Celebrating and Supporting Cancer Survivors
[4 MIN READ]
In this article:
We celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day on the first Sunday of June each year.
You can recognize cancer survivors in your life and in your community in big and small ways.
At Providence, we celebrate our cancer survivors every day with continued support and guidance after their treatment has ended.
Thanks to advances in cancer treatment and detection, we now have more cancer survivors than ever before. Each year on the first Sunday of June, we take time to celebrate their lives, their courage and their strength.
We hope you’ll join us in celebrating the cancer survivors in your life and in your community.
Why we celebrate cancer survivors
In the United States, there are more than 18 million cancer survivors. They have put their bodies through surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy and have successfully gotten through it all. Cancer Survivors Day is about recognizing their cancer journey — the good and the bad — and looking to their future.
It’s also an important time to recognize that just because treatment is over doesn’t mean that they aren’t still facing challenges. Many cancer survivors struggle with long-term side effects from cancer and cancer treatment, such as:
- Lymphedema (uncomfortable fluid build-up around the lymph nodes in the arms or legs)
- Scars and scar tissue from surgery
- Difficulty getting health insurance or life insurance
- High medical costs
- A higher risk of cancer in the future
- A higher risk of other health problems such as heart disease and depression
To truly support and celebrate cancer survivors, we must recognize the challenges of cancer survivorship and find ways to support them.
Ways to honor cancer survivors in your community
You can celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day in your city, whether it’s a small family event or a larger community-wide event. The National Cancer Survivors Day website (ncsd.org) has numerous resources to help you start planning an event, including speakers who can come talk about supporting survivors.
But you don’t have to throw a large event to show the cancer survivors in your life that you care. Even small things can provide support:
- Send a “Thinking of You” card
- Bring them a healthy meal for dinner or take them out to eat
- Go for a walk with them if they have the energy
- Donate money to a nonprofit organization that supports cancer patients and survivors
- Treat them to a spa day
- Go to religious services with them if they practice a religion
- Go to an exercise class, yoga or tai chi with them
You can also simply ask them what they need. Is going to the grocery store too stressful? Do they need help going to their appointments? Do they just need a listening ear? Find ways you can help family members and friends with a history of cancer in everyday life.
How Providence is celebrating our cancer survivors
We feel fortunate to have cared for thousands of cancer survivors. We work to honor them every day through research, advancing treatment and providing whole-person care.
Through our Cancer Survivors Program, we help each survivor create a long-term plan for their health and wellbeing. This plan may include follow-up appointments, management of side effects like lymphedema and genetic testing. We also offer referrals to complementary therapies that may help with recovery, such as acupuncture, therapeutic massage and nutrition counseling.
We encourage our survivors to join our cancer support groups as well. We offer larger groups in addition to one-on-one peer counseling. Our oncology resources specialist can also help you find support within your community.
We also hope survivors and their families and friends can join us for events throughout the year. We hold events in Washington and Oregon to raise cancer awareness and to raise funds to support cancer research, patient and survivors.
Cancer survivors deserve more than just a celebration; they deserve our continued support and encouragement. We hope you’ll recognize the survivors in your life this June and join us in helping them not only enjoy, but celebrate, life after cancer treatment.
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This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.