June 3rd Is National Cancer Survivors Day: Adding Years and Quality to Survivors’ Lives

by Sokolove Law

This Sunday, June 3, is National Cancer Survivors Day, an annual celebration for the millions of Americans living with a history of cancer. As far as cancer awareness campaigns go, it’s unique: many focus on detection and prevention. Why recognize people who have already been treated?

Against common belief, treatment does not mark the end of the road for cancer survivors. The challenges are ongoing.

National Cancer Survivors Day isn’t simply for survivors themselves, either. The organizer, National Cancer Survivors Day (NCSD) Foundation, describes the day not just as a celebration of life, but “an inspiration for those recently diagnosed, a gathering of support for families, and an outreach to the community.” That makes it a day for everyone.

What’s the Meaning Behind National Cancer Survivor’s Day?

National Cancer Survivors Day, organized on the first Sunday each June, is a time to encourage cancer survivors to share their stories, recognize each other’s milestones, and thank their support network. It’s also a day to advocate for more resources and research.

The underlying philosophy, according to the NCSD Foundation, is “not just about adding years to survivors’ lives. It’s about making those years count.”

“We’re living in a new era of cancer survivorship,” said Foundation spokeswoman Laura Shipp. “Cancer mortality rates are steadily declining, and cancer survivors are living longer than ever before. And, while we know there is more work to do, we want to give cancer survivors one day to just celebrate life.”

Thanks to advances in detection, prevention, and treatment of cancer, the nation’s overall cancer death rate has fallen by 25 percent since 1991. NCSD can also help people understand that life after diagnosis can be rewarding. At the same time, we must raise awareness of the numerous, sometimes lifelong challenges of cancer survivorship.

Common Cancers Decreasing, but Rare Ones on the Rise

Whether rapidly rising drug costs, difficulty holding down employment, or inadequate insurance coverage, financial burdens can make cancer diagnosis and treatment unmanageable. As if that weren’t enough for survivors to deal with, physical and emotional stresses can persist years after treatment.

Aside from that, struggles can be exacerbated by short survival rates. Mortality rates may be declining for common cancers like lung, breast, and prostate, but unfortunately, the same can’t be said for lesser-known cancers such as mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that is especially deadly. Survival rates rarely exceed 12 months, and mortality rates have actually increased.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that while mesothelioma deaths have decreased in 1 age group (35 to 64 years), ongoing deaths among older and younger people suggest ongoing exposure to the disease’s deadly source: asbestos. We won’t be able to prolong victims’ survival until asbestos is banned. But we can improve their treatment, and we can raise awareness of asbestos risks to prevent further diagnoses.

How to Get Involved

An estimated 15.5 million Americans live with and beyond cancer today. By 2026, that number is projected to reach 20.3 million. There has never been a more critical time to focus on the deadliest diseases plaguing mankind and to make cancer survival as comfortable as possible. At the very least, getting involved will show cancer survivors your support.

To locate an NCSD event near you, contact your local hospital, cancer treatment center, or American Cancer Society office. If you can’t find one nearby, you can always organize an event of your own.

Recommended Reading: