The 28th Annual National Cancer Survivors Day (NCSD) was celebrated on June 7, 2015 in the United States. Observed worldwide on the first Sunday of June each year, this campaign aims to honor the hundreds of cancer survivors and their families and friends who have courageously overcome this deadly disease to become survivors. Sponsored by the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation, this event is a special platform to highlight the ongoing challenges of cancer survivorship and to show the world that life after a diagnosis can be fruitful, rewarding, and inspiring.
A survivor is anyone living with a history of cancer – right from the moment of diagnosis through the remainder of life. The American Cancer Society identifies three distinct phases of survival which include – the time from diagnosis to the end of initial treatment, the transition from treatment to extended survival and long-term survival. NCSD is a celebration for those who have survived, an inspiration for those recently diagnosed, a gathering of support for families, and an outreach to the community.
Reports from the American Cancer Society (in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute) suggest that there are about 14.5 million cancer survivors alive in the United States today. This may include everyone who’s ever had this disease, from the time of diagnosis for the rest of their life. It is estimated that this number will increase to almost 19 million by the end of 2024.
For majority of survivors, cancer is no longer the automatic death sentence that it was a few decades ago. Even though the incidence rates of this disease are dropping, the number of survivors is growing as well as early detection and treatment modalities.
Cancer is a treatable disease that often goes undetected due to lack of regular screening. In most cases, regular screening programs help in finding the growth of small polyps that can be removed before they become cancerous. Regular and standard screening programs facilitate early detection of individual symptoms thereby enabling effective treatment and high survival rates.
Oncologists play a predominant role in educating the general public about the debilitating effects of this disease and the need for initiating early treatment. They can recommend different types of screening tests that will help detect the disease early. Cancer physicians can educate patients about the various treatment methods available (which may vary and depend upon the type of disease and severity of symptoms).
The annual campaign acts as a rallying point for the survivors to join together and celebrate this new reality in survivorship. It also highlights the ongoing challenges these survivors face after diagnosis and sometimes even years after treatment ends. As part of this annual campaign, hospitals, medical fitness centers and other healthcare institutions across the US will host a series of events such as health fairs, parades, carnivals, block parties, art exhibits, awareness walks, motivational speeches, inspirational programs and more. Survivors will share their unique stories of how surviving this deadly disease has affected their lives.
Join National Cancer Survivors Day celebration. Make a commitment to find ways to lessen the burdens a cancer diagnosis brings.