June 1st marked the beginning of National Cancer Survivor Month: 30 days to celebrate the life and the strength of more than 15 million cancer survivors in the United States. Advances in the detection and treatment of cancer have resulted in a dramatically increased rate of survivorship in recent decades. New therapies and even cures for various types of cancer have turned “dying from cancer” into “living with cancer.” This year is the 33rd consecutive year of this celebration of life. At Doran & Murphy, we have been honored to work with and for some of the strongest and most courageous cancer patients and families, fighting to protect their rights and give relief during what is one of life’s most difficult situations.
Who is a Survivor?
The National Cancer Institute defines a survivor as: “One who remains alive and continues to function during and after overcoming a serious hardship or life-threatening disease. In cancer, a person is considered to be a survivor from the time of diagnosis until the end of life.” Being a survivor is not just about physically fighting and beating cancer. It encompasses all that it means to be a survivor: the emotional triumphs and the spiritual healing. Yet, all of this could not be accomplished without a community of supporters, from the doctors and nurses, to family, friends, and neighbors who work tirelessly in concert with the cancer patient to face the challenges head-on, fight through the struggles, and come out stronger on the other side.
A recent report published by the American Cancer Society marked three key priority areas for improving long-term quality of life:
- Implementing routine needs assessment of survivors and caregivers
- Facilitating personalized information and referrals from diagnosis onward
- Supporting the implementation of new care methods and interventions
Recent advances in cancer treatment have led to promising new trends, indicating that by 2030, the United States is likely to be home to more than 20 million survivors. One recent cancer study suggests that when it comes to the future of cancer research and treatment “creative new strategies are also needed to increase healthy behaviors nationwide and to more broadly apply existing cancer control knowledge across all segments of the population.”
The Human Side of Cancer
Humanity is at the center of surviving cancer. Most important about a cancer diagnosis and the journey that it begins is the love and support of family and friends. Taking the time to sit down with those closest and talk through the journey, maintaining a clear and open dialogue, taking time off from work if still employed, seeking multiple opinions, and asking questions all can assist in navigating the tough times. Most of all, know that there are countless people behind you every step of the way. The attorneys and staff at Doran and Murphy are here to help in any way we can. If you or a loved one is currently surviving cancer, call us to discuss the rights of railroad workers under the law.
 American Cancer Society. Cancer Treatment and Survivorship Facts & Figures 2019-202. Atlanta: American Cancer Society, 2019.