Cancer Survivor Stories

Many cancer survivors share their stories to inform and inspire you.

Photo of breast cancer survivor Julie Locklear
Cancer has touched the lives of many CDC employees. Some of them share their stories and words of wisdom.
Bring Your Brave (breast cancer in young women)
Photo of breast cancer survivor Charity

“Being proactive in your health is definitely the most important thing,” says Charity, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 27. She shares her story in a video.external icon

See more breast cancer stories

Screen for Life (colorectal cancer)
Photo of colorectal cancer survivor Robert

“Fortunately, because the cancer was found early enough, the surgery was successful. But I never would have found it early if I hadn’t been screened,” says colorectal cancer survivor Robert.

See more colorectal cancer stories

Inside Knowledge (gynecologic cancer)
Photo of cervical cancer survivor Ana

“I choose to see the blessings in the experience of having cancer. I learned to listen to my body and advocate for myself,” says cervical cancer survivor Ana.

See more cervical, ovarian, uterine, and vaginal and vulvar cancer stories

Survivor Stories from Our Blog, The Topic Is Cancer

Photo of Jordyn Farrell and her sister

“The impact of cancer doesn’t stop as soon as treatment is finished,” says Jordyn, who was diagnosed with cancer at 16. “I question every odd symptom I sometimes feel. But, I try to focus on what I can control. Having cancer taught me to try to find as much joy where you can get it.”

Photo of skin cancer survivor Ginny

“Even though I knew I had almost every risk factor for skin cancer, a lighter natural skin color, red hair, and a lot of sun exposure from my teen years as a lifeguard, I fell into the far too common trap of thinking that skin cancer wouldn’t happen to me,” says Ginny.

Photo of skin cancer survivor Mallory

“I wish I could tell 16-year-old me to never start tanning,” says skin cancer survivor Mallory. “I will try very hard to make sure my children never tan. The skin they were born with is perfect, just the way it is.”

Photo of ovarian cancer survivor Terri and her husband, Johnny

“The reality at first is such a shock,” says ovarian cancer survivor Terri. “I realized I can live with a chronic condition, and I can have a great life.” Now Terri makes it her mission to help women who are at risk for or who have ovarian cancer.

Photo of breast cancer survivor Pam

Breast cancer survivor Pam says, “I’m proud to say that my family is full of survivors. However, it’s a whole different ballgame when the person with cancer is staring at you in the mirror. My focus centered on the health and happiness of my two boys. Having cancer forced me to understand the importance of making my health a priority.”

Photo of throat cancer survivor Lewis

“When you hear the word ‘cancer,’ your world changes in an instant,” says throat cancer survivor Lewis. After seven chemotherapy treatments and 35 radiation treatments, the tumor had shrunk to the point that doctors could no longer detect cancer. Lewis and his wife Amy decided to start a support group for people with head and neck cancers.

Photo of liver cancer survivor Gary

An illness caught Gary, 61, off guard in 2013. When doctors suggested he go for more tests, he knew his condition was more severe than he first guessed. He recalls, “The doctor asked, ‘How long have you had hepatitis C?’ And I said, ‘I didn’t even know I had it!’”

Photo of three-time cancer survivor George Hilliard

George had already survived two kinds of cancer when his doctor gave him the shocking news that he had prostate cancer. “I began my journey back to health by relying on my support network and positive attitude,” he says. “I also work at keeping a confident outlook on life by participating in cancer discussion groups with other survivors.”

Photo of breast cancer survivor Traci Ramirez

“My normal morning suddenly became life-changing for me. I found a lump in my left breast,” says breast cancer survivor Traci. “I’m happy to say that was three years ago. It hasn’t been easy. As a cancer survivor, I sometimes have mixed feelings about my future. I try to think about how I am blessed.”

Photo of melanoma skin cancer survivor Sharon McKenna

“I’m a fair-skinned redhead. I spent summers as a lifeguard and vacations at the beach, and I never wore sunscreen,” admits skin cancer survivor Sharon. “My battle with melanoma began in 2002. I learned that knowledge is power. Skin cancer is the most preventable of all cancers. Vacations now center around better things.”

Photo of melanoma skin cancer survivor Dr. Travis Kidner

“I began using indoor tanning beds in my early teens,” says skin cancer survivor Dr. Travis Kidner. “I did not realize that the healthy glow I was so desperately seeking was actually caused by DNA damage from the UV radiation. Twenty years would pass before the damage eventually surfaced. As a surgical oncologist, I never imagined that I would become a patient. But there I was at age 36 with two small children and a potentially deadly cancer.”

Podcasts

Photo of Pam

“I have what I call a ‘new normal.’ That means a different attitude towards life. I do as much as I can by eating well, exercising, and keeping my stress levels down,” says Pam.

Photo of Carletta

“It was the moment when the diagnosis, the treatment, the road behind, the road ahead, all converged. I started to plan how I wanted my year to be when treatment ended. … Somewhere from within, we find a strength that helps us to overcome. Cancer did not win,” says Carletta.

More My Motivated Moment Podcasts

Photo of Jackie

“Now I know there’s no obstacle that I can’t handle. Survivorship means taking charge, and part of survivorship is understanding what you have to do to take care of yourself, and working with your doctors as a team,” says Jackie.

Videos Featuring Breast Cancer Survivor Joan Lunden

Breast Cancer Treatment Plan

“Work with your doctors to gather as much information as possible to determine the right treatment plan for you,” advises breast cancer survivor Joan Lunden in this video.

Joan Lunden shares her advice in four videos—