June 7, 2020, marks the 33rd annual National Cancer Survivors Day Celebration of Life. This is a day set aside each year to recognize cancer survivors, to raise awareness of the challenges they face, and to celebrate life. Although extended survivorship used to be a rare occurrence in patients with cancer, the implementation of more effective treatment strategies and better detection and screening methods has increased the odds that individuals will live longer after diagnosis. How much do you kow about cancer survivorship?
June is the month designated to recognize the lives of the approximately 17 million cancer survivors in the United States.1 Advances in the diagnosis and treatment of many types of cancer have helped to increase the incidence of survivorship. The 5-year relative survival rate for all cancers combined has increased substantially since the early 1960s, from 39% to 70% among whites and from 27% to 64% among blacks.2 Researchers also estimate that approximately 33% more individuals over the next decade will live >5 years after a cancer diagnosis.3 However, cancer survivors often feel uncertain about their future and may have fears that their cancer will recur. Given the growing number of cancer survivors in the United States, public awareness of the unique medical and psychosocial needs of these individuals is critical to improve quality of life and clinical outcomes.