Shreveport musician beats breast cancer, returns to stage

Health

SHREVEPORT, La (KTAL/KMSS) – A Shreveport teacher and musician is surviving breast cancer and sharing her story in hopes of raising awareness for other women.

Amanda Tamaccio was teaching music to students by day and performing with her band, Star Chamber, at night until she got that fateful diagnosis after she found a lump in her breast. At only 31, she was told she has breast cancer.

“You start to make that transition into someone stronger and into someone that has to figure out what to do and has to decide to survive,” Tamaccio said in an interview last year. “There can be good moments in a cancer journey.”

Amanda was undergoing treatment while COVID-19 hit the community. The cancer was aggressive. Doctors found a grade three tumor. She says the treatment took over her life.

“What I did was, I looked at a lot of survivorship stories and I saw women going through it, and what they were living for which is basically moment to moment. Then I saw them come out of it, and I would tell myself, ‘I have to be one of those women one day. I have to. Now here I am. I’m one of those women,” Amanda said.

“The doctors granted me to say I could celebrate being cancer-free!”

Her journey was also felt by her whole family.

“I know they feel something every time they see me happy and laughing. They are like, ‘Look at her. She’s here. She’s through it, and she’s not hurting anymore.'”

Amanda received her cancer treatment in Shreveport. She met with breast surgeon Dr. Julie Cupp the day after her diagnosis. She also worked with medical teams through the Feist-Weiller Cancer Center at LSU Health Shreveport.

“She said, ‘You’re going to get the best treatment you need here in Shreveport,’ and she was right.”

Amanda is now taking her experience to help others. She is working with the American Cancer Society to promote breast cancer awareness, especially for young women.

“Don’t ever believe, as grim as it may sound, don’t think that it can’t happen to you because it can. Take your self-breast examinations seriously! It’s going to be the best way to make sure you’re okay.”

The American Cancer Society says that during the pandemic, the number of women receiving breast cancer screenings dropped dramatically. Fewer screenings means cancer in some cases is not detected until it reaches later stages, which makes it more difficult to treat.

Amanda has advice for those who find themselves facing a frightening diagnosis.

“It’s going to feel bad and there’s nothing you can do about that. You just have to go through it. But the other side is fruitful, full of time, full of life, and it’s there for you.”

Amanda has reclaimed her life. She’s teaching guitar and vocals to students online, and will soon start back as a music teacher at the Montessori School for Shreveport.

“I know how important it is to live your life to the fullest. There’s no better time to live how you want to live than now and I wasn’t doing that before cancer.”

With her recovery, her band, Star Chamber is also back. She will take this stage for the first time since her cancer battle began this weekend in downtown Shreveport.

Star Chamber will play at The Lot Downtown at 400 Crockett Street at 7 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $8 for all ages.

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