Metastatic Cancer Stories From Patients and Survivors, Stage 4

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Metastatic Cancer Patient Stories
Stage 4
Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

After speaking to cancer patients and cancer patient advocates, it’s clear that no matter where the origin of the cancer, metastatic cancer patients share similar questions and experiences. Find stories of stage IV or metastatic cancer patients here. With emerging cancer treatments, the stories are changing all the time. If you have a story you’d like to contribute or have any feedback, we’d love to have it. 

Metastatic Breast Cancer Stories

Breast Cancer: IDC, Stage 4, Triple Positive | Shari’s Story

Shari Sheranian, Stage 4, Metastatic, Triple Positive



Cancer details: Triple positive = positive for HER2, estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR)
1st Symptoms: Lump in breast
Treatment: Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation
Breast Cancer: IDC, Triple Negative, Stage 2B/4 Metastatic | Erin’s Story

Erin Cronican, IDC, Triple Negative, Stage 2B/4 Metastatic



Cancer details: Triple negative doesn’t have any receptors commonly found in breast cancer making it harder to treat
1st Symptoms: Pain in breast
Treatment: Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation
Breast Cancer: DCIS, Partially Differentiated, Stage 4 Metastatic, Triple + | Alison’s Story

Alison Rash, Partially Differentiated DCIS, Stage 4 Metastatic



Cancer details: Triple positive = positive for HER2, estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR)
1st Symptoms: Lump in underarm/breast
Treatment: Chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, targeted therapy

Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Stories

Colorectal Cancer Stories: Colon Cancer, Metastatic, Stage 4 | Lindsay Danneker

Lindsay Danneker, Colon Cancer, Stage 4



Cancer Details: Diagnosed at 32, cancer spread to ovary and lung
1st Symptoms: Lump in pelvic area, funny-smelling food, weight loss
Treatment: Chemotherapy, colectomy (surgery)

Metastatic Hodgkin Lymphoma Stories

Hodgkin Lymphoma: Classical, Nodular Sclerosis, Stage 4A | Lia’s Story

Lia Sartorio, Nodular Sclerosis, Stage 4A



Cancer details: Most common and most treatable form of Hodgkin lymphoma
1st Symptoms:
Extreme lower back pain
Treatment:
ABVD chemotherapy
Hodgkin Lymphoma: Classical, Stage 4 | CC’s Story

CC Webster, Hodgkin, Stage 4



Cancer details: Diagnosed at 29, misdiagnosed as mono
1st Symptoms: Achiness, extreme fatigue, reactive rash on chest and neck. Later: chills, night sweats
Treatment: ABVD chemotherapy (6 cycles)

Metastatic Lung Cancer Stories

Lung Cancer: ROS1+, Stage 4 | Lisa’s Story

Lisa Goldman, Non-Small Cell, ROS1+, Stage 4 (Metastatic)



Cancer Details: ROS1+ tends to be aggressive. It can spread to the brain and to the bones.
1st Symptoms: Persistent cough (months), coughing a little blood, high fever, night sweats
Treatment: Chemo (4 cycles), maintenance chemo (4 cycles)
Lung Cancer: ALK+, Stage 4 Metastatic Non-Small Cell | Tara’s Story

Tara Sanderson, Non-Small Cell, ALK+, Stage 4 (Metastatic)



Cancer details: ALK+ occurs in 1 out of 25 non-small cell lung cancer patients
1st Symptoms:
Numbness in face, left arm and leg
Treatment:
Targeted radiation, targeted therapy (Alectinib)

Metastatic Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Stories

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Story: Diffuse Large B-Cell & Burkitt Lymphoma | Erin’s Story

Erin Richter, DLBCL & Burkitt Lymphoma, Stage 4



Cancer details: Characteristics of both subtypes
1st Symptoms: Lower abdominal pain, blood in stool, loss of appetite
Treatment: Chemotherapy (Part A: R-CHOP, HCVAD, Part B: Methotrexate, Rituxan, Cytarabine)
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Story: Diffuse Large B-Cell, Stage 4 | Emily’s Story

Emily Gibson, Diffuse Large B-Cell (DLBCL), Stage 4



1st Symptoms: Pain in left knee
Treatment: R-CHOP chemo (6 cycles), high-dose methotrexate chemo (3 cycles)

Metastatic Ovarian Cancer Stories

Ovarian Cancer: High Grade, Metastatic | Susan’s Story

Susan Rienzo, High-Grade, Metastatic



Cancer details:Account for up to 70% of cases
1st Symptoms:Pulling sensation when emptying bladder; abdominal pain
Treatment: Chemotherapy (Carboplatin & Paclitaxel) & surgery
Ovarian Cancer: Low Grade Serous | Cheyann’s Story

Cheyann Shaw, Low-Grade Serous Carcinoma, Stage 4B



Cancer details: Makes up approximately 10% of cases of serous ovarian cancer.
1st Symptoms:
Stomach pain, constipation, lump on right side above pubic area
Treatments:
Cancer debulking surgery, chemotherapy (Carboplatin & Taxol, then Doxil & Avastin)
Ovarian Cancer: Epithelial Stage 4 | Jodi’s Story

Jodi Smith, Epithelial Ovarian Cancer, Stage 4 (IV)



Cancer Details: Metastatic
1st Symptoms: Extreme bloating, extremely tight skin, changes in digestive tract, significant pelvic pain, sharp-shooting pains down inner thighs, extreme fatigue
Treatment: 4 rounds of chemotherapy, hysterectomy, 3 rounds of additional chemotherapy

Metastatic Sarcoma Stories

Soft Tissue Sarcoma: Desmoid Tumor, Stage 4 | Alicia’s Story

Alicia Bennett, Desmoid Tumor, Stage 4



Cancer details: Rare, <3% of all soft tissue tumors, more common in women
1st Symptoms: lump found in right armpit
Treatment: Chemo, radiation, targeted therapy, clinical trials, surgery, including forequarter amputation

Metastatic Testicular Cancer Stories

Testicular Cancer: Non-Seminomal Germ Cell, Stage 4 | Steve’s Story

Steve Lynch, Non-Seminoma, Stage 4



Cancer Details: Germ cell tumors usually occur in men between their late teens and early 30s
1st Symptoms:
Grape-sized tumor on neck; hip and pelvis pain; ultrasound revealed tumor on right testicle
Treatment:
Chemotherapy (BEP), removal of right testicle, lymph node resection (RPLND), and tumor dissection in the neck

Metastatic Thyroid Cancer Stories

Thyroid Cancer: Papillary, Stage 2 | Jenna’s Story

Jenna Cordaro, Metastatic Papillary Thyroid Cancer, Stage 2



Cancer details: Spread to lymph nodes
1st Symptoms: Hoarse voice, painful talking, lump in neck near Adam’s apple
Treatment: Thyroidectomy (entire removal of thyroid), radioactive iodine treatment
Thyroid Cancer: Papillary Stage 2 (Metastatic) | Greg’s Story

Greg Sable, Metastatic Papillary Thyroid Cancer, Stage 2



Cancer details: Spread to lymph nodes
1st Symptoms: Fatigue, lump in neck near Adam’s apple
Treatment: Thyroidectomy (entire removal of thyroid), radioactive iodine treatment