Thanks to advances in cancer screenings and early detection, treatment, and follow-up care, more people than ever before are surviving cancer. In fact, more than 17 million people in the United States alone are estimated to be survivors of various forms of cancer, according to the American Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute.
Surviving cancer is a unique experience for each person. No two people will have the same path from diagnosis to remission; everyone has different treatments, joys, sorrows, thoughts, emotions, and experiences. Each experience deserves to be recognized and every day is worth celebrating.
Many people choose to celebrate the days, weeks, months, or years since their first diagnosis, their first day of treatment, or their last day of treatment. Others choose to celebrate on globally recognized days, such as National Cancer Survivors Day, observed annually on the first Sunday in June to honor those who are surviving cancer and to provide inspiration for those who have recently been diagnosed. This year, June 5, 2022 marks the 35th annual National Cancer Survivors Day.
At Lipson Cancer Institute, we want to share a few of the ways people can honor each person who survived or is currently living with cancer.
If your loved one is comfortable with gathering people together, take some time to plan an event in a way that honors them. Whether it is a party, a group outing to a festival or restaurant, or another activity that this person enjoys, bringing people together can go a long way in showing how loved this person is.
A celebration doesn’t have to be a traditional party with cake and balloons, either. Forming a team to take part in an annual walk or run for a local cancer organization is another way to show your support for a loved one whose life has been impacted by cancer. In Rochester, the Making Strides of Rochester Walk and Light the Night gathering each bring thousands of people together each year.
Behind every cancer survivor is a team of doctors, nurses, and medical staff who stood firm with them through the entire process. Expressing gratitude for these individuals can be a great way to honor a person who survived or is living with cancer.
Consider reaching out to the hospital or medical facility where they had their treatment and sending the staff something as a thank you. Whether it’s snacks or a meal, a card, flowers, or even a letter sharing a positive experience you had, healthcare providers always appreciate hearing from past patients and their loved ones.
This may sound simple, but the effect can be deeply meaningful to some people.
Sometimes talking about cancer, especially with a survivor, can be seen as an awkward topic to bring up. At the same time, if no one asks a person how they are doing or what their experience was like going through and continuing to recover from cancer, that can be isolating.
Having a conversation that starts with something as simple as “Do you want to talk about your treatment?” or “How are you doing?” can go a long way. You are acknowledging the difficulties they have overcome and reminding them how much you care.
Many cancer survivors find that sharing their time with a local or national organization helps give positive meaning to their experience.
Some survivors may want to spend time volunteering at the place where they received treatment, or with a cancer support organization as a patient advocate. Others may be resuming their volunteer efforts with an organization near and dear to them after pausing their involvement with a group or organization during their cancer treatment. Either way, join them in their efforts to show that you stand with them and their passions.
If you are looking for somewhere in our area to volunteer, there are plenty of places in the City of Rochester and the Rochester area where you can give your time and energy to making the lives of others better.
Some people don’t want to be personally celebrated – and that’s ok! Consider making a donation on their behalf to an organization or institution that supports cancer patients and research.
When you give your money to places such as Lipson Cancer Institute, you are helping future cancer patients by providing transportation to treatments, allowing them to receive infusions in relaxing spaces, and supporting talented medical teams to care for them.
With advanced technology, specialized programs and patient-centered clinics, the compassionate experts at Lipson Cancer Institute treat more than the disease - they treat the mind, body, and soul before, during, and after cancer.Learn More
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Tammy Snyder, MPH, President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Rochester General Hospital (RGH), has been named among the nation’s “Rising stars: Healthcare Leaders Under 40” by the influential publication Becker’s Hospital Review.
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