Advertisement

College Student, 22, Survived Stage 3 Breast Cancer. Now She's in Menopause at the Same Time as Her Mom (Exclusive)

Miranda McKeon — who appeared in the Netflix series 'Anne with an E' — was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 19

<p>Miranda McKeon</p> Miranda McKeon

Miranda McKeon

Miranda McKeon
  • Anne with an E actress Miranda McKeon, 22, was diagnosed with breast cancer during her sophomore year in college. She was 19 at the time.

  • She started taking hormone suppressants and entered medically induced menopause

  • She's now two years cancer-free, but continues to document her medical journey and menopause symptoms on TikTok

Miranda McKeon has entered a chapter of life she never expected to experience at just 22 years old: menopause.

The college student — who appeared on the Netflix series Anne with an E from 2017 to 2019 — was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in 2021. McKeon has been in remission for two years, but she’s still fighting to keep the malignant cells away with a hormone suppressant called Lupron.

McKeon tells PEOPLE that the monthly injections stop her body’s production of estrogen and progesterone, “which is what fed my hormone-positive cancer.” In turn, the lack of hormones has entered the young adult into medically induced menopause.

She’s documented her menopausal symptoms in candid TikTok posts, just as she’s done throughout her cancer journey, beginning with her unlikely diagnosis at age 19.

McKeon previously spoke to PEOPLE about her health at the start of her treatment, in July 2021. The actress recalled how she discovered a lump on her breast during her summer break at home in New Jersey. She assuaged her initial worries with some online research, which suggested that cancer was unlikely considering her age.

To be sure, McKeon paid a visit to her doctor, who did an ultrasound and took a biopsy. Confident her lump was benign, the University of Southern California student enrolled in a three-week work stay program on regenerative agriculture in San Francisco.

<p>Miranda McKeon</p> Miranda McKeon in 2022

Miranda McKeon

Miranda McKeon in 2022

She learned the “surreal” news of her "one in a million" breast cancer diagnosis upon landing in Northern California and immediately flew home to begin what would be 10 months of active treatment.

McKeon has been managing her fertility since she was diagnosed in 2021. She tells PEOPLE she froze her eggs before chemotherapy and initially started taking Lupron to protect her fertility throughout treatment. The social media influencer says she’ll eventually stop the injection and resume menstruation, but while she’s still in medically induced menopause, McKeon wants to educate her followers.

“Menopause, and women's health in general, has always been a taboo topic that is thankfully getting a lot more coverage in recent years,” she tells PEOPLE. “There are lots of sexual health symptoms that aren’t discussed enough and therefore aren’t researched, funded or solved for women.”

<p>Miranda McKeon</p> Miranda McKeon in 2021

Miranda McKeon

Miranda McKeon in 2021

McKeon received nearly 50,000 views on one video she captured while enduring a hot flash at home and explaining how she copes with such unpredictable flare ups.

“Look at how red my face is. I was literally just sitting down and just got such a bad hot flash,” she said while patting her flushed cheeks.

She then clarified that her condition is “not that bad, it just does get really, really hot and uncomfortable very quickly, and then it slowly starts to settle down.” McKeon noted that she typically wears multiple layers in case she needs to cool down by stripping them off, as she’s had to do while sitting in class.

<p>Miranda McKeon</p> Miranda McKeon in 2023

Miranda McKeon

Miranda McKeon in 2023

McKeon tells PEOPLE she started taking the antidepressant Effexor to help reduce hot flashes, and she’s lightened some of the emotional weight by learning to administer her own Lupron shots.

“I used to go in every month to have them injected in the hospital but I didn’t like being tethered to the routine of going back to the oncology department so often,” she says, adding her appreciation for such independence. “This also helps me heal mentally from my experience having cancer without having to go to the infusion centers so often.”

<p>Miranda McKeon</p> Miranda McKeon in 2023

Miranda McKeon

Miranda McKeon in 2023

During her video explaining her symptoms, McKeon advises her followers, "Have empathy for your mothers!” Such advice particularly resonates with the young cancer survivor, who is experiencing menopause at the same time as her own mom.

The mother-daughter duo has been able to lean on each other through the ups and downs of their symptoms.

"I remember having my first few hot flashes and discussing it with my mom. We would laugh at how ridiculous it was that we were both going through menopause at the same time,” says McKeon.

<p>Miranda McKeon</p> Miranda McKeon in 2022

Miranda McKeon

Miranda McKeon in 2022

Considering the rarity of breast cancer at such a young age, McKeon never expected to learn so much about female biology and hormones.

“I suppose going through a medically intensive process has allowed me to look at the human body in a more objective light,” she tells PEOPLE. “These different stages of life and changes in our bodies [are things] all women experience.”

For the most part, McKeon creates informative social media content with an optimistic disposition. Medically induced menopause is another consequence of her diagnosis that she’s handling in the best ways she can.

“Lots of things happen in life that you just can't predict or make up,” she says. “The best thing you can do is try to laugh about it!”

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.