‘Give Yourself Grace’ After a Cancer Diagnosis, Kristen Dahlgren Says


Leaning on a community of oncology nurses, other patients and survivors can help ease the burden of receiving a cancer diagnosis, said Kristen Dahlgren.

Receiving a diagnosis of cancer can be overwhelming, but patients should give themselves grace, Kristen Dahlgren told CURE®.

Dahlgren is a former NBC news correspondent. After being diagnosed with breast cancer, she became a co-founder of the Pink Eraser Project.

In an interview with CURE® ahead of the 2024 Extraordinary Healer® award event — for which she was the keynote speaker — she emphasized to patients that leaning on a community of nurses and fellow patients and survivors is important.

“I was blown away by the generosity of other [patients],” she said during the interview. “Tap into that and never think that you’re bothering someone.”

READ MORE: Why Kristen Dahlgren Left NBC to Advocate for Breast Cancer Vaccines

Dahlgren said she still experiences a fear of recurrence. So, part of her mission with the Pink Eraser Project is to support the development of cancer vaccines. Notably, she urged that this could help survivors lessen their fear of recurrence with these vaccines.

“That’s part of why I’m doing [the Pink Eraser Project] because I dream of a day where I know that my immune system will kick in if that cancer ever creeps back in,” Dahlgren explained. “I think that future is a real possibility, so I’m leaning into that.”


Give yourself grace. It is a long road and can be tough. I always say cancer is not linear; it's not a start to finish and then you're done. There are ups and downs and it continues for years and I'm at seven surgeries now. It's not easy, and I still live with lymphedema, and I still live with fears of recurrence.

But you have to give yourself grace that you are going through it, it's not always going to be easy, but you're stronger than you think. You need to take care of yourself, listen to your body and listen to your nurses. And you'll get through it.

There's an amazing community to help you, not just the oncology nurses, but the other patients and survivors. I was blown away by the generosity of other cancer patients. And so, tap into that never think that you're bothering someone, I had people stay on the phone with me for an hour talking through how I would share with my 3-year-old that I had cancer and whether or not I should do the cold cap. These were people I had never met before but had gone through this journey, and were willing to give me that time. There are a lot of us out there. I'm always happy to talk people through it, so tap into that network and say thank you to your nurses.

Transcription was edited for clarity and conciseness.

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