Happy National Cancer Survivor's Day!
Welcome back, everybody! I’m so glad you’ve joined us for another installment of the awareness blog. I hope you all had a wonderful first week of June. Summer is just around the corner, and with every post I write, we get one week closer to it. I don’t even have any crazy plans for the summer that I’m anxiously awaiting, as I’m sure many of you do. I just want to write at least one of these awareness blog posts from a shaded cabana. That is the extent of my summer goals. That might sound lame but I don’t care. Sounds good to me. If you’re a fellow #spoonie, you know that your body doesn’t always cooperate with plans, so I try to keep it spontaneous rather than have to cancel. Quite frankly, I’m sick of canceling on people due to my health, so I try not to put myself in situations where I’ll have to. That doesn’t mean I don’t get out and do my thing with the girls, though.
Today is a very special day, especially to everyone here at Personalized Cause. Today is National Cancer Survivor’s Day! Today we celebrate those who fought the good fight, and survived their battle with cancer. We also remember those who fought bravely and fiercely, but didn’t make it. We honor those who lost their lives by celebrating how remarkable surviving cancer is. I hope my nerdy Spock reference made at least a few of you smile. To all the cancer survivors out there, may you, “Live long and prosper!”
National Cancer Survivor’s Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of June, every year. The day is meant to bring cancer survivors together to inspire others, raise funds to fight the disease, and give hope to those battling cancer or recently diagnosed. It also serves as a source of support for the families of people battling cancer. I don’t know if any of you have ever attended a cancer race or fund raiser, but let me tell you: nothing fills your eyes with tears and your heart with hope quite like seeing hundreds of cancer survivors come together to support one another and prove that cancer had not broken or defeated them, but instead made them stronger than ever. Not a dry eye in the crowd, trust me.
Let’s talk a little bit about cancer and cancer survival. Cancer is among the top causes of death everywhere in the world. In the United States, the rate of cancer survival is increasing, and predicted to continue to trend upwards. This is likely due to advancements in technology, and treatment, and to an increase in early detection from screening and education. Unfortunately, in other places in the world, the survival rate is not as high. Around 60 percent of the entire world’s new cancer cases come from Africa, Asia, Central America and South America. Even worse, these regions account for nearly 70 percent of cancer deaths. You don’t even really need context to know that that’s due to less access to treatment and screening.
In the United States, cancer death rates have steadily declined since the 1990’s. Of course, there are certain types of cancers that have remained the same or even increased in diagnosis since then, too. But the overall trend is that cancer deaths are decreasing. From 2004 to 2013, the rate of death from cancer decreased by 13 percent. That may not seem like much, but that is considerable. Especially given the complexity of cancer. This may be partly due to a decline in smoking in the United States. Other factors for cancer such as obesity have risen, and continue to rise further, though. What we know for sure is that we are making progress in how we fight the disease, and we have made a concerted effort to detect cancers early, when potential for survival is highest.
The cancers predicted to be the most prevalent this year are breast cancer, lung cancer, bronchus cancer, pancreatic cancer, melanoma, bladder cancer, kidney and renal cancer, colon and rectum cancer, prostate cancer, thyroid cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, leukemia, and endometrial cancer. Cancer deaths are more common in men than women, with African American men being the most at risk. Conversely, Asian and Pacific Islander women are least likely to die from cancer. The number of cancer survivors living is projected to reach 19 million by 2014. Wouldn’t that be incredible? As of a couple years ago, the number of people living beyond cancer was around 14 and a half million people. That definitely shows a lot of promise for the next ten years.
Sadly, the aftermath of cancer can be just as difficult as the disease itself. Rather than the excitement every cancer survivor should feel, many are overwhelmed by limited access to follow up care, health insurance coverage denial, an inability to get life insurance coverage, and difficulty finding jobs that suit their new physical limitations. Not to mention, they face the burden of mounting medical bills, and stress of not being able to work. Many survivors are unable to go back to work right away, even if they were able to find a job or return to their old one. Cancer survivors face a great deal of emotional and physical trauma during treatment, which also needs time to heal. Survivors are at a higher risk for developing other conditions as a result of their treatment, and are at a higher risk for developing cancer again in the future. This is why it is so important that we fight to make changes in the system, in order to allow all of our survivors to heal and be treated in a way that gives them the best chance of thriving. Having cancer is hard enough; you shouldn’t be punished for surviving the disease by not being able to get affordable health insurance coverage, or life insurance. You certainly shouldn’t have to sell everything you have in order to pay your medical bills. I think we can all agree on this.
People who survive cancer are left with a great deal of fear. Cancer is terrifying, and the fight for ones life is traumatic. Survivors don’t always have time to process everything while they are going through diagnosis and treatment because everything moves so quickly. Cancer patients live with the mentality of just getting through it, because there are no other options. Once treatment has ended, many cancer survivors are flooded with the fear they experienced during the health crisis. There is an element of post-traumatic stress for some survivors. Therapy is an important part of healing from the ordeal of cancer. Some cancer survivors also report that they became much more aware of their bodies, in the sense that they notice every little ache, pain, or change. While it is good to be aware of your body and any changes it goes through, cancer survivors sometimes fear that every symptom they experience is a sign that the cancer has returned. Dealing with this kind of fear can be very difficult, and it’s important to talk about it. Many cancer survivors find support groups to be very beneficial. It’s comforting to talk about the issues of life post cancer with other people who know what you’re going through.
Cancer has long lasting physical scars, but it also leaves long-term emotional scars. Giving cancer survivors the time they need to heal is crucial to them getting their lives back. Surviving cancer is a tremendous accomplishment, and many who battle the disease are not so lucky. That’s why it is so important that we respect survivors by helping them, rather than denying them health coverage, charging insane premiums for pre-existing conditions, and denying them life insurance. They have enough to deal with without all the extra hurdles, as do their families. Cancer affects the whole family, and we should all remember that.
Thanks for reading! I hope today’s post gave you a different perspective on life after cancer.
If you’re new to our awareness blog, welcome! I’m so glad you found us. This awareness blog is run by Personalized Cause. Personalized Cause is an awareness accessory company that specializes is custom awareness ribbons. Our custom awareness ribbons can be engraved with any name, date, message, or phrase that you’d like, on any of our custom awareness ribbon colors. We carry just about every awareness ribbon under the sun. In addition to our custom awareness ribbons, we also carry classic awareness ribbons, fabric awareness ribbons, and silicone awareness wristbands. Basically, whatever your awareness accessory needs are, we’ve got you covered.
Personalized Cause decided to start this awareness blog because we believe in raising awareness. We decided to practice what we preach by raising awareness for as many causes as we can. We can’t expect our customers to be passionate about raising awareness if we’re not, and raising awareness is crucial for understanding, fundraising, and research. So, I hope you’ll join us next week, and every week after, for our latest awareness blog installment. We hope to educate everyone on different causes so that progress is made in our communities. Compassion and understanding is the key to every cause.
Cancer ribbon colors are specific to the type of cancer. To see all of our custom awareness ribbons, visit the link below. If you do not know the color awareness ribbon for the disease, click the “Search By Cause” button, and type the name of the disease into the search bar.
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