Karen Tso

Before chemotherapy caused her to lose her hair, cancer "warrior" Karen Tso took charge: She had her head shaved.

“I wanted to be a fighter, not a victim,” said Karen, who was diagnosed with breast cancer that required surgery in 2005. “Being proactive made me feel more in control of my situation instead of sitting back, watching my hair fall out and feeling demoralized.”

Karen was lucky. As program director at the HOPE Clinic, she had been coordinating a breast cancer screening and education program for low-income, uninsured Asian women when a routine mammogram revealed a tumor.

“I’m very fortunate that I had the mammogram when I did. Screening and early detection are so important.” 

So is determination, a positive outlook and a sense of humor – all attributes that helped Karen cope with her disease.

Now in remission, Karen sees her cancer experience as part of life’s natural ups and downs. “I don’t want my life dictated by bad luck and regrets. With the help of my family, faith and natural optimism I’m living my life the way I want to.”