Cancer Survivors Day, June 6, is a celebration of life!
SAN DIEGO, June 1, 2021– June 6, 2021, is National Cancer Survivors Day. Those who have either fought a battle with cancer or have supported friends and/or family have an understanding of what it truly means to have survived. Regardless there is shock, disbelief, panic, and fear when a cancer diagnosis is revealed.
The experience of such a diagnosis is generally unexpected and unanticipated. It will often create tremendous emotional turmoil and stress as life is literally turned upside down.
Choosing to fight cancer is the choice to survive, and it demands focus and dedication to seek the appropriate treatments and support necessary to get through such an ordeal.
Though there may be family and friends who wish to help, the decision to want to live and fight back or die is completely an individual choice.
The National Cancer Institute, in collaboration with the American Cancer Society, estimates that there are currently approximately 17 million cancer survivors in the US today. They anticipate there will be 22.1 million cancer survivors by 2030.
It is doubtful that anyone could escape the impacts of cancer either for oneself or for others due to its widespread impact and its ever-increasing numbers.
Cancer Survivors Day is especially meaningful as a time of celebrating life which occurs on the first Sunday of June each year.
First held on June 5, 1988, Cancer Survivors Day is widely celebrated in the US and throughout different parts of the world. Celebrations with the theme of cancer survivorship through parades, events, community presentation, outreach, and newsworthy stories to give recognition to those having survived cancer and those who fight with them.
“We have two options, medically and emotionally: Give up or fight like hell.”
In her book, “The Big Ordeal: Understanding and Managing the Psychological Turmoil of Cancer,” The issues of complexity of the plan for treatment and desire for survival versus how to cope physically and emotionally once the treatment is over, is expressed by the writer, Cynthia Hayes, who herself is a cancer survivor.
“When can I trust my body again? How do I adjust to the physical toll the disease and treatment took on my body? [How] can I cope with the ongoing fatigue and mental fogginess…How do I deal with this new existential reality that life could be cut short at any minute….”, ponders Hayes.
“The Big Ordeal” describes two major and different coping styles in the battle with cancer. Facing it head-on, more indicative of an optimistic personality. Or letting off steam and reaching out for external support, which may be more indicative of an anxious and/or pessimistic personality.
There is no one way to cope with this life-changing event. When you receive a cancer diagnosis, reach out for guidance by qualified professionals, family, and friends. Knowledge is power, so conduct research for information and resources–all which may come together and make the most sense while making the best-possible individual choices for a suitable plan of treatment and care.
“My cancer scare changed my life. I’m grateful for every new, healthy day I have. It has helped me prioritize my life.”
Emory Winship Cancer Institute, in its publication Cancer Quest discusses a holistic approach to cancer survivorship
In addition to recommending working closely with a primary care doctor and oncology treatment team, ensuring receipt of personal medical records will lead to a more thorough self-understanding and holistic perspective.
Routine follow-ups and retesting
Both resting and relaxation are important post-treatment therapies. And they may be necessary for a period of time to help monitor any setbacks or recurrence. Addressing lifestyle changes may become necessary to facilitate continuing on a path towards health and recovery. This may include nutrition, exercise, emotional support, clinical trials and other forms of treatment and care.
Maybe Hayes says it best:
“Perhaps, rather than cancer survivors, we should think of the ones who live with the reality of cancer every day, and call this (Cancer Survivors Day) Cancer Endurers Day.”
The National Cancer Survivors Day hopes that by raising awareness on behalf of the 17 million who have survived cancer by choosing life and fighting back, that more resources and research will be made available. And that legislation will support this effort. All with the end goal of saving lives, preventing cancer and ensuring the very best quality of life.
“Time is shortening. But every day that I challenge this cancer and survive is a victory for me.”
Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!
About the Author:
Laurie Edwards-Tate is Communities Digital News senior health and aging specialist covering healthful eating, living, and aging information. Since 1984, Edwards-Tate has served as President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare, a non-medical Home Care Aide Organization, serving seniors, disabled, infirm, and children. Laurie is on the Board of Director 2018 (elected), Palomar Health; Executive Board Member; Chair Board Human Resources Committee; Member of Audits & Compliance Committee; Community Relations Committee.
(Main image: Thanks to National Cancer Institute @nci for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁