Survivorship Today: Cancer Survivor Stories - Bristol Myers Squibb

Survivorship

Today

What It’s Like to Live with Cancer

Breakthroughs in cancer research are making it possible for more people to survive cancer. Still, most people don’t understand that the disease can have lasting impacts on a person’s health and well-being.

“During my cancer journey, I leaned on my faith, family and cancer community for support – a community into which I had poured my heart and soul.”

– Loretta, breast cancer survivor and advocate

How my family’s history of cancer inspired me to support others

November 16, 2021

Loretta shares how her family history of cancer and personal survivorship journey inspired her to create local workshops and provide telehealth services for seniors in her community. Read more about how she is helping her community navigate online services and resources.

Survivor Perspectives

“The biggest improvement in my life has been empathy for others.” 

- Amanda, breast cancer and melanoma survivor

  • Patient perspective
  • Well-being
  • Physical health
  • Young adult

Amanda: Fighting for women’s fertility

Amanda speaks with Sterling K. Brown about the fertility challenges women with cancer face and why she’s fighting for a woman’s right to be a mother.
2021-11-16
"As a Lynch syndrome patient who has had three cancers, knowing that I possibly have additional cancers in my future and a history of the disease in my family is a continued challenge for me, but it has also fueled the fire for my advocacy."
- Wenora, colon, endometrial and basal cell carcinoma survivor
  • Patient perspective
  • Well-being
  • Health equity

At home with Wenora

Wenora shares how genetic testing and her work in research advocacy played a role in her survivorship journey.
2021-11-16
"Cancer survivors are not a homogenous community. Their needs are not all the same.”
- Eucharia, MSW, LCSW, Oncology Social Worker, Cancer Support Community
  • Patient perspective
  • Well-being
  • Health equity

Eucharia, Oncology Social Worker: Navigating survivorship care in underserved communities

Eucharia speaks with Sterling K. Brown about the challenges in disadvantaged communities impacting people affected by cancer and how she supports these communities through her work.  
2021-09-20
“Being a former healthcare provider who’s also living with cancer has helped me on my survivorship journey.” 
- Victoria, multiple myeloma survivor
  • Patient perspective
  • Healthcare provider perspective
  • Physical impact

At home with Victoria

Victoria, a retired healthcare provider, shares how she’s learning how to adapt while living with a chronic cancer.
2021-07-19

From athlete to activist: Fighting for health equity

Hear how Woody became a lifelong advocate.

 

  • Patient perspective
  • Health equity
  • Well-being

From athlete to activist: Fighting for health equity

Hear how Woody became a lifelong advocate.
Read More >
2021-05-10
“Helping to advocate on behalf of cancer patients has given me the strength and the healing that, ultimately, my body and soul needed.”
- Amanda, breast cancer and melanoma survivor
  • Patient perspective
  • Well-being
  • Physical impact
  • Young adult

Amanda: Learning to be your own advocate

Faced with cancer, Amanda became an advocate for not only herself, but for all women who have to make difficult fertility decisions while fighting for their lives.
2021-09-20
“For me, living long term with cancer is about resiliency, loving yourself and acknowledging your fears.” 
- Woody, osteosarcoma survivor and advocate
  • Patient perspective
  • Well-being
  • Health equity

Woody’s day in the life: Discovering how being a survivor is forever

Cancer survivor Woody shares how, despite a diagnosis 60 years ago, cancer is still very much a part of his life today.
2021-05-17

Fighting the stigma: How candid conversations may help men facing cancer 

Hear from Bin, a prostate cancer survivor

 

  • Patient perspective
  • Health equity
  • Well-being

Fighting the stigma: How candid conversations may help men facing cancer

Bin opens up about the health disparities he faced as a Black, male cancer survivor. Read more about his leap into advocacy to help empower underserved communities, including communities of color. 
Read More >

Related Resources

2021-04-11
"Creativity has helped me to refocus on the important things in life.”
- Joe, tongue and thyroid cancer survivor
  • Patient perspective

At home with Joe

Joe shares how art motivates him to stay positive during challenging times.
2021-02-07
"That journey of learning to accept and learning to allow others to help me has been a difficult journey to walk."
- AJ, lung cancer survivor
  • Patient perspective
  • Caregiver perspective
  • Well-being
  • Physical impact

AJ’s day in the life

For AJ, living with cancer can be physically painful and mentally challenging, yet his diagnosis changed his outlook on life.
2020-09-20
During cancer, I felt very isolated. With COVID-19, I’m getting a lot of those same feelings.” 
- Bin, prostate cancer survivor
  • COVID-19
  • Health equity
  • Patient perspective

Bin: Coping during COVID-19

Bin speaks with Sterling K. Brown about how his cancer journey helped him build tools of resiliency to cope with the challenges of being immunocompromised during COVID-19.
2020-07-12
“If you think in the way, this too shall pass, then it feels different. You know, if there's a will, there's a way.”
- Donna, living with multiple myeloma
  • Patient perspective
  • Well-being
  • COVID-19

Donna: Adapting during COVID-19

Donna speaks with Sterling K. Brown about finding out her multiple myeloma has returned and how she is adapting to her new normal during COVID-19.
2020-05-03

You are not alone: reflections on coronavirus. 

Hear from Amy, an eight-year breast cancer survivor. 

 

  • Patient perspective
  • Well-being
  • COVID-19

Navigating life during COVID-19

Read about Amy’s perspective on how COVID-19 has brought back the same feelings of isolation and uncertainty she felt during her cancer diagnosis and treatment. 
Read More >
2019-08-02
“Physically, I'm cancer-free, but mentally, I'll never be the same.”
- Justin, testicular cancer survivor
  • Patient perspective
  • Well-being
  • Young adult

Justin’s perspective

Men’s health advocate and cancer survivor Justin discusses how he has overcome the feelings of depression, isolation and anxiety that began after his treatment.

Related Resources

2020-10-17
“Having advanced stage lung cancer and trying to live in this pandemic is really hard.”
- AJ, lung cancer survivor
  • Patient perspective
  • COVID-19

At home with AJ during COVID-19

AJ shares how COVID-19 has affected his family and their daily lives.
2020-09-18
"Many cancer survivors feel a little lost. Everybody wants them to go back to normal, but life isn’t the same.”
- Melanie Goldfarb, MD, MSC, associate professor, endocrine surgeon and cancer survivorship advocate
  • Healthcare provider perspective
  • COVID-19

Dr. Goldfarb: Addressing unmet needs

Dr. Goldfarb opens up to Sterling K. Brown about the unmet needs of people living with cancer and how we can help bridge the gap in post-treatment care for cancer survivors.
2020-08-22
“I used to have all these preconceptions about cancer. Now I know that cancer can affect anyone.”
- Brandi, Ewing sarcoma survivor and U.S. Army veteran
  • Patient perspective
  • COVID-19
  • Well-being
  • Young adult

At home with Brandi during COVID-19

Brandi shares the parallels between facing cancer during active duty and COVID-19.
2020-06-26
“I try not to fear the future. After surviving two cancers, I’ve learned fear is an unwanted companion in my life.”
- Rebecca, two-time ovarian and thyroid cancer survivor
  • Patient perspective
  • Well-being

At home with Rebecca

Rebecca strives each day to live in the moment.
2020-07-12
“Even though we are physically isolated, it doesn’t mean we need to be socially isolated.”
- Marcia, ovarian cancer survivor
  • Patient perspective
  • COVID-19
  • Well-being
  • Young adult

Creating a community for survivors

Cancer survivor Marcia speaks with Sterling K. Brown about how creating an online community for patients and survivors has played a role in her healing process.
2019-12-01
“All I knew about cancer was death, and I didn’t want to hear it.”
- AJ, lung cancer survivor
  • Patient perspective
  • Well-being
  • Physical impact

AJ's perspective

When AJ found out he had stage 4 lung cancer and only a few years to live, he struggled to find comfort until he learned to find meaning in every moment.
2020-01-18
“I’ll always be grieving for the life that could have been if it weren’t for cancer.”
- Rebecca, two-time ovarian and thyroid cancer survivor
  • Patient perspective
  • Well-being

Rebecca’s perspective

Rebecca discusses the importance of a strong support system to help her through the thick and thin.
2019-05-10
“Cancer has played a role in every decision I've made.”
- Jamie, breast cancer survivor
  • Patient perspective
  • Young adult
  • Well-being

Jamie’s perspective

Jamie was 14 weeks pregnant when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Years later, the fear of reoccurrence still follows Jamie and plays a role in every decision she makes.

Related Resources

2020-06-27
“When I faced cancer, the concept of ‘normal’ really changed for me. And now facing the pandemic, normal has changed once again.”
- Justin, testicular cancer survivor
  • Patient perspective
  • COVID-19
  • Well-being
  • Young adult

At home with Justin during COVID-19

Justin shares how his cancer journey prepared him to adapt to the “new normal” he experienced during COVID-19.
2020-01-17
“In some ways, Rebecca’s cancer has brought us closer together and, in some ways, it has driven us apart.”
- Robert, Rebecca’s partner
  • Caregiver perspective
  • Well-being

Robert's perspective

Robert discusses how cancer can impact relationships and his experience caring for his partner and two-time cancer survivor, Rebecca.
2019-08-03
“In order for me to be healthy, I knew I needed to share my story.”
- Amy, breast cancer survivor
  • Patient perspective
  • Well-being

Amy's perspective

After breast cancer, Amy felt like there was no safe haven in the Asian American community to talk about her experience.
2020-11-21
“What the entire world is living now is essentially what every stage 4 cancer survivor lives everyday - worry, uncertainty, change.” 
- Rebecca, two-time ovarian and thyroid cancer survivor
  • Patient perspective
  • COVID-19
  • Well-being

At home with Rebecca during COVID-19

Rebecca shares COVID-19’s impact and how she’s adjusting to her “new normal.”
2019-11-30
“There’s no cure for multiple myeloma. I'll be living with cancer for the rest of my life.”
- Donna, living with multiple myeloma
  • Patient perspective
  • Well-being

Donna's perspective

When Donna was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, she was given three years to live. Now, despite daily challenges, she manages the disease as a chronic condition.
2019-05-09
“Where I’m from, there’s still a lot of shame around cancer.”
- Bin, prostate cancer survivor
  • Patient perspective
  • Health equity
  • Well-being

Bin's perspective

Cancer is not often talked about in the African American community, so when Bin found out he had prostate cancer, he knew it was important to share his story.

Related Resources

2021-09-21
“The support that I received from my community set the tone for me to dedicate my life to volunteerism and advocating for health equity in cancer care.” 
- Woody, living with osteosarcoma
  • Patient perspective
  • Well-being
  • Health equity

Woody: Advocating for health equity in cancer care

Woody speaks with Sterling K. Brown about his cancer diagnosis as a child and how it shaped his life’s work.
2021-07-18
“Learning to be resilient and trying to cope with cancer is much harder than people realize.” 
- Linda, living with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS)
  • Patient perspective
  • Well-being
  • Caregiver perspective

Linda’s day in the life: Living past the fear

Linda shares how with the help of her partner, she’s able to look past the fear of cancer and continue to participate in the activities she loves.
2021-07-18
“I have had to focus more on what I want and not of what I’m afraid of.”
- Linda, living with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS)
  • Patient perspective
  • Well-being

Linda: Transitioning from care partner to patient

Linda shares with Sterling K. Brown the challenges she faces while living with a rare blood cancer after losing her husband to a similar disease.
2019-05-08
Episode 1: Overcoming barriers
  • Patient perspective
  • Well-being

Episode 1: Overcoming barriers

Cancer survivors Bin and Jamie speak with Sterling K. Brown about finding support to overcome physical and emotional barriers around accessing quality care and survivorship resources.
2019-08-01
Episode 2: Healing the mind
  • Patient perspective
  • Well-being

Episode 2: Healing the mind

Cancer survivors Amy and Justin speak with Sterling K. Brown to share how community and emotional support tools helped them overcome feelings of loneliness and anxiety brought on by cancer.
2019-11-29
Episode 3: Against the odds
  • Patient perspective
  • Well-being

Episode 3: Against the odds

Cancer survivors Donna and AJ speak with Sterling K. Brown on how they are making the most of life after only being given a few years to live.
2020-01-16
Episode 4: Relationships afterwards
  • Patient perspective
  • Caregiver perspective
  • Well-being

Episode 4: Relationships afterwards

Two-time cancer survivor Rebecca and her partner Robert speak with Sterling K. Brown about how cancer can affect relationships and the way people living with the condition interact with others.

Learn Why Cancer Survivorship is Personal to Sterling

"Today, living with cancer has taken on a different meaning, with new realities, triumphs and challenges."

- Sterling K. Brown, Actor, Two-time Emmy award winner, This Is Us, Black Panther

 

Resources

 

Information and support if you or someone you know is living with cancer.

Survivorship Today: What It's Like to Live with Cancer

An initiative by Bristol Myers Squibb, Survivorship Today aims to share stories of people across the country who have been affected by cancer and advance our collective understanding of what it’s like to live with the disease today. We’re working with those featured to call attention to their personal triumphs and challenges, because with greater understanding, we can inspire more action and better support.