Olympian Shares Her Cancer Experience: ‘Give Yourself Grace’


Olympic gymnast, Shannon Miller, sat down with CURE® to discuss her experience with a rare type of ovarian cancer, and how her competitive mindset helped her through.

It took a 15-minute doctor’s appointment to change Shannon Miller’s life.

Miller, a two-time Olympic gymnast who earned seven medals, was diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer in January 2011. She first had surgery to have a baseball-sized tumor removed from her ovary before undergoing aggressive chemotherapy.

Throughout this experience, she tapped into her competitive and hardworking nature as an athlete to get her through the experience.

Shannon Miller smiling at a podium while delivering the keynote address at the 2023 Extraordinary Healer event | Image credit: © ATA-GIRL PHOTOGRAPHY

Shannon Miller delivering the keynote address at the 2023 Extraordinary Healer® award.

“There are so many lessons that I learned through sport that applied very directly to my cancer journey. I think goal setting was a big part of that,” Miller, who was also the keynote speaker at the 2023 Extraordinary Healer® award, said in an interview with CURE®. “They give you a sense of accomplishment along the way.”

READ MORE: Abbey Kaler, M.S., APRN, FNP-C, CMSRN, Wins CURE®’s 2023 Extraordinary Healer® Award

However, when treatment ended, that did not mean the cancer experience was over, Miller explained.

“(During) that next phase post-treatment … part of that journey of trying to figure out this new normal, and figuring out how to make sure not only I was mentally prepared for the next phase, but people around me around me were prepared for that as well,” Miller explained. “Because it's not like you finish treatment and the next day, you're 100% you have to give yourself some grace, give yourself some time to heal and try to figure out your next steps.”

In this episode of the Cancer Horizons podcast, Miller discussed her cancer diagnosis, how she took her athlete mindset to cancer and beyond and one oncology nurse who helped her through it all.

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