Cancer Survivors Gather Across the Globe to Celebrate Life, Raise Awareness on National Cancer Survivors Day

On Sunday, June 2, 2024, cancer survivors and their supporters gathered in communities around the world to commemorate the 37th annual National Cancer Survivors Day® and raise awareness of the ongoing challenges of cancer survivorship.

In the U.S. alone, there are more than 18.1 million people living with and beyond cancer – and, worldwide, an estimated 53.5 million people have survived cancer within the past 5 years. On June 2, as part of the 37th 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 persistent challenges cancer survivors face because of their disease, and to celebrate life. 

Held annually on the first Sunday in June, National Cancer Survivors Day® began in 1987 as a grassroots cancer survivorship movement. Today, this cherished Celebration of Life has grown to become one of the largest cancer survivor events in the world.

According to the nonprofit National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation, administrator for the annual Celebration, “A ‘cancer 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 as a means to improve quality of life for cancer survivors.

This year, official NCSD events were held in 16 countries across 5 continents. In addition to the celebrations held throughout 41 U.S. states, international Survivors Day events took place in Canada, Guyana, India, Kenya, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, Spain, St. Lucia, Tanzania, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom, among other nations.

From barbecues and fiestas to cancer awareness walks, ice cream socials, and even live music concerts, each community celebrated in its own unique way. Collectively, these National Cancer Survivors Day® celebrations gave cancer survivors an opportunity to connect with other survivors, share their stories, celebrate milestones, and show the world that you can have a full, meaningful, beautiful life after a cancer diagnosis.

In a welcome message shared with NCSD participants on Sunday, June 2, 2024, National Cancer Institute Director Dr. W. Kimryn Rathmell stated, “To the more than 18 million cancer survivors in the U.S. today: You are the reason all of us at NCI have the privilege of waking up every day to lead the national effort to make progress against cancer. Today and every day, we celebrate your life and your experience. NCI is doing everything we can to find better ways to prevent, detect and treat cancer, and to embrace life after diagnosis. Everyone has a role in ending cancer as we know it, and I look forward to everything we’ll be able to do by working more closely together.”

As the number of cancer survivors continues to increase, it is becoming ever more important to address the unique needs of this growing population. 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.

“Just ask any cancer survivor, and they’ll tell you that the effects of cancer don’t end when treatment does. Cancer survivors face ongoing, sometimes lifelong, hardships because of this disease. And that often includes potentially devastating financial setbacks,” says Foundation spokesperson Laura Shipp. “Certainly, National Cancer Survivors Day® is a treasured Celebration of Life among the cancer survivor community. But it’s also a call to action. NCSD is a challenge for all of us to raise awareness of the issues of cancer survivorship and to advocate for further research, more resources, and increased public awareness to improve the lives of cancer survivors.”

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 a poignant, inspiring Celebration of Life led by the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation. It is also a call to action for further research, more resources, and increased public awareness to improve the lives of cancer survivors. On National Cancer Survivors Day®, held annually on the first Sunday in June, thousands gather across the globe to honor cancer survivors and to show the world that life after a cancer diagnosis can be beautiful, meaningful, and triumphant. 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. 

National Cancer Survivors Day® 2024 was supported nationally by Amgen, Aveo Oncology, Convatec, Coping with Cancer, Deciphera, Erasca Foundation, Hologic, Incyte, Ipsen, Johnson & Johnson Innovative Medicine, Labcorp, Lantheus, and Springworks Therapeutics.

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