Celebrate Life this Cancer Survivorship Month
Started by the National Cancer Survivorship Foundation, 6 June is recognised as National Cancer Survivorship Day in USA, celebrating those who have survived cancer and inspiring others to maintain hope as they battle cancer. Aimed at motivating patients and their caregivers to stay positive in their journey to recovery, Integrated Oncology Centres (IOC), one of the region’s leading oncology networks, has dedicated the whole month of June to show its support to those who are battling cancer as well as those who have conquered the disease.
IOC’s Cancer Survivorship Month is themed “Celebrating Life” to recognise the challenges that survivors face and to encourage them to celebrate every milestone they have achieved. This campaign is organised in collaboration with IOC’s centres in Hong Kong, Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia. Through the campaign, IOC also aims to deepen the community’s understanding towards better cancer management while focusing on three key aspects of survivorship: caregiving, dealing with recurrence and staying strong in the fight against cancer.
Coping with being a cancer caregiver
The role of caregivers should not be underestimated in the cancer care management journey. Providing care and support to cancer patients is not an easy task and often gets overwhelming as caregivers juggle with the social and psychological impact of seeing their loved ones go through challenging times. Furthermore, there is also the financial burden that one might face in this journey to consider.
It is important for caregivers to remember that they are not alone in this journey. If caregivers feel overwhelmed, they are encouraged to seek counsel and support from their social network. They can also reach out to healthcare professionals who would be willing to provide advice on how to better manage their emotions and wellbeing. Throughout this journey, it is important for caregivers to remember that self-care should be a priority and caregivers need to take time off for their own physical, mental and emotional well-being as well.
Managing cancer recurrence
As unfortunate as it may seem, cancer recurrence and relapse is not unheard of in cancer patients. While it might be challenging to predict a recurrence, the risks of a relapse are known to increase when the cancer is malignant, fast growing and more advanced or widespread.
Regardless, a cancer recurrence can be frustrating demotivating for cancer patients, making them worry about the psychological and physical side-effects or complications arising from treatments. In fact, it can easily affect the confidence and motivation of patients to continue with the treatment to fight against the cancer.
This makes it imperative for cancer patients to understand the possibilities of cancer recurrence and associated ramifications so they feel empowered to take charge of their own journey to recovery. This includes understanding lifestyle modifications such as changes in diet, exercise, sleep patterns to maintaining good mental health as they ready themselves for treatment. Cancer patients also need to be educated on the importance of regular screening for early detection of a relapse.
Staying motivated throughout your cancer care journey
The battle against cancer does not come easy for anyone. A cancer survivor has to navigate several challenges in their everyday lives. This includes recovery from the side effects of the treatment, changes in lifestyle, and societal stigmas associated with cancer. Most often, patients may have the urge to jump right back into their daily routines considering the repercussions. Unfortunately, in most cases, it might be physically stressful and take longer for them to get back to their familiar routines. This sometimes leads to demotivation.
In order to stay motivated and well-informed, cancer survivors should consider steps like lifestyle and diet modification to stay in remission, counselling and regular screening as part of their routines to resume normal life after treatment.
“Surviving cancer can be an arduous journey given the physical and mental challenges, financial burdens and possibility of recurrence. This June, want to express our admiration to cancer survivors, for their courage and perseverance, and want to dedicate the whole month of June as a reminder to cancer patients and survivors to continue to take care of themselves, to acknowledge their caregivers and also to share information to the community about survivorship,” said Phoebe Ho, CEO of IOC.