Elisabetta Iannelli



Medical Condition: Cancer
Medical Therapy: Multiple therapies
Charity: Associazione Italiana Malati di Cancro, parenti e amici

In 1993, Elisabetta was a vibrant 24-year-old law student and bride-to-be when she was diagnosed with ductal invasive metastatic breast cancer. She underwent a partial mastectomy followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy. After a relapse, Elisabetta underwent additional radiotherapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy, ultimately receiving the all-clear from her care team that she was in remission.


“My breast cancer diagnosis at age 24 was a bolt out of the blue that I feared would crush all my dreams and desires. However, I soon decided that instead of letting cancer change my life, I would try to change the lives of people dealing with cancer by trying to eliminate any stigma or discrimination they faced, and work to make social and professional rehabilitation possible and available. I have dedicated my career to being a labor and welfare attorney, counseling people with disabilities or who otherwise suffer discrimination.

“I also donate my personal and professional experience to cancer charities. Since 2000, I have served as vice president of the Italian Association of Cancer Patients (AIMaC) —a nonprofit that provides information and psychological support to cancer patients, their families and friends. We have made great strides in the areas of welfare and health care, public and private employment, and equal treatment of all cancer patients. For example, a regulation was passed by the Italian Parliament in 2003, allowing cancer patients working in the private sector to switch from full-time to part-time positions while undergoing treatment, and return to full-time work according to their needs and capabilities. The same right has also been extended to public employees.

“I am also founder and general secretary of the Italian Federation of Volunteer-based Cancer Organizations (FAVO), a nonprofit that helps increase the influence of cancer patients on health policy so their voices can be heard, their needs met, and their rights protected.

“Because of my own experience, I can witness that cancer is a chronic disease an individual can live with. Life with cancer is possible, especially if God, your family and good friends around you support your strong desire to fight and to move forward.”


"Instead of letting cancer change my life, I try to change the lives of people with cancer."


Associazione Italiana Malati di Cancro, parenti e amici is a nonprofit organization founded by patients in 1997 to provide information and psychological support to cancer patients, their families and friends. The organization believes that welfare and job protection benefits play a major role within cancer rehabilitation programs, improving quality of life for cancer survivors, and helping them return to normal life during and after cancer treatments. This grant will support programs to increase awareness for cancer patient and caregiver needs, and reduce the stigma surrounding a breast cancer diagnosis.

*Not everyone who receives this therapy will receive the same results as the patient in this story. Talk with your doctor to determine if this type of therapy is right for you.