There are nearly 17 million cancer survivors in the United States. This number continues to grow as we discover better ways to diagnose and treat cancer. The word “survivor” means different things to different people, but whether you use the word “survivor” or prefer a word like “warrior,” the idea is the same.

National Cancer Survivors Day is held annually on the first Sunday in June. On this day, communities around the world come together to recognize cancer survivors. It’s also a time to raise awareness about the challenges of survivorship.

Many survivors say that although they were relieved when treatment ends, it was hard to transition to a new way of life. It was like entering another world where they have to adjust to new feelings, new problems, changes in support, and different ways of looking at the world.

One of the hardest things after treatment is not knowing what happens next. Those who have gone through cancer treatment describe the first few months as a time of change. It’s not so much “getting back to normal” as it is finding out what’s normal for you now. People often say that life has new meaning or that they look at things differently.

“During treatment, I was focused on being strong for my family and friends, and fighting to overcome my cancer”, says Candice Sanders, Executive Director of Cancer Support Community – CA Central Coast an Ovarian Cancer survivor. “I was not prepared for the emotions that arose in survivorship. Once the dust settles, you really begin to process what you just went through and this is when I allowed my emotions to come to the surface. I was left feeling unfocused and afraid, everyone around me was rejoicing and expecting me to get back to normal. I was just trying to wrap my head around what just happened to me, and to figure out what my future looked like,” remarked Sanders.

“Fortunately, there are ways to show your support. At the Cancer Support Community, we believe that community is stronger than cancer. Whether you have personally been affected by cancer or simply want to help others on their survivorship journeys, your support can make a positive difference.

One of the best ways to deal with these emotions is to connect with people who are going through the same experience. Cancer survivors and caregivers can be a powerful source of support for one another. If you or someone you love has been touched by cancer, join Cancer Support Community’s discussion boards to connect with others like you. These discussion boards are available on, CSC’s private online platform for cancer patients and caregivers. MyLifeLine offers a safe place where people can make vital social connections necessary for daily practical support and emotional healing.

To find out ways to get involved, or to learn more about Cancer Support Community’s free programs, please contact them at (805) 238-4411, visit them at 1051 Las Tablas Road in Templeton, or email [email protected].