National Cancer Survivor Month: A Celebration Of Life
By Jane Meggitt
Any cancer survivor will tell you that receiving a cancer diagnosis is devastating and life-changing. National Cancer Survivor Month celebrates those who have fought the disease and those who continue to battle.
National Cancer Survivor Month
When do you become a cancer survivor? It begins the minute you receive the dreaded news and continues for the rest of your life. From that first moment, life is altered, but you learn about yourself in the process.
National Cancer Survivor Month is celebrated each June and honors the nearly 17 million people in the U.S. alone whose bodies were personally affected by cancer. By the end of the decade, that number is expected to grow to 22 million.
Roughly 40% of the population will eventually receive a cancer diagnosis. Some will eventually succumb to the disease, but many will not. Even those who do lose the cancer battle may enjoy added years of quality time due to new and improved therapies.
National Cancer Survivor Day has been held on the first Sunday in June since 1988. Its most important message is that a meaningful life after a cancer diagnosis can be a reality.
National Cancer Survivor Month does more than raise awareness of life after the disease. It is a time to celebrate cancer survivors, their loved ones, support network and the healthcare community that makes it all possible. Survivorship emphasizes health and well-being.
Survivors share their stories and let other cancer survivors know they are not alone. They, too, know not just the physical but the psychological and emotional scars left behind by their ordeals. Surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and other types of treatment take a toll on the body and spirit. They know the fear, the anxiety, the sleepless nights. However, they also know how to move on and live their healthiest lives after cancer. In addition, they are an inspiration to the newly diagnosed who are still trying to process the cancer trauma.
Cancer is a teacher. Cancer patients enter a new world and learn the language associated with it. Cancer teaches its victims to appreciate every day, never to take health for granted and to live life as fully as possible. Life will never go back to the pre-cancer state, but survivors learn valuable lessons on their journey.
Helping Cancer Survivors
Every cancer survivor has a unique story. They also face unique challenges as their cancer fight does not end simply because treatment has stopped. Along with the physical and mental changes resulting from cancer, there is always the fear of recurrence. Depending on the prognosis, cancer may prove to be a chronic illness, requiring ongoing management and treatment.
National Cancer Survivor Month emphasizes the need for practical help, as well. Cancer survivors may reassess their lives and relationships. Many cancer patients face tremendous financial hardship resulting from their medical bills or inability to work after treatment. They may find themselves denied health insurance coverage or unable to qualify for life insurance. Access to new treatments or potentially lifesaving clinical trials may prove limited. Side effects of some cancer treatments may appear years afterward.
Along with celebrating cancer survivors, the purpose of National Cancer Survivor Month is to draw attention to the ongoing needs of this population. By providing resources and information on life after cancer diagnosis and treatment, they can improve the outcome for the members of a club no one wants to join.
Your partner in the fight
For more than 70 years, Yosemite Pathology and Precision Pathology, has been committed to providing superior and comprehensive diagnostics in anatomic pathology in the Western United States. Our dedicated pathologists offer a broad range of specialties in the field of cancer including those of the breast, reproductive, urinary tract, skin, thyroid, gastrointestinal system and more. For more information about our services, contact us today.
Jane Meggitt is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in dozens of publications including USA Today, Zack’s, Financial Advisor, nj.com, The Houston Chronicle and The Nest. She is a graduate of New York University.
Cancer Health – National Cancer Survivor Month
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center – Honoring Survivors during National Cancer Survivor Month
National Cancer Institute – Cancer Statistics – National Cancer Institute