‘Dance Moms’ Star Abby Lee Miller Opens Up About Her Cancer Battle And Shows Her Surgery Scar

by Kim Wong-Shing
Kim Wong-Shing is a staff writer at LittleThings. Her work spans beauty, wellness, pop culture, identity, food, and other topics. She is a contributing writer at NaturallyCurly, and her work has also appeared in HelloGiggles, Lifehacker, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and other outlets. She grew up in Philadelphia, attended Brown University, and is now based in New Orleans.

Dance Moms star Abby Lee Miller just got extremely vulnerable about her recent cancer battle in an Instagram post.

Abby had life-saving surgery on her spine about a year ago. To commemorate the day, she posted a photo revealing the long scar from the surgery.

“One year ago today ~ I underwent emergency surgery for an infection in my spine,” Abby wrote in the caption.

It turned out not to be an infection but instead Burkitt lymphoma. After surgery, the dance coach went through 10 brutal rounds of chemotherapy. She still has one more spine surgery to go — but she’s now cancer-free.

“I struggled thru months of physical therapy to learn to sit up again, to crawl and maybe with a miracle someday I’ll walk,” Abby wrote in her post.

In the meantime, she’s coaching young dancers from her wheelchair and keeping her head up.

Abby also called out the doctors who misdiagnosed her initially.

“Why didn’t the ER Doctors on duty do their jobs?” she asked in her post. “I finally found the right team that’s why I lived to tell my story, I have a lot to say!”

Abby Lee has been on a roller coaster for the last few years. In 2017, she spent eight months in prison for fraud, and upon her release, she found that she was partially paralyzed.

“In an instant, your life changes completely,” Abby said in the trailer for the upcoming movie about her cancer struggle, Dance Moms Resurrection.

“I was ready to go back to work and start my life over, and now I can’t even walk.”

At first, Abby thought she had a rare spinal infection. But after multiple misdiagnoses, she discovered that she actually had Burkitt lymphoma, a form of cancer that affects the immune system. She had a tumor sitting right on her spine.

One year ago, Abby had to have life-saving emergency surgery on her spine. She now uses a wheelchair.

In a recent Instagram post, Abby opened up about her cancer battle and revealed the scar from the surgery.

Abby wrote:

“One year ago today ~ I underwent emergency surgery for an infection in my spine. This mass/tumor choking my spinal cord turned out to be Burkitt Lymphoma.”

She continued:

“I endured ten rounds of chemo therapy (each lasting 6 days with 4/ 24hr bags pumping poison into my body ending with a spinal tap in 3 spots, plus another shot of Chemo into my tailbone area up the spinal cord around my brain cavity) Ten times!”

Abby explained that she had to get a second spine surgery, and she still has to get one more:

“I struggled thru months of physical therapy to learn to sit up again, to crawl and maybe with a miracle someday I’ll walk.”

She then called out the doctors who misdiagnosed her condition:

“Why didn’t the ER Doctors on duty do their jobs? I came in twice with the same symptoms? Why didn’t somebody listen to me, the patient?”

Abby finally found “the right team,” which she says is the only reason that she’s still alive to fight this battle today:

“Thank you to all wonderful top notch professionals who continue to help me heal.”

“For those who missed it, misdiagnosed me, and the so called Federal ‘Doctor’ who took me off medication cold turkey and the other ER ‘Doctor Hollywood’ who told me to go home and take it easy for 10 days – STOP practicing! Please 🙏🏻.”

Abby has been declared cancer-free, thankfully.

In her first interview post-prison, where she served eight months for bankruptcy fraud, Abby talked to Inside Edition about her experience in prison and her current health issues.

She says the prison staff took away her diabetes and thyroid medications.

“The first day was the worst day for me,” she said. “They tried to rip my eyelashes off that were extensions.”

Her paralysis began shortly after she was released from prison.

But Abby isn’t going to stop doing what she loves anytime soon.

“I need to get back to teaching, and I need to get back to screaming at children,” she said in the Dance Moms Resurrection trailer.

The movie also shows her rolling her wheelchair into the studio to continue teaching.

Abby has made one thing abundantly clear: The Abby Lee Dance Company isn’t going anywhere, cancer be damned!