National Cancer Survivors Day
Every year, on the first Sunday of June, cancer survivors are celebrated, and awareness is raised for the ongoing challenges they face each day.
The Importance of National Cancer Survivors Day
While National Cancer Survivors Day recognizes cancer survivors, the day is for everyone. The day draws awareness to the daily challenge’s patients experience before, during and after treatment. In addition, the day is used to promote resources, research and other ways to improve the quality of life of cancer survivors.
In the United States alone, there are approximately 16.9 million cancer survivors, about five percent of the population. According to the National Cancer Institute, by 2030, it is expected there will be 22.2 million cancer survivors in the country.
Celebrating cancer survivors yearly raises awareness to not only the challenges, but the milestones made with their friends, family and medical providers.
Types of Challenges Cancer Survivors Face
Many survivors continue to face health challenges long after they have completed their treatment. This goes beyond just their physical health and can include their financial, emotional and spiritual health.
For those currently in treatment, they may struggle with their job or finding a job that supports the time away for treatment. There is the added stress of financial burdens due to the cost of treatment, even for those that have medical coverage. Many struggle with their diagnosis and need additional social and emotional support, even family members need extra support during this time.
For those that have completed treatment, there can continue to be physical reminders of their treatment such as pain, scarring and an increased risk for other health conditions. There may be a fear of recurrence and some may continue to deal with anxiety or other mental health concerns related to their diagnosis and treatment.
One of the most challenging aspects is, everyday life doesn’t stop. Survivors and their families must continue their daily routines while navigating their cancer journey. They may have to stop seeing friends and family for a time while they go through treatments or they may have to miss a big event for their child or grandchild.
Resources for Cancer Survivors
Cancer affects the whole person and many cancer treatment programs have begun to include resources beyond just physical treatment. Adventist HealthCare’s cancer centers, Aquilino Cancer Center and the White Oak Cancer Center, provides free wellness support for cancer survivors at all stages of their cancer journey. Wellness programs help to ensure patients are not only being treated physically, but mentally and spiritually.
By providing whole-person care, cancer survivors and their families are able to focus on all aspects of their health and meet with others who are experiencing a similar situation. Some of our wellness classes include, nutrition, educational seminars, mindfulness, movement, expressive arts, support groups, counseling and integrative health.
With weekly programing, patients may choose to participate in a variety of classes. Support groups are often a series of classes while nutrition classes are held monthly with a new topic each month.
In addition to programs local to the cancer centers, there are also community partners that provide additional services to survivors and their family members. Just like our teams at the Aquilino Cancer Center and White Oak Cancer Center, they understand the challenges survivors and their families face and aim to assist anyway they can. Hope Connections for Cancer Care and Caring Matters are just two of the many resource’s survivors have outside of the cancer center.
Hope Connections for Cancer Care provides additional support groups, emotional support, wellness and hope to patients and their family members. While Caring Matters assists in supporting patients and their families through support groups, they also provide assistance to patients and their families in other areas like transportation to and from appointments, household tasks including errands and meal prep and they provide respite for family caregivers.
A cancer patient’s journey through survivorship starts at diagnosis and follows them their entire life. Recognizing their journey can help bring awareness to the additional challenge’s patients and their families face. If you are a cancer survivor, find available classes and support here.