Stories From Survivors

Having cancer is, for most people, life-changing. In their own words, these cancer survivors reflect on a variety of issues they've faced, and share insights gained through their cancer experiences.

About Our Patient Stories

Dana-Farber shares patient stories which may include descriptions of actual medical results. Dana-Farber provides personalized care for each patient based on their unique needs; their experiences and results will vary.

Kari's Story: The Importance of Vigilance

"I firmly believe that participating in the Survivorship Clinic saved my life." 

After completing treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma in 1996, Kari's life was typical of many busy professionals: raising a family and working hard. Then, in 2007, she enrolled in a secondary cancers study sponsored by Dana-Farber's Adult Survivorship Program, a member of the LIVESTRONG Center of Excellence Network, where tests revealed that she had breast cancer. Kari decided to share her story to help other cancer survivors understand the importance of vigilance and screening.

Ed's Story: Why I chose a Healthy Lifestyle

"I sat down with myself and said, 'I went through cancer, and now I'm going to let my diet take me down?'" 

Diagnosed with lymphoma while still in college, Ed successfully completed treatment and is now in his early 30s with a wife and young daughter. When a routine physical exam revealed high cholesterol and a possible heart problem, Ed embarked on a diet and exercise program that led to him taking on a challenge he'd never expected: his first marathon.

Dan and Diane's Story: Nurturing Your Relationship

"We've really made an effort to address things so that I'm not moving in one direction and he's moving in another."

Dan and Diane started dating when Dan was diagnosed with lymphoma in the 1970s. They have been married for 24 years. Their strong and loving relationship has endured many ups and downs, including Dan's lung cancer diagnosis in 2007. Here, they share their story and explain why good communication is especially important when one partner has cancer.

Magnolia's Story: Be Your Own Advocate

"As a cancer survivor, I had no idea about treatment summaries or aftercare plans until I got to Dana-Farber."

As a breast cancer survivor, Magnolia learned first-hand that primary care physicians are often unaware that cancer survivors have unique medical needs as a result of their cancer treatment. Part of Magnolia's work at Dana-Farber is to provide information to cancer survivors about the possible long-term effects of their treatment.

Julie's Story: Dealing with the Fear of Recurrence

"I do feel like I almost live with a time bomb; that this could go off again at any time." 

Diagnosed with a melanoma on her leg in 2002 and again in 2008, Julie underwent a radical procedure – isolated limb perfusion surgery – in which her leg was treated with high dosage chemotherapy to destroy any cancer cells in the tissue. The procedure was very successful, but having had cancer twice, Julie wonders what the future will hold.


Charlie's Story: Thriving After Leukemia and Relapse

"I was really scared cause I thought I might have been a goner — but I'm not."

Read Charlie's Story