Celebrate Being a Cancer Survivor

From the moment you are diagnosed with cancer, you become a survivor. Here are a few ways to celebrate.

Take care of your health and reduce your risk of recurrence. Cancer survivors are more at risk for a recurrence due to the effects of treatment, genetics, and other risk factors. If you smoke, stop. Limit your consumption of alcohol. Eat a healthy diet. It will make you feel better and build up your immune system.

Exercise. One of the most common physical issues among survivors is cancer-related fatigue. Evidence is mounting that exercise following cancer can improve your physical functioning and quality of life, and reduce fatigue and risk of cancer mortality. Exercise makes you feel good. What better way to celebrate surviving cancer than by celebrating your body with exercise!

Join a support group. While they're not right for everyone, many survivors find that support groups help them deal with their feelings and fears about cancer and provide practical tips to common problems.

Develop a survivorship plan. You and your physician should develop a follow-up plan that outlines when you should visit, what types of screenings you should have, and how to deal with treatment-related side effects.

Become an advocate. As the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS) says, "When it comes to speaking about cancer, nobody does it better than those who have been there." Here are some ways you might be a cancer advocate:

  • Speak to others, such as a support group, about your experiences.
  • Raise awareness by taking part in a walk or run or other awareness and fundraising events.
  • Advocate for cancer research and improve quality of cancer care by taking part in a clinical trial or encouraging others to participate in clinical trials.
  • Become involved in changing public policy by addressing legislative and regulatory issues.

The NCCS offers suggestions and opportunities for getting involved. Find one that's comfortable for you.

Take advantage of resources. The National Cancer Institute, the NCCS, and other organizations offer a wealth of resources to help you navigate the challenges of living as a cancer survivor. For example, the NCCS offers a Cancer Survival Toolbox, which teaches you skills to help you meet ongoing challenges.

Take time to appreciate and embrace life. Plan a trip. Write a letter. Savor a salad. Give yourself permission each day to enjoy life.




Nelson, Roxanne. "New Guidelines Emphasize the Need for Cancer Patients to Exercise." Medscape Medical News. Web. 16 June 2010.

National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship. Web. http://www.canceradvocacy.org/

Centers for Disease Control. "Cancer Survivorship." Web. http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/survivorship/

National Cancer Institute. "Cancer Survivorship Research." Web. http://cancercontrol.cancer.gov/ocs/

Cancer.net. "Cancer Survivorship." Web. http://www.cancer.net/patient/Survivorship

National Cancer Institute. "Coping with Cancer: Survivorship - Living with and Beyond ..." Web. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/coping/survivorship