June 4 is National Cancer Survivors Day. Sponsored by the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation, it is “a CELEBRATION for those who have survived, an INSPIRATION for those recently diagnosed, a gathering of SUPPORT for families, and an OUTREACH to the community.”
There was a time that a cancer diagnosis was as good as a death sentence. But the probability of surviving it increases all the time. Today, there are so many cancer survivors in this country that if they had their own state, it would rank fifth by population: well ahead of Pennsylvania and just behind New York. My back-of-the-envelope calculation, based on Census data, is that one in 20 residents of the USA is a cancer survivor.
The Challenges of Cancer Survival
Surviving cancer may be a cause for celebration, but it doesn’t mean the survivor’s troubles are over. Surviving cancer can expose you to some of the jagged edges of our broken healthcare system. Among the difficulties you might face as a survivor are denial of medical or life insurance, difficulty getting or holding on to a job, and increased health risks. There are also the problems of continuing medical expenses, paying off medical debt, and getting access to specialized care.
As a cancer survivor, you will doubtless need high-quality medical care because cancer isn’t usually cured; it’s only “in remission.” The practical challenges of cancer survival, then, are many and varied. “Add to that emotional struggles, strains on personal relationships, and the profound fear of cancer recurrence,” says the Foundation, “The effects of cancer don’t simply end when treatment does.”
Support Cancer Survivors
One of the reasons we need a National Cancer Survivors Day is to get everybody to recognize these challenges, to have compassion for those facing them, and to be ready to do something about them.
I like to think that we at Peak Recovery & Health Center share a special understanding with cancer survivors. As a group, cancer survivors are particularly attuned to self-care. And self-care is what we are all about here. We believe self-care comes from pain management, physical activity (and subsequent recovery), and attending to cellular health.
We Can Help
We offer several services for pain management: cryotherapy, photobiomodulation (including celluma), and massage. If you are close to a cancer survivor who is coping with chronic pain, consider treating them to one of these services. We’ve seen each of these services provide temporary relief that’s sometimes sufficient to break a tension-pain cycle. In addition, cryotherapy, photobiomodulation, and Nanovi have been shown to support cellular health.
If you believe, as I do, that exercise is medicine, then you will encourage your survivor to embrace an exercise program. Even if they start out modestly, they will eventually reach the point that exercise is regularly stressing their body. That is, after all, the best way to pursue exercise. Count on us to aid in their recovery from that stress. Recovery is our middle name, or at least one of them.
Anyone who survives cancer faces an inevitable question: will it come back? Float therapy won’t answer that question, but it can help manage the constant stress of it. A few years ago, I wrote about a clinical study that demonstrated how float therapy reduces anxiety as well as the blood level of the stress hormone cortisol.
Massage is another effective stress management technique. I wrote about that here.
If you are close to a cancer survivor, cut them some slack on June 4. No, cut them some slack every day. And encourage them to come see us. We can help.
Photo: “Emotional Woman Wearing a Hospital Gown Sitting on the Bed” by Tima Miroshnichenko via Pexels. Creative Commons License.