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Syracuse Speaks-TitBits: Breast Cancer Stories Tell How Disease Affects Patients, Family & Doctors

Cindy Bell for Look Now Project

Facing breast cancer means different things to different people.  That was the mission of – and the takeaway from – the production of TitBits: Breast Cancer Stories in which 8 people share how they were affected (listen below).  Patients, doctors, caregivers all recount personal and emotional details of their stories.  Excerpts of the production aired on WAER as an episode of Syracuse Speaks.

Syracuse University Television, Radio and Film Professor Tula Goenka started examining the perspectives of people gripped by breast cancer in her photo exhibit Look Now.  It showed survivors, clothed and nude, sharing their images after treatment or mastectomy, and their stories.  Goenka, a breat cancer survior herself, had patients Anju Varshney, AnnMarie Giannino-Otis, Colleen Anderson, Deirdre Bordies and Barbara Genton, along with widower Samuel Gruber who lost his wife to the disease, oncologist Sheila Lemke and breast reconstruction surgeon Anthony Diboni tell their stories.  Nancy Keefe Rhodes used those interviews to create the script, interweaving the histories and thoughts.

TitBits was written by Titbits by Syracuse University Alumna Nancy Keefe Rhodes with Kyle Bass of Syracuse Stage.  

TitBits is part of a larger project examining the impact of breast cancer, that includes the Look Now photo exhibit.  You can find out more at

The audio presentation here was recorded during live performances of TitBits:Breast Cancer Stories staged in November at Syracuse University’s Newhouse III.

Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.