Cancer Survivor - A Fighter
BEING A CANCER SURVIVOR
A cancer survivor is a person who has either had cancer in the past or is undergoing cancer treatment and not in the terminal phase of his cancer. Also, the term can include family, friends and voluntary caregivers of people with cancer. With advancements in technologies leading up to cancer care we have seen an increase in the number of Adolescent and Young Adult survivors in the last few years. Between the years 1995 to 2000, the five-year cancer survival rate among children rose to over 80%. In 2012, there were around 32 million cancer survivors.
To many, surviving this disease is more like fighting. A major part of a cancer survivor’s life involves love and support from family and loved ones in addition to treatment and therapy. Many cancer survivors call cancer a life-changing experience and even go on so as to do the things they have never thought of doing now that they have met with a revelation about how life can change any minute. Cancer, like any other life altering situation, comes with post traumatic growth and often lead people to self-transformation. But the road to surviving this deadly disease is the road taken often in recent days due to high number of cancer incidents. Cancer doesn’t discriminate between people and people from all walks of life, given the favourable circumstances, get affected by it.
Availing proper healthcare after diagnosis is a major necessity to deal with cancer. Continuous appointments with doctors, treatment, therapy and intake of medication without fail are a must in the medical sense of dealing with the disease. Therapeutic vaccines help fight cancer rather than prevent it, preventive vaccines help prevent the disease from developing worse, targeted therapies act on specific molecular targets as chemotherapy acts on unhealthy and healthy cells. Incorporating healthy diet with anti-cancer foods also help. There is yet another aspect of cancer care where moral and emotional support are seen as most important in the healing process.
Ananda Shankar, an Indian classical dancer joked that until the day she was diagnosed with cancer, she only used to think cancer was a zodiac sign. She gracious put her cancer experience in her TED talk as
“ a story of overcoming setbacks, obstacles, and challenges”
and that she would like the cancer survivors to treat cancer like an illness, like one would treat blood sugar level and moreover like a badge.
Canadian actress turned philanthropist Lisa Ray had been diagnosed with a rare type of cancer called multiple myeloma in June 2009 is now cancer free after stem cell transplant and spreads awareness on the topic. Recently, actors of Indian origin like Sonali Bendre and Irrfan Khan have been inspiring millions on the social media with their cancer documentation online. Olympic champion Shannon Miller, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, now a mother of two quotes
"I use whatever voice I have from my Olympic career to encourage women to keep medical appointments, get more sleep, eat right, get and stay fit, and recognize the signs and symptoms of cancer."
Male breast cancer is a rarity and the 34-year old ma stated that “The best thing to do is take one day at a time, be positive, pick your head up when you are down and remember what may seem like the most devastating news in your life, can always open doors to a whole new world of possibilities.” Most of the patients survive chemotherapy, spinal taps, surgeries, blood and platelet transfusions, and life-threatening infections while in the fight against cancer. Few give in to depression, while few find whole new meaning in life. Some inspire others with their stories, while some become a part of the cancer community and try to give back love, support, donations and all that they can.
Rare cases of cancer, ovarian cancer, lung cancer and childhood cancer survival stories are some such stories that find their spot of the medical section of any newspapers on a given day. All these stories have something to give to the readers. It’s the optimism that they radiate upon the readers saying if they can live though cancer, so can the non survivors with better chances of living normal lives they are given. If a cancer survivor has anything to say to us it is that with constant fighting and belief that they will get better, then they will. To many, fighting the disease has to do with proper therapy but more than that it involves the right attitude in dealing with the new lifestyle, accepting the change. By receiving all the support, care and love from loved ones and by not giving heed to the stigma it is possible to fight the disease and even win the war against it.