According to the American Cancer Society, a staggering one in every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime. In 2013, a projected 295,000-plus new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the United States.

Statistically, most women will either be diagnosed or know someone diagnosed with breast cancer.

Michelle Carpenter, Emmy Award-winning assistant professor in the College of Arts and Media, hopes to break down the taboos of talking about breast cancer in her documentary “What the doctor didn’t tell me…”

This summer, with grant support from the Center for Faculty Development​, she is pdroducing a documentary investigating the what she describes at ther ‘medical vortex’ – from biopsies to procedures to recovery – breast cancer patients are swept into after diagnosis.

Carpenter explained, “The purpose of this documentary is to share the stories we don’t hear,” from the hardships to the triumphs to the terrifying procedures in between. Doctors cannot share every ugly or inspirational moment breast cancer patients experience after diagnosis, but the women who lived it can.

The Colorado women featured in this documentary are incredibly strong, each with uniquely empowering commentaries, Carpenter said. “The most exciting part of filming was meeting these women and hearing their stories. At one point you’re crying, and at the next, you’re laughing.”

“While living with cancer is far from rainbows and butterflies,” Carpenter said, “these women’s stories of pain, recovery, and ultimately transformation prove that a positive attitude is essential to beating cancer.”

Carpenter has been deeply affected by breast cancer; her sister in-law, mother in-law, and father in-law have all been diagnosed with the disease. “Unfortunately, cancer is part of most of our lives. What the doctor didn’t tell me… reaches out to all of us: those diagnosed with breast cancer, those struggling with a loved one’s diagnoses, and those looking to increase their awareness of the disease.”

For more information about Michelle Carpenter and her documentaries visit:

Center for Faculty Development

Carpenter’s project gained support from CU Denver’s Center for Faculty Development (CFD). CFD is the Denver campus-wide professional development center providing tenured, tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty with the support they need to excel as teachers, scholars, mentors, and leaders. The grant process this year was “highly competitive,” according to Donna Sobel, PhD, director, Center for Faculty Development,:

•  Total proposals received = 63

•  Request for funding totaled = $379.005.64

•  Proposals funded = 17 totaling $69,907.64

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