment institutes. Your contributions may be tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.


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