Sunday, June 6 is National Cancer Survivors Day®.

Why should we celebrate?

As of January 2019, there were 17 million cancer survivors in the United States. By 2030, that number is projected to be 22 million.1 In Connecticut alone there are 243,410 cancer survivors.

Surviving cancer is not only just the happiness and relief that the treatments are over, but includes coping with new normal, late- and long-term side effects of treatments, family issues, and financial stressors.  And in this past year, it includes diagnosis and treatment of cancer in the midst of a viral pandemic. There are many types of survivors, including those living with cancer and those free of cancer.2

This year, more than ever, it is important to focus on supporting survivors, reminding people about the early detection of cancer, and support those that continue to undergo treatments for cancer. Cancer has not stopped because of COVID-19.

Many emotions can be part of healing after treatment ends, coping with the fear of recurrence, and facing the new normalcy of survivorship. Acknowledging the need to take care of oneself is important. Making healthy choices, talking about concerns with family and friends, taking time to focus on stress-relieving activities such as yoga, and staying physically active are important parts of self-care. In addition, a support group, whether in a group setting or individual counseling, can help with the healing process. Support groups are not just for the patient alone; four out of ten family members/loved ones feel the anxiety of financial burdens from a cancer diagnosis.3

It is important to stay up-to-date with screenings to detect certain cancers in their early stages, and to prevent possible secondary malignancies for cancer survivors. Help reduce your risk of cancer:

  • Stop tobacco use
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Stay physically active
  • Practice sun safety
  • Eat a good variety of fruits and vegetables
  • Limit your alcohol consumption
  • Know your family history and your risk factors
  • Talk to your healthcare provider on a regular basis

Knowing where and who to turn to is comforting. The ECHN John A. DeQuattro Cancer Center has many resources available for those looking for answers for themselves or loved ones. The Oncology Navigation team includes Nurse Navigators who can offer support, guidance to resources and to the right screening, as well as guidance to the right health care provider. Oncology Social Workers are available to help with talking through stressors, guidance to financial resources, or finding the right support group. A resource library is also available. Feel free to call and ask questions or make an appointment to chat in person. It is safe to talk and more important than ever to focus on a healthy you!

Elizabeth Soucy, MSW, LCSW   Oncology Social Work 860.533.2957

Karen Fiume, RN, OCN   Oncology Nurse Navigator 860.500.3640