National Cancer Survivors Day was held on June 7, 2014 according to the official website (National Cancer Survivor Day Foundation, Inc., 2014). I have heard of the many different fund raisers, such as the Susan G. Komen walks, as well as the awareness months, such as breast cancer awareness and the reminder to get your mammograms. I had not, however, heard of National Cancer Survivors Day. I have not had cancer but I, like many of you, either have a relative or friend that has fought this battle. Cancer is a devastating diagnosis that turns the patient’s life upside down as well as everyone around them. Cancer does not discriminate and can claim any age, ethnic, sex, or religious group.
We as a society, focus on remembering and honoring. National Cancer Survivors Day is no different except they focus on the living. On the home page of their official website, they state the purpose of this day:
“Is a celebration of those that have survived, an inspiration for those recently diagnosed, a gathering of support for families, and an outreach to the community (National Cancer Survivor Day Foundation, Inc., 2014).”
I was embarrassed when I realized that this day existed because I have a few family members that have been diagnosed and had the great fortune of overcoming their diagnosis. Two have had complete mastectomies and breast reconstruction. I cannot imagine the physical pain let alone the emotional strain this must have been on them. They are both very strong women and would never want to be a burden on another, but you cannot go through something like that and not need support. They all have reason to celebrate and I am going to ask them if they knew this day existed so we can celebrate that they are still a part of our lives.
Being a cancer survivor does not mean your battle is over. As a survivor, you have already overcome:
1. Physical Problems
2. Emotional Problems
3. Social Problems
4. Financial Problems (CDC Cancer Home, 2014)
Even though the survivor has overcome all those problems, they still live with the fear that there is a high likelihood that their first cancer will come back (CDC Cancer Home, 2014). There are support groups for the patients as well as their families to help cope with all these unknown factors and to help them live a healthier and quality life after cancer (American Institute for Cancer Research, 2014).
Cancer is real part of life. Hopefully, this will draw more people’s attention to celebrate those lives that are fighting every day in the face of cancer. We need more people to recognize and help celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day in 2015. Mark your calendars now for next year. Save the date of June 7, 2015 to support those that have fought and won, those that are beginning to fight, and to thank those that make it possible for others to live (National Cancer Survivor Day Foundation, Inc., 2014).
American Institute for Cancer Research. (2014). After cancer treatment. Retrieved June 12, 2014, Retrieved from http://www.aicr.org/patients-survivors/after-cancer-treatment.html
CDC Cancer Home. (2014). Cancer prevention and control. Retrieved June 12, 2014, Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/resources/features/CancerSurvivorship/
National Cancer Survivor Day Foundation, Inc. (2014). The Official Website of National Cancer Survivors Day. Retrieved June 12, 2014, Retrieved from http://www.ncsd.org/
Written By: Sabrina Alvord
Sabrina Alvord is currently a graduate student in the Health Studies program at Texas Women’s University. She has worked for over 20 years in the outpatient clinic setting with many different specialties. She loves working with patients and helping them navigate through the medical system and their different barriers to fulfilling their care.
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