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Vancouver woman clears up misconceptions about breast cancer

Last Updated Oct 22, 2017 at 1:18 pm PDT

(Courtesy Canadian Breast Cancer Network)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Knowing a cure probably won’t be found in time to save her, a 27-year-old woman is speaking out about the cancer which kills one person every two hours in Canada.

Karen Wall hopes that won’t be her, but in March, she found out she has Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. “Don’t let them tell you you’re too young –you’re never too young.”

As she continues treatment, Wall refuses to describe herself as a survivor.

“We need to stop with the war metaphors. If I pass away from this, which is a very likely possibility, that I’ve some how lost my battle. That whole war metaphor that we’ve created around things like cancer, it’s a little bit harsh for people who have a terminal illness. I may not be a survivor, but I’m what I consider a thriver.”

LISTEN: NEWS 1130’s Marcella Bernardo’s full interview with Karen Wall


She insists she won’t let the disease slow her down. “I wasn’t really given a choice here. I was given two options. Either do something or do nothing.”

Wall adds she’s now living her life to the fullest.

“I was always planning five to ten years in advance. You know, where am I going to be in my career? What am I going to do here, but now I sort of live day to day. I still make plans, but they’re more meaningful plans –like I’m planning to go to Peru next year, so I try to spend my days doing the things I enjoy –finding something to be grateful for every day.”

She says she’s talking about her experience because a survey recently found only half of all Canadians have heard of this incurable disease which gets about seven per cent of the $15-billion dedicated to all breast cancer research in North America and the United Kingdom.