Aniela McGuinness

MAJOR: BREAST CANCER
PREREQ: BRCA1
CLASS OF 2015

One year Cancer-Free.

One year Cancer-Free.

My name is Aniela McGuinness and in 2015, I became a second generation Breast Cancer Grad. My mother began her cancer journey in 1996 when she became a Breast Cancer Grad, in 2006 she was re-enrolled for an advanced degree in Ovarian Cancer, and has been “studying abroad” since she left us on July 5, 2013.


Having audited my mother’s cancer courses for over seven years, I was grateful for the lessons she taught me when the year after her departure I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. With the prerequisite of the BRCA1 mutation, I made sure to take very good notes.  

Prior to enrolling at CancerU, I was a full-time Film and TV actress with 10 years of improvisational comedy experience. Having had my whole rocked by grief over my mother’s death the year prior, I was just starting to regain my strength and prepare for a preventative double mastectomy when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was diagnosed three days prior to my appointment with the surgeon to pick the mastectomy date (I KNOW, Crazy timing).

In the middle of chemo, when I realized I looked like my thumb. 

From that moment my path changed and I decided to find out how I could learn and grow from this rather than be broken by this. That inspiration created my one woman show (and now film) “I Don’t Have Cancer” which I performed while I was in Chemo, my mastectomy photo series which went internationally viral, and now Cancer Grad