For six months during 2016, Global Focus on Cancer founder and photographer Carolyn Taylor devoted much of her time to photographing women with metastatic breast cancer and recording their stories to share their voices with the world.
These brave ladies will live with this incurable disease and die with it. But their stories are unique and well worth hearing. Their lives are still rich and full, and they all have something beautiful to say.
“Now I devour life,” says Karine, from France. “I have to be happy every day, it changes everything.”
Taylor’s video, full of her photographs and quotes from the women she met along her journey, is an argument for the use of experimental drugs and procedures on metastatic breast cancer patients. Government administrations may say it’s not safe to try these options before they’re proven effective with minimal side effects, but time is of the essence for these women. It is often more unsafe not to try every option available, even if the risks are great.
“Our voices need to be heard,” says Hien, from Vietnam. “If we are not involved in scientific research, how can there be a difference in the outcomes of our lives?”
The women in the video below will have breast cancer for their entire lives. Their metastatic disease is not considered curable, and for many women around the world, there aren’t even good treatment options available to extend their lives.
Ruth, from Uganda, says, “In Uganda there is no radiation and limited treatment options [are] available. I fear that I will live and ultimately die, in pain.”
It is so important that we find a cure for metastatic breast cancer and other currently incurable cancers. And it’s also important that we understand the people behind the disease.
“There is a feeling of not being understood by the people around you,” says Faby, of France. “They say anyone can die tomorrow crossing the street. I say yes, but you are standing on the sidewalk, I am standing in the middle of the road trying to avoid the cars.”
Taylor is “eternally grateful to these extraordinary women who bravely shared their fears, hopes and dreams, and taught me more about living than I ever could have imagined.”
Learn more about the stories and unique perspectives of these and other metastatic breast cancer patients in the poignant video below.
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?