Dance Moms Star Abby Lee Miller Has Beat Her Rare, Aggressive Cancer—Here's How
Dance Moms star Abby Lee Miller announced she’s won her battle with Burkitt lymphoma. “The cancer is completely gone,” the 53-year-old reality TV star told People.
Miller told People that she’s thankful to those who have helped her through her debilitating illness.
“I’m more than grateful. I’m thankful. I was always grateful, but I think I must say, ‘Thank you,’ a hundred times a day because I have to rely on strangers; someone to open the door, someone to get the hanger off the rack at the department store, someone to pick up my phone if I drop it…I’m very grateful to strangers that have been so kind.”
Miller was diagnosed with cancer after seeing doctors for what was thought to be a spinal infection. She received emergency surgery to treat the infection in April of last year. She highlighted the one-year anniversary of that surgery on Instagram last month. “I underwent emergency surgery for an infection in my spine. This mass/tumor choking my spinal cord turned out to be Burkitt lymphoma,” Miller said.
After her diagnosis, Miller underwent 10 rounds of chemotherapy, each lasting 6 days. She also had an additional spine surgery.
Burkitt lymphoma is a subtype of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It is one of a handful of subtypes that involve immune cells called B cells. The job of B cells is to fight infection by making antibodies, which are blood proteins. B cells stop foreign invaders from harming the body.
Burkitt lymphoma is rare but very aggressive. It can affect the central nervous system, jaw, kidneys, bowel, and ovaries, along with other organs. It’s often difficult to tell the difference between Burkitt lymphoma and a different lymphoma called diffuse large B-cell lymphoma in adults. But accurate diagnosis is crucial because the two are treated differently, according to the Lymphoma Research Foundation.
Diagnosis of Burkitt lymphoma typically arises from a medical emergency, such as an emergency surgery.
Miller’s mobility has been severely affected by her condition. “I’m supposed to stand 3 times a day for 20 minutes. I can take a right step because I can put my weight on my left knee. Then when I take a left step my right leg just crumbles because I need a knee replacement,” Miller told People. She says she’s hopeful she will be able to walk again.