Susan L. Anderson, or "Sunny" Susan as she's affectionately known, has dedicated her life to people affected by carcinoid/neuroendocrine tumors (NET) and has become an energetic advocate for, and educator of, the disease. Her journey began on May 10, 1995, when she was diagnosed with carcinoid cancer after an 8-year-long battle through one misdiagnosis after another.
Susan immediately began researching the disease and soon learned there wasn't much information available about NET. Many doctors believed patients with NET had a short time to live. Born with a self-proclaimed "type A" personality, Susan refused to accept the supposed facts. She says, "I was told by every doctor to 'learn to live with it.' Probably the average person would accept that. I refused to and because of that I'm still alive."
Through her research, Susan discovered Monica Warner's website for the Carcinoid Cancer Foundation. From that moment on, Susan Anderson, Monica Warner, and Dr. Richard Warner formed a team determined to bring attention to this uncommon disease and advocated tirelessly for patients everywhere.
Recognizing the need for greater patient support, Susan created the first website about NET by a patient, which celebrates its 18th anniversary this year. The site, carcinoidinfo.info, continues its success in assisting people affected by the disease, and has more than 380,000 visitors. In addition to this "labor of love," Susan has dedicated her time to personally answering more than 100,000 e-mails, assisting patients and caregivers from around the world. Susan's in-depth relationships within the carcinoid/NET community even allow her to refer international patients to support groups in their respective countries.
Susan has attended numerous conferences throughout the world as a guest speaker, including the first International Meeting of Patient Self-Help Groups in Berlin, Germany. One of her fondest memories is from 2009, when Dr. Richard Warner invited Susan to take part in a 12-person panel of patients with carcinoid cancer at the Patient Support Advisory Board meeting in New York. When not attending conferences, Susan participates in many boards and support groups, some of which she has founded.
"Sunny" Susan has her nickname for a reason. Each step of her journey has been accompanied by unwavering optimism, determined energy, and an incredible zest for life. It makes sense that her daily goals are to "have some good 'belly laughs,' assist others, and live each day to its fullest enjoying each and every one."
Susan is honored to share recognition alongside the late Monica Warner, the pioneer of Patient Advocacy for NET patients who was also a dear friend. The recognition also extends to amazing patient advocates everywhere, including Maryann Wahmann and Jan Naritomi-Hart, the 2010 and 2011 Warner Advocacy Award recipients, respectively.
Novartis Oncology and Patient Advocacy provide support to patients through an array of programs and services.
The NET Alliance is a Novartis Oncology initiative working to help improve outcomes for patients with NET.