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This year, World Cancer Day falls on Thursday 4th February 2021 and raises awareness of those who are currently living with cancer, have had cancer, who are supporting someone with cancer, and to commemorate those who we have lost. It is also an opportunity to celebrate those who have survived cancer and serve as an encouragement for those who have been diagnosed and are undergoing treatment.
Furthermore, World Cancer Day raises awareness in the support networks that have stood with those who have had cancer along their journey and raises awareness to the daily struggles of cancer survivors, advocating for further funds, regulation and studies to assist them in obtaining a greater life experience.
While the completion of cancer treatment is both gratifying and alleviating for many, it can also have enduring physical and psychological effects. The treatment can have a long-standing impact on an individual’s physical state—altering how a person lives their life. Additionally, the person may develop mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and in more serious cases post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Relationships with loved ones, friends and colleagues may become strained due to the physical and emotional difficulties the treatment may cause. Below are some examples of emotional difficulties someone may face when living with cancer:
Trauma & stress: the physical and emotional turmoil may lead to the person becoming traumatised. This could be from the role the disease had upon them, as well as if the treatment itself has caused emotional distress. Support groups and counselling are recommended to combat psychological trauma.
Fear: the fear of cancer re-emerging is another issue someone recovering may face. Survivors can go years (and a lifetime) without the disease re-occurring. However, many may face years of worry believing the disease may one day re-appear. The person must be open to those close to them regarding their worries and concerns.
Loneliness: survivors may become emotionally isolated due to others being unable to understand what they have been through. This can cause issues socially, leading to isolation. Support groups are further encouraged so survivors can speak to those who have shared similar experiences.
Some cancer charities run short courses which are designed to assist those whose lives have been impacted by cancer. Examples include Help to Overcome Problems Effectively (HOPE), and Macmillan Cancer. Below, we have listed several positive steps that an individual can take after experiencing cancer:
Volunteering: people often want to give back to others/charities that may have assisted them during their illness and perform volunteer work. Have a look at your local cancer charity/support group, as they may always need a helping hand!
Fundraising: cancer survivors may wish to use Cancer Survivors Day to generate funds for relevant charities. Gather your local community and create an event to be enjoyed by all!
Social media: if your life or someone you know has been touched by cancer, social media can be a very effective way to encourage them to share their story. Using the hashtag #WorldCancerDay to assist in getting these stories to the public’s attention, this promotes support and positivity.
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