Every year in June, Memorial Sloan Kettering honors all cancer survivors who are living with and beyond their disease. National Cancer Survivor Month helps to raise awareness of the growing number of survivors, the challenges they face, and the important work being done to help ensure longer, healthier lives for everyone affected by cancer.
“With each year that passes, we see the number of cancer survivors grow nationally and worldwide,” says Stacie Corcoran, Director of the Adult Survivorship Program. “Now more than ever is a time to recognize survivors’ journeys and to remind ourselves of the specialized care that cancer survivors require.”
In 2020, it’s important to consider what it means to be a cancer survivor during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Corcoran says.
“While we cannot come together in person this year, no one is alone in honoring this important occasion,” says MSK President and CEO Craig Thompson. “Survivors are no stranger to resilience, and today is no exception.”
“Patient care remains our primary focus,” says Lisa DeAngelis, Physician-in-Chief and Chief Medical Officer of MSK. “We continue to provide safe and optimal care that addresses the needs of our patients and survivors first.”
There are approximately 17 million cancer survivors in the US today, and by 2029 experts expect that number to reach close to 22 million. MSK continues to set the standard in survivorship care, says Ms. Corcoran, and is working to expand and improve care for the whole person, which includes nutrition and exercise programs; clinical studies; patient and family counseling; and more. There are more survivorship-focused studies than ever taking place at MSK examining the long-term health of childhood cancer survivors and the role nutrition plays in reducing the risk of cancer.
“Though it has presented many challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic will not deter our efforts in leading how cancer care and survivorship care is delivered,” says Dr. DeAngelis. “To cancer survivors everywhere, we dedicate this month to you. Your perseverance and strength are an inspiration to us at MSK.”
In the slideshow above, hear from three people as they reflect on what it means to survive cancer.