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International Cancer Survivors Day: “A Celebration of Life”

International Cancer Survivors Day: “A Celebration of Life”

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  • The first Sunday of June every year is International Cancer Survivors Day
  • The 2019 theme is ‘A Celebration of Life’
  • It aims to celebrate the life of all the brave and courageous cancer survivors

"Cancer didn't bring me to my knees, it brought me to my feet" - Michael Douglas (Oscar-winning American actor and cancer survivor)

Cancer can make you physically weak but cannot touch your mind or your heart or your soul. This year the 32nd edition of the International Cancer Survivors Day is being observed on 2nd June, 2019 to celebrate and share the unique stories of courage, perseverance, and inspiration of the cancer survivors. The Theme this year (2019) is "A Celebration of Life". It aims to celebrate life and provide hope for cancer survivors who have overcome and conquered the disease. The day also demonstrates that life after a cancer diagnosis can be rewarding, inspiring, and fruitful.


As per the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation, "a cancer survivor is anyone living with a history of cancer - from the moment of diagnosis through the remainder of life."

How is International Cancer Survivors Day Celebrated?

  • Survivors Tribute: Giving tributes to cancer survivors is one of the best ways to salute their courage in fighting the disease - and winning!
  • Popular Lectures: Guest speakers may be invited to talk on the topic of cancer to generate more awareness, understanding and empathy for cancer survivors
  • Workshops: Hands-on training may be organized for caregivers and family members on how to handle a cancer patient and help them cope with the disease
  • Health Fairs: These can be organized with a focus on cancer prevention, with an element of fun and entertainment to entice people to participate in the festivities
  • 'Walk/Run for Cancer': Walks and marathons are organized by various organizations across the globe to commemorate the day. For example, the Prevent Cancer Foundation in Virginia, USA is organizing a 5-kilometer walk/run event as a tribute to all cancer survivors
  • Art Activities: These activities may include 'sit-and-draw' competitions, which are ideal for engaging children and also giving them some fun at the same time
  • Social Media Campaigns: This is one of the easiest and most effective ways of spreading the message. For example, the organizers of the National Cancer Survivors Day 2019 are regularly posting on Facebook (Link: https://www.facebook.com/CancerSurvivorsDay/) and Twitter (Link: https://twitter.com/survivorsday?lang=en) to publicize the event
  • Real Life Stories: Each and every person living with cancer has a story to tell. Therefore, these cancer survivors should be encouraged to share their story so that others come to know that having cancer is not just all about despair, but there are ways to conquer it too!
  • Cancer Screening Camps: Free screening camps for early detection of cancer are ideal for interactions between doctors and the people in the community. These camps especially benefit underprivileged people who seldom come in contact with the health system
  • Media Events: Involving the media, both print and electronic, could help to increase awareness and influence public interest in prevention and early detection of cancer. In this regard, popular articles on cancer in newspapers, and chat shows and interviews on TV and radio are particularly useful means of communicating with the masses
  • Volunteering: Being a volunteer by engaging one-on-one with a cancer survivor to provide physical, mental and emotional support can be a unique, enriching, and rewarding experience. This will help the cancer survivor to open-up and share personal feelings and cancer experiences, which he/she would otherwise find it hard to express
  • Wearing 'Red', 'Blue' and 'White': The official colors for International Cancer Survivors Day are 'Red', 'Blue' and 'White'. So, wearing something with these colors, such as a T-shirt, cap, buttons, badges, or lapel pins will generate awareness and show support for cancer survivors

International Cancer Survivors Day Celebrations in Leading Cancer Institutes

This day is being celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervour in many world-renowned cancer institutes, a few of which are highlighted below:
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: This renowned cancer center is organizing an event at the Zukerman Research Center, New York, USA
  • MD Anderson Cancer Center: This leading cancer center is holding celebrations at the Texas Medical Center, Houston, Texas, USA  
  • Guy's Hospital and St. Thomas' Hospital Cancer Centers: These two famous London hospitals are holding a 'Celebration Walk'. This event aims to celebrate cancer survivorship, as well as raise vital funds for cancer patients at Guy's Cancer Center, London, UK
  • Johns Hopkins University: The Johns Hopkins All Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Institute is organizing an event at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, USA
The key for cancer survivors is not to give up. Medical science is investing huge amount of resources to overcome the challenges and find a permanent cure for the disease. Don't think of cancer diagnosis as a slow death sentence - this was in the past, but today most cancers have cures and there are many long-term survivors who have beaten the dreaded disease. Be encouraged and speak to a survivor if you suffer from cancer. It will give you hope and strength to fight the cancer and celebrate life. Stuart Scott who was an American sportscaster and ESPN anchor, bravely fought cancer and survived many years, till his death in 2015, said - "You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live".

References :
  1. National Cancer Survivors Day®  - (https://www.ncsd.org/)
  2. National Cancer Survivors Day - Prevent Cancer Foundation, USA  - (https://preventcancer.org/event/national-cancer-survivors-day/)
  3. What is Survivorship? - Cancer.Net  - (https://www.cancer.net/survivorship/what-survivorship)
  4. Clinical Programs of the Center for Cancer Survivorship - Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, USA  - (https://www.cinj.org/survivorship)

Source: Medindia

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