“Cancer cannot cripple love, it cannot shatter hope, it cannot conquer the spirit.” — Unknown
So very true. I am a Cancer Survivor, going on 7 years now. I will never forget the day I received my diagnosis. I was shaken, scared and confused. But, as time went on and I went through treatments, I became stronger and developed a newfound respect for other survivors like me and for life itself.
National Cancer Survivors Day is observed each year on the first Sunday in June. People come together to celebrate life, inspire and support those battling cancer, provide guidance for the families and caregivers of cancer-patients, show gratitude to medical professionals and demonstrate to the world that it’s possible to thrive after cancer.
National Cancer Survivors Day helps to bring awareness to some of the common struggles faced by people battling the disease, improve cancer-survivor legislation, increase resources and promote research. All are worthy initiatives, and the latter, of course, is of special interest to the National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR).
Today marks advances in treatments which are leading to a growing number of cancer survivors. There are over 15.5 million cancer survivors in the U.S. today. Due to an increase in treatment effectiveness and an aging and expanding population, this number is projected to increase to 20.3 million by 2026. This growth is tremendously encouraging.
Beating cancer is often considered the final step of an intensive cancer-fighting journey. However, the health-journey doesn’t end when the cancer does. Substantial bone loss, pain and lack of function due to surgery, immune suppression, fatigue and general distress, among other uncomfortable symptoms, can persist for years following. It’s important to remain compassionate towards cancer survivors and show them we recognize their continued struggles. In addition, as a community, we can help to connect survivors with resources that can help them to continue their health journeys.
3 Tips to Remember on National Cancer Survivors Day
1. Make one decision at a time.
Try to focus only on today's problems. Taking one small step at a time can help you move forward and feel more in control.
2. Develop a survivorship care plan to help you and your loved ones.
Survivorship care plans are individualized plans that can help cancer survivors monitor their health. A survivorship care plan can:
Detail your diagnosis
Outline the treatments you have had or are currently taking
Tell you who to contact on your healthcare team with questions or concerns
Explain symptoms or side effects you might experience
Indicate who to call if you need help managing side effects
Outline what you should do and who you should see for follow-up care
3. Make good nutrition an important part of your care beyond cancer treatment.
Nutrition helps with:
Recovery and healing
Regaining strength and weight
Managing ongoing side effects
Reducing risk of a future cancer diagnosis by keeping you healthy
Maintaining a healthy weight
5 Ways to Help Support Cancer Survivors
1. Be patient with your loved ones and try to understand where they are in their Cancer journey.
2. Plan uplifting outings.
3. Understand Cancer Survivors also need rest.
4. Listen to them.
5. Be there for them- don’t ask if they need anything; just show up.
Written and Submitted by GSS Agent #0313