Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Yes, I have Stage IV Breast Cancer

The diagnosis has hit me like a ton of bricks.

Breast cancer has come back and has spread to my lungs. This is called Stage IV Breast Cancer, with metastasis (“mets”) to the lungs. Quoting Margaret Edson from the play, WIT - “Stage IV - there is no Stage V.”

So what does this mean? In the short term, it means I will be on some cocktail of chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and/or immunotherapy for the rest of my life. In the long term, my life is not going to be that long. People with my kind of cancer tend to survive 3-5 years.

Yep. 3-5 years. That’s all the doctor’s say I have left to live.

The hope is that treatment will shrink the tumors and keep them from spreading for as many years as possible. I’m young and relatively healthy, so I should be able to tolerate treatment well. And the hope is that I’ll have enough energy to continue to do what I love doing - performing, producing and teaching.

But I have to be honest - it’s very hard to see the positives when I know disease is cutting everything short. I know it’s early - I only just found out yesterday - so it’s natural to feel upset. And I’m sure that the anxiety and depression will lift to reveal more purpose and direction than I had before the diagnosis.

But right now... I’m just angry. And scared. And so, so sad. And no amount of “Kum-ba-yah” makes me feel any better. It makes me feel alone. Alone because I am one of the few who knows how I’m going to die and what the relative time frame is, and that’s an isolating feeling. I also feel guilty about the impact this is having on my family and close friends, so I’m fighting the urge to pull away as to protect them. To protect YOU.

Not to mention the impact my bank account. That’s terrifying.

I have all the feels.

For those of you who know me, you know I won’t allow myself to feel this way for long. But I thought it was important to let you know the truth of what it’s like for me. Because that kind of honesty provides me a sort of catharsis in this crazy situation.

It fucking sucks.

Erin Cronican is a breast cancer survivor, whose career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has toured nationally with plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. For more information, please visit


  1. Dearest Erin, I am so sorry that you've received such devastating news, and I'm sending you so much love and support and good healing juju. To quote the doctor my dad went to at Mayo clinic after his diagnosis (the local doctor gave him 6 mos to 2 yrs): "Look at the bottom of your foot. Do you see an expiration date on there? Neither do I. This is a manageable condition." That was 9.5 years ago. Don't sell yourself short! You are a warrior! Love you! ❤

  2. Dearest Erin, Oh goodness #*$U#*$#@, etc. Damn that news!!!!!! Feel those feelings out. Yes, we all know you are strong and positive, etc. and you are going through a lot of thought processes right now. Let me just say for right now, because there is nothing to say at this moment other than that I love you so much and feel for you so much. Do what you need to emotionally and physically and the rest of us will do what we can. So just for now, I love you. And later, we'll see what we can do to help. xoxoxoxo Mary (and Jim)

  3. Dearest Erin — I agree 100% with what what Eika has written above. In October, 1980, my Dad was diagnosed with lung cancer and told he had three to six months to live. In June of 1981, I teceived a call from his doctor, in California. He was baffled. He told me new X-rays showed no sign of cancer at all. My Dad’s lungs were cancer free. To this day the doctor has no idea how or why, but it completely vanised. It never came back. My Dad passed away of natural causes, still cancer free, twenty-five years later, on his 89th birthday in 2005. Miracles do happen. Sending you Love & Healing Light Always, WW

  4. Dear Erin, I am so sorry to hear this news. I also want to chime in: I have a friend with stage IV cancer spread to lungs with the exact same diagnosis. She just passed the 6 year mark. I will think of you and send you positive energy often. The world needs your artistry. Sending love. Lesléa

  5. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck!!!! Sending big virtual hugs your way. And big Hulk hands to smash things.

  6. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck!!! Sending virtual hugs. And big Hulk hands to smash things.

  7. I don't know what to say. You have always been nothing but light and love... a star. Authentic, strong with humor and spark... sparkle. This isn't fair. Like so much in this strange journey of life, It makes no sense. I send you love love love.


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