Kyle Kazan, speaker at the Oct. 22 Cancer Support Community South Bay event, lives life with a constant ‘attitude of gratitude.’


Diane Kazan was breastfeeding her 6-month-old son when she found the lump.

It could’ve been a clogged milk duct, but she rubbed the spot and it didn’t dissolve.

Her doctor sent her to get a mammogram, something she’d felt too young to have get done at 37 years old. That led to a biopsy in which the radiologist noticed jagged edges.

She was glad that she atypically asked her husband to come with her to the appointment to get the results. It was Dec. 11, 2000, and Diane Kazan had just found out she had breast cancer.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” she said, “My fear was that I was gonna die; I cried for three days.”

Her husband, Kyle Kazan, said that he still remembers the shock of the diagnosis more than 20 years later.

“There’s just no way to prepare for those three words ‘you have cancer,’” Kyle Kazan said.

The former special education teacher and Torrance police officer recalled his wife’s first words after hearing the news: “I don’t want to die; I want to watch my son grow.”

Kyle Kazan for those first three days after the diagnosis was taking all the notes and asking all the questions, he said, as his wife “was blurry, not my usual Diane.”

The 4.5-centimeter tumor found was considered huge, Diane Kazan said, and doctors assumed it had already spread to her brain. She started aggressive chemotherapy treatments after getting several different opinions.

Among those recommendations were the Cancer Support Community South Bay.

Diane joined a breast cancer support group at the organization, while Kyle joined a caregiver group.

“I came out invigorated, as did she, although we were going through something different,” Kyle Kazan said.

It was an intimate space, too.

“If you don’t have the family support, people will come pick you up, go with you to chemo,” he said. “There’s a sisterhood in that breast cancer room.”

Once meetings were over, they’d hang out with other participants, laughing and living their normal lives.