National Cancer Survivors Day is officially the first Sunday in June each year. Many cancer centers and cancer care organizations plan activities, events and recognitions throughout the month of June. Team OncoLink was honored to coordinate activities at Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center (ACC) to celebrate and recognize cancer survivors.
It was great to reach out to survivors and their caregivers and offer support, education and resources. I was most struck by how reluctant many people who are in active treatment are to call themselves survivors. We encouraged patients, regardless of where they were in the cancer journey, to think of themselves as survivors with survivorship care needs. This includes patients with metastatic cancer or chronic cancers like CLL.
We had A LOT of help! We are especially thankful for our volunteers from Penn Medicine ACC’s Patient and Family Services, Integrative Oncology, Palliative Care, the Cancer Support Community, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Headstrong Foundation, the Roberts Proton Therapy Alumni Group and Jen Dombrowski who provided great reflexology and reiki treatments.
The OncoLink team encourages patients to complete a survivorship care plan. What’s a care plan you ask? A care plan is road map for your life with/after cancer. It provides information about the treatments you received, short and long term side effects, adjustment to life with and after cancer, and common emotional, practical and spiritual concerns people coping with cancer may face. A care plan serves as a vehicle for information and communication between you, your caregivers and your healthcare team. You can complete a care plan through our free, online tool, OncoLife.
Celebrating life with and after cancer is an important step in living life with and after cancer. The OncoLink team salutes cancer survivors, their caregivers and our fellow healthcare professionals who provide compassionate care and support to patients with cancer.