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This Cancer Survivors Day, let’s celebrate surviving and thriving

This Cancer Survivors Day, let’s celebrate surviving and thriving

In the past, a cancer diagnosis was a bleak prospect that few people survived. Today, there are millions of U.S. cancer survivors, a number that’s expected to grow even further in the next decade. That’s why we celebrate Cancer Survivors Day.

It may surprise you to learn that anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer is considered a “cancer survivor.” The American Cancer Society, for example, defines cancer survivorship from the time of diagnosis through the end of life.

According to the National Cancer Institute, there were 18.1 million cancer survivors in the U.S. as of January 2022. That number is expected to grow by more than 20% to 22.5 million by 2032 and to 26 million by 2040. That’s a lot of lives to celebrate!

As cancer diagnostics and treatment options continue to advance and expand, the number of survivors is expected to continue to grow.

Marking National Cancer Survivors Day

National Cancer Survivors Day is celebrated each year on the first Sunday in June. While the national Cancer Survivors Day is led by the U.S.-based National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation, similar events are held throughout the world as part of International Cancer Survivors Day. Each event has the same purpose—it serves as a celebration of life for cancer survivors and provides encouragement for those who are newly diagnosed.

Cancer Survivors Day events also have another purpose. They bring together people at all stages of cancer survivorship, from the day of diagnosis through life after cancer. Essentially, it becomes one big support group!

What you can do to celebrate the occasion

Everyone can commemorate National Cancer Survivors Day, whether they’ve been diagnosed with cancer or not. There are lots of ideas for marking the occasion:

If you’re a cancer survivor, celebrate the day like a second birthday. Your health and wellness—and your journey as a cancer patient—are worth honoring. Treat yourself to a favorite food, take time to rest and decompress or buy yourself a new outfit that makes you feel great.

Research the latest information about cancer. Prepare yourself to be wowed when you do! Over the past few decades and even the past few years, there have been many advancements in the field of cancer, from diagnostic tools to treatment therapies. Those innovations are fueling positive outcomes for those who are diagnosed.

  • Of the 18.1 million U.S. cancer survivors, 69% have lived five or more years since diagnosis, 47% have lived 10 or more years and 18% have lived 20 years or longer.
  • While metastatic cancers often have the worst outcomes, there are 623,405 people currently surviving with the most common types of metastatic cancers.
  • Female breast cancer survivors account for 4.1 million survivors, while prostate cancer survivors account for 3.5 million and colorectal cancer survivors account for 1.4 million.

Make time for a checkup. Has it been a while since you had a checkup with your primary care provider? Honor cancer survivors by doing your best to prevent cancer in your own life. During checkups, your provider can recommend age-appropriate tests, screenings and vaccines that can help lower your risk.

Get cancer-preventing vaccines. Yes, there are some! If you’re 45 or younger and haven’t had the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, talk with your provider about whether you should be vaccinated against HPV, which causes many types of cancer. The hepatitis B vaccine can also help prevent cancer since hepatitis B can cause liver cancer.

Run for a cancer-free life. Looking for a way to give back? Find an upcoming cancer run or walk and sign up! There are many events at different times of year, each with the goal of raising awareness about cancer and raising money to promote cancer diagnosis and treatment.

No one should walk through cancer alone! That’s why East Jefferson General Hospital offers care and support from diagnosis through life after cancer. Learn about our survivorship programs.