June 3rd is National Cancer Survivors Day and a good time to begin to understand more about life after a cancer experience. Survivorship in fact begins from the initial cancer diagnosis and continues well beyond final treatment. Most people who have gone through a cancer experience will identify themselves as a cancer survivor for the rest of their life according to the US National Library of Medicine.
The term “cancer survivor” commonly refers to someone who has a history of cancer. “Co-survivor” is a term sometimes used to describe a person who has cared for a friend or loved one with cancer.
The word “survivor” does not appeal to all people who have a history of cancer. The reasons for this vary. For instance, they may simply identify more with being “a person who has had cancer,” or perhaps they are dealing with cancer every day and do not think of themselves as a survivor, but more as someone who is “living with cancer.”
Living life with a history of cancer is unique for each person. Yet a common thread is true for most, that life is different after cancer.
Some common reactions to having had cancer are: