Enjoying Life's Gifts After Cancer
- Actress Julia-Dreyfus, 62, is a breast cancer survivor, recipient of the National Medal of Arts award, and nominated for another award for her popular podcast focused on older women.
- The kind of cancer Julia-Dreyfus was diagnosed with was Stage 2 breast cancers. This means the tumors are either larger than stage one tumors or have moved to a few nearby lymph nodes. Standard of care treatment usually involves a combination of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.
- Research published in Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences found that “35 to 40 percent of cancer patients have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder,” patients battling late-stage cancer tend to face even more significant mental health challenges.
- SurvivorNet has partnered with “Anxious Nation” to help draw much needed attention to the unmet mental health needs among breast cancer patients during October.
Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, 62, who fought breast cancer in 2017, finds herself a finalist for a Signal Award for her comedy podcast. The popular comedian posted the accomplishment to Instagram to rally additional support.
View this post on InstagramRead MoreThe award recognizes the world’s best podcasts, and the “Veep” star faces stiff competition from the likes of comedian Kevin Hart, actor Steven Yeun and more. Louis-Dreyfus’ “Wiser than Me” podcast shares thoughts and perspectives on issues from an older woman’s point of view.
“Julia Louis-Dreyfus wants to know why the hell we don’t hear more from older women,” Lemonada Media said of Louis-Dreyfus’ podcast. Jane Fonda, Ruth Reichl, Gine McCarthy, and Carol Burnett are just some of the women featured on the podcast.
Excited fans expressed their support.
“This is the best podcast! I am getting so much joy listening, and the conversation with your mom at the end of each is absolutely beautiful and fun,” Instagram user Cathy McCade commented.
“I’m so in love with your show, so inspiring,” Instagram user Nicole Lee wrote.
While we’ll know in due time if Louis-Dreyfus will walk away with the Signal Award for her popular podcast, the beloved comedian is already a winner in many other ways.
Earlier this year, she received the highest award for artists in America – the National Medal of Arts. She was bestowed the distinction by President Joe Biden at the White House. Upon her introduction to receive her award, President Biden quipped about her “Veep” role while acknowledging her brave fight with stage 2 breast cancer.
— CSPAN (@cspan) March 21, 2023
“She embraces life’s absurdity with absolute wit and handles real-life turns with absolute grace. A mom, a cancer survivor, a pioneer for women in comedy, she is an American original,” Biden said.
WATCH: One breast cancer survivor’s inspiring story of hope and happiness.
Helping Patients Cope with a Breast Cancer Diagnosis
Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Cancer Journey
Louis-Dreyfus was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in 2017. After her diagnosis, she shared the news publicly on her social media channels to an outpouring of support.
Stage 2 breast cancers are either larger than stage 1 tumors or have moved to a few nearby lymph nodes. Treatment will likely be some combination of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. If chemotherapy is also needed after surgery, the radiation is delayed until the chemo is done. The same approach is taken to hormone receptor and HER2 positive as stage 1.
“1 in 8 women get breast cancer. Today, I’m the one,” she wrote in her social media post.
“The good news is that I have the most glorious group of supportive and caring family and friends and fantastic insurance through my union. The bad news is that not all women are so lucky, so let’s fight all cancers and make universal health care a reality,” her social media post continued.
The brave actress sharing her diagnosis in a heartfelt post proved inspiring for many of her fans who were also on cancer journeys.
“You have always been my hero, and now more than ever, you will be one of my inspirations. Thank you for sharing your journey,” Instagram user Donna Romano wrote on Louis-Dreyfus’ post.
As Louis-Dreyfus bravely fought her breast cancer head-on, she underwent six rounds of chemotherapy and a double mastectomy during her treatment. It took roughly a year, but in October 2018, she announced she was cancer-free after reaching remission.
“I got diagnosed with cancer, and I powered through it,” the long-time actress turned cancer warrior told “People” during a 2018 interview.
“I came out the other side. I’m grateful for all of it,” she continued.
Sometimes, Breast Cancer Diagnosis Can Spawn Psychological Trauma
Research published last year found that nearly one-third of breast cancer patients experience temporary or lasting symptoms of depression during and after treatment.
“This critical study highlights what many oncologists and patients already know: helping women cope during and thrive after a breast cancer diagnosis includes addressing not only the physical trauma of the disease but equally each patient’s emotional experience with the disease,” Dr. Elizabeth Comen, a medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and medical advisor to SurvivorNet, told us.
“If we cure a patient of their breast cancer and fail to address common psychological trauma, we deprive our patients of our shared goal: helping patients live a full life,” she added.
Additional research published in Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences found that “35 to 40 percent of cancer patients have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder,” patients battling late-stage cancer tend to face even more significant mental health challenges.
WATCH: “Anxious Nation” creator Laura Morton shares details of the important film detailing mental health impacts.
SurvivorNet is focusing on the mental health of breast cancer patients during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. To help us with those efforts, we are collaborating with filmmaker and breast cancer survivor Laura Morton, whose film, “Anxious Nation” helps reveal the sheer impact of mental health.