Celebrating our neighbors, family members, and friends – cancer survivors.

June 15, 2021

By Ankit Madan, MD & Mohammed Saad, MD 

Hematology/Oncology

With the improved screening measures, early diagnosis, and advanced treatments of all cancer types, there is now a growing population of cancer survivors. According to the National Cancer Institute, there are 16.9 million cancer survivors in the United States, representing 5 percent of the population. These numbers will grow to 26.1 million across all age groups by 2040 (Source: Bluethmann S, et al. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, 2016). They are our neighbors, family members, colleagues, and friends. The support they need now may differ from the ways in which we supported them through treatment and recovery.

In June, which is designated as National Cancer Survivor Month, we honor the cancer survivors in our lives – those who have won the fight and those who are still battling. Survivorship means living with, through, and beyond cancer. Survivorship starts at diagnosis and includes those in active treatment, and those who have completed treatment. The phrase “cancer survivorship” was created by the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS) to describe the broad experience on the cancer continuum. 

While we recognize the difficult journey of cancer patients, and we find meaningful ways to celebrate their end of treatment and recovery milestones, too often we underestimate what comes next in their lives. Cancer survivors embark on a journey of discovering a new normal for themselves.

Many cancer survivors face physical, emotional, and psychological challenges following treatment. Coping with the constant fear of recurrence and managing cancer as a chronic illness can lead to feeling uncertain and vulnerable. Managing personal relationships, ability to work, and take care of one’s family.  Survivors may face several changes including what they eat, what they feel they are able to do, permanent scars on their bodies, and feeling angry or lonely. To manage these challenges, survivors can benefit from healthy eating, staying active, sleeping well, being informed, and using creative outlets to express their feelings. 

The Sovah Health Cancer Center is striving to provide an environment that addresses the comprehensive needs of patients, so that they not only survive, but thrive. Whether it is through fundraising for cancer research, walking or running in a charitable race, raising awareness about early screenings, or offering care to a friend or loved one, we all have a role to play in making sure that our brave cancer fighters feel supported and understood as they face new challenges reintegrating back into their daily lives.

To learn more about cancer care at Sovah Health, please visit our Cancer Care page.