Health Care Quarterly:

Stage 4 cancer survivors unite to support each other and the community

Photos courtesy of Comprehensive Cancer Centers

Kelly Trolia, left, and Jet Mitchell stand with Golden Knight Pierre-Edouard Bellemare in this file photo. The women, who are cancer survivors, helped shave Bellemare’s head to kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

Friends Jet Mitchell and Kelly Trolia aren’t letting stage 4 cancer slow them down. In fact, they are are bringing a powerful message of love, unity and support to fellow survivors and Southern Nevada.

Mitchell was diagnosed in 2015 with stage 3B breast cancer and in 2016 with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. Trolia was diagnosed in June 2017 with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer that spread to her bones. She recently underwent a double mastectomy, radiation treatment, removal of her ovaries and will have breast reconstruction in time for her 50th birthday.

According to, approximately 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop breast cancer. The American Cancer Society projects that 2,190 Nevadans will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. A stage 4 diagnosis is serious, with a five-year survival rate of approximately 22 percent. While breast cancer death rates declined nearly 40 percent between 1989 and 2016, the quest for a cure continues.

In addition to the life-saving treatments that exist and are still to be explored, there is no denying the power of human connection.

Mitchell and Trolia first connected when Trolia sought out support groups for metastatic breast cancer fighters, or forever fighters, in the area. While Trolia was equipped with the spark of a forever fighter, she needed to connect with someone who fully understood her situation.

Mitchell is part of several inspirational community and personal endeavors, including a Metavivors group and the Pink Paddlers Dragon Boat team. That group of breast cancer fighters meets at Lake Las Vegas every other Monday for rowing and support. Since her cancer diagnosis, Mitchell has also run a half-marathon in all 50 states and has a passion for supporting American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and other advocacy efforts throughout the state, country and world.

Trolia found the connection she sought in Mitchell and the Metavivors. The group is comprised of stage 4 metastatic breast cancer fighters and convenes to discuss not only the treatments that individuals are undergoing, side effects, and assistance available, but they also celebrate the positive moments of life.

Mitchell and Trolia’s friendship has blossomed, and the dynamic duo has been on the frontlines of several fundraising and awareness events in the community.

In May, Mitchell and Trolia were recognized during the Mission Moment of the Coaches vs. Cancer Las Vegas Golf Classic, which raises awareness and funds for cancer and cancer research. In January, they dropped the ceremonial puck at the Ice Vegas Invitational and in December, the friends were honored on-court and alongside other survivors and patients at

T-Mobile Arena during the annual Coaches vs. Cancer basketball tournament. In October 2018, Mitchell and Trolia were part of a moving event where several patients of Comprehensive Cancer Centers helped shave Vegas Golden Knights star Pierre-Edouard Bellemare’s head to kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Mitchell and Trolia are both fun, intelligent and inspiring women. While they are both on a serious path, they are having fun along the way, making the most of each and every minute. They are living proof that stage 4 cancer fighters can continue to lead active lives, sometimes in the most amazing ways possible through building friendships and a sense of community.



Dr. Stephani Christensen is a medical oncologist and hematologist at Comprehensive Cancer Centers.