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September 6 2018Read more
Cancer Survivors Day is an annual awareness day held on the first Sunday in June. The campaign aims to celebrate those who have survived cancer and continue to be an inspiration for those diagnosed.
The awareness day was first introduced in the United States in 1987. Since then, the wellbeing event has become celebrated worldwide.
As well as an opportunity to celebrate those who have survived the disease, Cancer Survivors Day is also a day that allows all people living with a history of cancer to connect with each other, celebrate milestones, and recognise those who have supported them along the way.
Whilst the awareness day primarily focuses on the individuals who have successfully survived cancer, it is also a day to draw attention to the ongoing challenges of cancer survivorship in order to promote more resources, research, and survivor-friendly legislation to improve cancer survivors’ quality of life.
When cancer treatment ends, it can be a huge relief for many people. But for others, it can be a time of sadness, anger and uncertainty. This can be due to the physical effects of the treatment, or due to the strains the disease has caused on their relationships with friends, family members and colleagues.
For many patients, remission of the disease is just the first step in a long and emotionally draining process of recovery. Below are just a few of the emotional responses that survivors can experience after treatment:
Fear: One of the most overbearing aspects of cancer recovery is the fear of recurrence. Though many survivors go years, or even the rest of their lifetime without any sign of the disease, many struggle to lose the sense of uncertainty. To help acknowledge their fears, survivors are encouraged to be open about their feelings with their loved ones.
Loneliness: Often, survivors feel as if other people can't understand what they’ve been through, making it hard for them to relate to others. This in turn, can lead to loneliness. To combat this, support groups are available to those who need to share their feelings.
Stress: Once the treatment has finished, survivors can become stressed by the outstanding tasks that have been left unfinished e.g. repainting the house, fixing the car etc. To reduce the risk of stress, survivors are encouraged to build a new daily routine and to avoid doing everything at once.
Some cancer centres and organisations run short courses for people living with or after cancer. One of the most popular courses is Help to Overcome Problems Effectively (HOPE), which was developed by Coventry University and Macmillan Cancer Support as a free resource to help people after cancer treatment.
Volunteer: Many cancer centres and hospitals use Cancer Survivors Day to encourage people to volunteer at their facility. Find your local centre or support group and offer a helping hand.
Fundraising: Use the awareness day as an opportunity to raise vital funds for cancer charities. Gather your friends, family members and colleagues and commit to an activity that you are all are excited to take part in. Or as an alternative, join in on annual fundraising events such as the Cancer Survivors Day Celebration Walk in London.
Social media: If you know someone who has experienced cancer, use Cancer Survivors Day to encourage them to share their story via social media. Use the hashtag #CancerSurvivorsDay to help spread messages of inspiration and positivity.
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