Ms. Spears is an over 20-year breast cancer survivor and cancer research patient advocate. She was diagnosed with locally advanced breast cancer at the age of 40 and after neoadjuvant chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy, she participated in a HER2 vaccine clinical trial. Ms. Spears has concentrated her advocacy on clinical trials and serves as an advocate on the Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium (TBCRC). She has also been an advocate for the National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) since 2008, and is currently an advocate for the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology as Associate Group Chair for Advocacy, Chair of the Alliance Patient Advocate Committee and a member of the Breast Committee. She is also a member of several NCI Committees, including the Breast Cancer Steering Committee (BCSC), Investigational Drug Steering Committee (IDSC), and the Core Correlative Science Committee (CCSC).
Ms. Spears is currently working as a scientific research manager and patient advocate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center where she leads the UNC Lineberger Patient Advocates for Research Council (PARC) and the UNC Breast SPORE Advocates. At UNC she focuses on communicating research to the public and facilitates the engagement of patient advocates with Lineberger researchers. She also has an interest in patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) in drug development and clinical trials.