“I started to realize how women weren’t getting information,” Dr. Love told People. “If they came in with a lump or what they thought was a lump, the doctor would say, ‘Don’t worry your little head about that, dear.’ Most of these patients were scared to death. I realized I could make a contribution.”
Dr. Love became an assistant clinical professor of surgery at Harvard in 1987. The next year she founded the Faulkner Breast Center, a Boston clinic whose medical staff was almost entirely female.
In 1992, she joined the David Geffen School of Medicine at U.C.L.A. and established a clinic, the U.C.L.A. Breast Center, which she directed. (Now known as the Revlon/U.C.L.A. Breast Center, it is a hub for treatment and research.)
Over time, Dr. Love’s teeming schedule of interviews and public appearances, and the absences they involved, caused tension among colleagues at the breast center. She resigned from the center in 1996, though she continued to teach part time at U.C.L.A., where at her death she was a volunteer clinical professor.
Dr. Love became associated with the Santa Barbara Breast Cancer Institute, a research center, in the mid-1990s. Now based in Santa Monica, Calif., it was renamed after Dr. Love in 2004.
The foundation’s projects include the Love Research Army (formerly the Love/Avon Army of Women), an initiative begun by Dr. Love that recruits volunteers from around the world to participate in breast-cancer studies; to date, more than 360,000 people have enrolled, including some men interested in learning about the disease.
Dr. Love is survived by her wife, Dr. Helen Sperry Cooksey, a surgeon, whom she married in San Francisco in 2004 during the brief period when same-sex marriages were being performed there, before a California ballot proposition made them illegal in 2008. Also surviving is their daughter, Katie Patton-LoveCooksey, whose adoption by her two mothers in 1993 — Dr. Love was the biological mother; both women reared her from birth — was the first granted to a same-sex couple in Massachusetts. In addition, Dr. Love is survived by two sisters, Christine Adcock and Elizabeth Love, and a brother, Michael James Love.