Skip to content
Your browser is out-of-date.
To get the best experience using our site, you’ll need to update to a newer browser.
Breast Cancer Awareness with Dr. Monica Morrow of Memorial Sloan Kettering | 2022

For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, FIGS donated $50,000 to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in support of their Young Women with Breast Cancer program.

We spoke with Dr. Monica Morrow, the Chief of Breast Surgery Service at MSK, about her work, this hopeful moment in breast cancer research and how our donation will make an impact.

Hi Dr. Morrow! Can you tell us a little bit about your role at Memorial Sloan Kettering?

I'm the Chief of Breast Surgery Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where I'm also the Anne Burnett Windfohr Chair of Clinical Oncology. I like to say I have the best breast cancer job in the United States of America.

I do surgery two days a week, I do clinical research, I develop young faculty, and I also help to train the next generation of breast cancer surgeons.

What’s your favorite part about the work you do?

As a surgeon I always love being in the operating room, but I think at this point in my life, one of my greatest pleasures is developing younger people. You reach a point where you understand you've done what you can accomplish personally in your career, and it's very gratifying to help people surpass what we've done. Although we've made great strides in breast cancer, I think the future is incredibly hopeful.

What are the biggest differences in breast cancer treatment today vs when you started your career?

The difference in breast cancer today, compared to when I started my career, is absolutely astonishing.

When I first started, there was only one thing we did to treat breast cancer surgically, and that was an old fashioned mastectomy to remove the breast and all the lymph glands under the arm.

We didn't really have drug therapies that worked, so large numbers of women were dying. Today we have just a completely different viewpoint on breast cancer, we're able to treat a large number of women without removing the breast. We have fantastic breast reconstructions and mastectomies that spare the nipple.

We also have a whole host of drug therapies that are dedicated towards particular subsets of cancer. We no longer think of breast cancer as one big breast cancer — it's different diseases, so our real goal is to individualize treatment to the patient.

How do donations like the one FIGS made contribute to MSK’s work? What kinds of things do donations support?

We're extremely grateful to FIGS for the $50,000 donation they've made in support of our Young Women with Breast Cancer program. My colleagues started a program specifically for young women and support from FIGS will help us realize the goals of this program.

There is just not enough government funding to go around for all the good ideas out there. That's where philanthropy comes in, as a major path to success in this country.

It's a really exciting time in breast cancer research. And I think that it's something that is well worth contributing to because we've had so much success, we now see a clearer way forward and a path to build upon.

We are teetering on the edge of being able to potentially turn some breast cancers into a chronic disease that you live out the rest of your normal lifespan without any symptoms.