June is Cancer Survivor Awareness Month. Battles are being won as the war against cancer continues.
- Over 60% of Canadians diagnosed with cancer are expected to survive for 5 years or more after a cancer diagnosis (Canadian Cancer Society)⠀
- Cancer death rates have been declining since 1988 among men, and since the mid-1990s among women (Government of Canada, Canadian Cancer Statistics)⠀
- Cancer mortality rates are decreasing more than 2% per year for lung, colorectal, prostate and oral cancers in males; breast and ovarian cancers in females; and Hodgkin disease and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, stomach cancer, and larynx cancer in males and females (Government of Canada, Canadian Caner Statistics)⠀
My unique vantage of being both a cancer survivor and a professional working with cancer patients has offered me the opportunity to bear witness to some common threads that weave many survivors together.
Although not exhaustive, I feel that these are the most constant traits of cancer survivors that I see.
3 Common Characteristics of a Cancer Survivor
1. A resolve to make necessary changes in diet and lifestyle
Many cancer survivors change their diet to include whole, plant-based foods and eliminate processed, pro-inflammatory foods because they understanding that what they eat can either enhance health or detract from it.
Supplements to support health are often included along with dietary changes.
The importance of proper sleep, exercise and mindfulness is appreciated and strived for within the lives of many cancer survivors.
Most cancer survivors have asked questions, considered many avenues of care and have taken an active role in determining the cancer protocol that feels right for them. Many cancer survivors have taken an integrative approach to their care including modalities such as yoga and meditation in to their cancer protocol.
3. A belief that their body can heal
Survivors tend to have a strong belief that given the proper tools their bodies can overcome and heal from cancer. Once established, a common trait of survivors is the firm belief that their protocol will be successful.
Life after a cancer diagnosis is different. As with any profound event we experience, cancer resets the framework for us moving forward. But we do. We move forward.
We are survivors.