On Sunday, June 4, 2023, people affected by cancer gathered in local communities across the globe to commemorate the 36th annual National Cancer Survivors Day® Celebration of Life and to raise awareness of the ongoing challenges of cancer survivorship.
In the U.S. today, there are more than 18.1 million people living with and beyond cancer – and nearly 44 million people worldwide who have been diagnosed with cancer within the past 5 years. On June 4, as part of the 36th annual National Cancer Survivors Day®, countless people in hundreds of communities around the world came together to acknowledge these cancer survivors, to raise awareness of the ongoing challenges cancer survivors face because of their disease, and to celebrate life.
According to the nonprofit National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation, administrator for the annual Celebration of Life, “A ‘survivor’ is anyone living with a history of cancer – from the moment of diagnosis through the remainder of life.” The Foundation’s primary mission is to bring awareness to the issues of cancer survivorship in order to improve quality of life for cancer survivors.
From its small beginnings in the United States as a grassroots cancer survivorship movement in 1987, National Cancer Survivors Day® is now one of the largest cancer survivor events in the world, held annually on the first Sunday in June.
This year, official NCSD events were held in 16 countries across 5 continents. In addition to the celebrations held throughout 45 U.S. states, international Survivors Day events took place in the Bahamas, Canada, Guyana, India, Kenya, the Netherlands, Malawi, Rwanda, South Africa, St. Lucia, Tanzania, Thailand, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and Zambia, among other nations.
From discos and luaus to cancer awareness runs, survivor parades, and even baseball games, each community celebrated in its own unique way. Collectively, these National Cancer Survivors Day® celebrations gave cancer survivors an opportunity to share their stories, connect with other survivors, celebrate personal milestones, and recognize those who have supported them.
In a welcome message shared with NCSD participants on Sunday, June 4, 2023, National Cancer Institute Director Dr. Monica M. Bertagnolli stated, “The survivor community is growing. There are now more than 18 million people in the U.S. who have been diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Due to the growth and aging of the population, better early detection strategies, more effective treatments, and improved supportive care, that number is expected to reach more than 26 million by 2040, highlighting the importance of improving our understanding of – and our ability to address – the needs of cancer survivors. We can make faster progress if we work together, across all of society, and combine efforts that will yield faster, more equitable results, to improve the lives of survivors everywhere.”
In addition to facing a serious illness, cancer survivors must contend with rapidly rising medical costs; inadequate insurance coverage; difficulty finding or keeping employment; and ongoing physical, psychological, and financial struggles that persist even after treatment ends. As the number of cancer survivors continues to grow, it is becoming ever more important to address the unique needs of this population.
“Cancer survivors face ongoing, often long-lasting, hardships because of their disease – physical and emotional side effects, increased risk for second primary cancers and other health problems, and potentially devastating financial setbacks, to name a few,” says Foundation spokesperson Laura Shipp. “National Cancer Survivors Day® is the one day set aside each year to raise awareness of these challenges of cancer survivorship. While NCSD is certainly a Celebration of Life, it is also a call to action for further research, more resources, and increased public awareness to improve the lives of cancer survivors.”
To learn more about National Cancer Survivors Day®, visit ncsd.org.
About the Foundation
The nonprofit National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation offers free guidance, education, networking resources, and assistance to hundreds of hospitals, support groups, and other cancer-related organizations that host National Cancer Survivors Day® events in their communities. The Foundation’s primary mission is to bring awareness to the issues of cancer survivorship in order to better the quality of life for cancer survivors.
About National Cancer Survivors Day®
National Cancer Survivors Day® is an annual, treasured Celebration of Life that is held in hundreds of communities nationwide, and around the world, on the first Sunday in June. On National Cancer Survivors Day®, thousands gather across the globe to honor cancer survivors and to show the world that life after a cancer diagnosis can be fruitful, rewarding, and even inspiring. NCSD offers an opportunity for all people living with a history of cancer – including America’s more than 18.1 million cancer survivors – to connect with each other, celebrate milestones, and recognize those who have supported them along the way. It is also a day to draw attention to the ongoing challenges of cancer survivorship in order to promote more resources, research, and survivor-friendly legislation to improve cancer survivors’ quality of life.
National Cancer Survivors Day® 2023 was supported nationally by 2seventy bio, Alercell, Inc., Astex Pharmaceuticals, Aveo Oncology, Convatec, Coping with Cancer magazine, Deciphera Pharmaceuticals, Elekta, Exelixis, Gamida Cell, GE Healthcare, Guardant Health, Hologic, Incyte, Ipsen, Janssen, Novocure, Servier, and Springworks Therapeutics.