ASCO Remembers Breast Surgeon Sonja Eva Singletary, MD

Aug 05, 2015

Sonja Eva Singletary, MD, a renowned breast surgeon, passed away on July 29, 2015, in Houston, Texas. She was 62.

Dr. Singletary served as a Professor of Surgery at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, where she began her career in 1985 following the completion of a two-year fellowship. She was named Chief of the Melanoma Section in 1987 and became Chief of Breast Surgery in 1990, a position she held for over a decade.

Dr. Singletary was active in breast cancer research focused on identifying genetic factors associated with development of breast cancer, designing more effective combination therapies, and implementing prevention strategies. She was a dedicated patient educator, developing and designing educational materials to help women with breast cancer understand their treatment options.

In 1992, Dr. Singletary was appointed to a 17-member Special Commission on Breast Cancer by the President’s Cancer Panel to assess the status of breast cancer research, detection, treatment, and prevention throughout the United States. She served as Chair of the American Joint Committee on Breast Cancer Task Force and on the Intervention Task Force of the Texas Cancer Council. Dr. Singletary was inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame for her significant contributions in the areas of cancer prevention and cancer education, and was honored as a 2007 Professor of Survivorship awardee by Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Dr. Singletary was a member of ASCO from 1987-2010. During her membership, she served on the Nominating Committee, the Cancer Education Committee, and the Scientific Program Committee. She was a member of the Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO), and served as SSO President from 2004-2005. She published more than 270 articles and 75 book chapters, edited 15 books, served as Editor-in-Chief of Breast Diseases: A Year Book Quarterly, and was the Breast Section Editor of the Annals of Surgical Oncology and Cancer.

Born in South Carolina, Dr. Singletary completed an accelerated undergraduate program at Clemson University and received her medical degree at the Medical University of South Carolina. She completed her surgical residency at the University of Florida, including research in tumor immunology.

She is survived by her son, Benjamin Harkrider; her brother and her two sisters; and 10 nieces and nephews.

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