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November 03, 2019

Karen Peterson, Stage 4 Breast Cancer Survivor, Says She's Going to Keep Fighting for a Cure

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Despite the challenges she faced as a cancer patient, Karen Peterson is speaking up on how women can create a path for their healing through research.

After battling cancer three times, cancer survivor Karen Peterson recently opened up about the importance of taking control of one's treatment according to a recent report by Today. 

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PEOPLE recalls that Karen's life took a different turn in 2015 when a mammogram revealed she had breast cancer.

The disease was stage 1 triple-negative breast cancer, which she fought with chemotherapy. However, after several rounds of treatment, the social worker opted to have a double mastectomy.

The cancer patient tried the procedure intending to reduce the chances of cancer's return from 15% to 4%.

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That plan didn't work out quite as well as she expected to as a blood test and PET scan in April 2017 showed that she had Stage 4 breast cancer.

Additionally, the tumors were now in her lungs, ribs, spine, and pelvis. This time, instead of seeking help from only doctors, Karen also dug through the internet for a way out.

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Through her never-ending research, Karen learned about a clinical trial that was coming up involving immunotherapy. According to professionals, immunotherapy helps to strengthen or restore the immune system's ability to fight cancer.

The realization that she had a better fighting chance with the trial prompted the social worker to start the treatment on July 30, 2017. Only eight weeks into the experiment, THV11 reports that the survivor noticed a 72% reduction in her legions.

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The revelation came during Karen's sitdown with Dr. Neil Iyengar, a breast cancer expert. Besides making that revelation, the survivor is also addressing women who want advice on how to handle their diagnoses.  

As Essence shares, Karen believes that proper research, while taking control of one's treatment, plays a massive role in the recovery process.

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Going by the good news she got by trying the immunotherapy method, Karen states that she believes that the key to her recovery was making her path.

In her words:

"I'm just a simple woman. I did not have a special hookup, and I'm self-taught. If I can do it, you can, too. There are other Karens out there. I believe they just don't know it."

Karen's talk with Essence occurred in honor of breast cancer awareness month.

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