With more than 1 million people living with and beyond cancer in the Canada today – and more than 32 million cancer survivors worldwide – everyone knows someone whose life has been touched by cancer.
In Canada, the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network has dedicated the month of June to recognize and celebrate cancer survivors, and work towards validation of the patient voice in cancer care decision making.
On Sunday, June 2, 2019, communities around the world will unite to recognize these cancer survivors, and to raise awareness of the challenges of cancer survivorship, as part of the 32ndannual National Cancer Survivors Day® Celebration of Life.
“A ‘survivor’ is anyone living with a history of cancer – from the moment of diagnosis through the remainder of life.” said the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation USA.
“When people hear the word ‘cancer,’ it can be very frightening,” says Foundation spokesperson, Laura Shipp. “But there is hope. Cancer mortality rates are steadily declining, and cancer survivors are living longer than ever before.
National Cancer Survivors Month is an opportunity for these cancer survivors – and those who support them – to come together and celebrate the tremendous progress being made in the fight against cancer. It’s a day to celebrate life, because life after cancer is worth celebrating.
In Canada, the CCSN is planning actions and events during the month of June to bring attention to cancer survivorship.
Survivorship month is also a call to action. As many survivors will tell you, the effects of cancer don’t end when treatment does. Cancer survivors face ongoing, often long-lasting, hardships because of their disease. In bringing attention to survivorship CCSN wants to raise awareness of the many challenges of cancer survivorship and advocate for further research, more resources, and increased public awareness to improve the lives of cancer survivors.
As the number of cancer survivors continues to grow, it is becoming ever more important to address the unique needs of this population. In addition to facing a serious illness, cancer survivors must contend with rapidly rising drug costs, inadequate insurance coverage, difficulty finding or keeping employment, and ongoing physical, psychological, and financial struggles that persist even after treatment ends.
“The strides researchers are making in cancer treatment right now are amazing to witness,” says Shipp. “But, now more than ever, it is vital that we work to ensure cancer survivors are not forgotten once treatment ends. We need to do a better job of addressing the hardships cancer survivors face beyond treatment.”
Life after cancer is something worth celebrating. And a better quality of life for cancer survivors is worth fighting for.