2017 Cancer Survivorship Symposium | Day 2

These are long days, but worth every minute. The conference begins at 7 am each morning and ends at 6:30 pm. And every day is a virtual firehose of valuable information from a group a talented and dedicated medical professionals working hard every day to improve the cancer survivor rate and the quality of life for cancer survivors. As one of America’s 15+ million cancer survivors, these professionals have my deep gratitude.

Along with the main speakers there are ‘poster sessions’ that provide summaries of the cutting edge research being done in the cancer survivorship field.

Cancer Hates Exercise

One of the key themes of cancer survivorship over the past several years has been the value of exercise in cancer prevention and post-treatment survival and quality of life.

Exercise in the form of bicycling and walking has been a key element in my own cancer survival program. Since my treatment 14 years ago, I’ve ridden 27,318.28 miles [as of January 25, 2017] more than once around the earth at the equator. Along the way, I dropped 20 pounds, lowered my bad cholesterol and my blood pressure, and gained a sense of wellbeing. We created the Around the World Bicycling Challenge for anyone who wants to follow my tracks.

I ‘ll be sharing what I learned at the conference over the coming weeks but my one key takeaway so far is that surviving cancer takes a team. It takes a team of dedicated and skilled medical professionals to identify and treat our cancers.

Once our treatment is completed, we still need a support team as we move into the next phase of our cancer journeys. One of the CJF’s missions is to provide the information survivors need to create their teams, and we are building out our website resources with that information.

Your Cancer Survivor Care Plan

Every cancer survivor needs a future care plan in hand as the finish their active treatment, but less than 20% of cancer patients receive one. This is a key finding and is the reason behind the creation of the Cancer Survivorship Symposium.

The cancer medical community is working hard on developing standard plans. There is no one standard at the moment, but the community is working hard in development. Medical organizations understand the need and have made these plans a requirement. We here at the CJF will be researching this area and will  provide links to information and templates.

Cancer Survivors Must Play Their Role

It takes a team to survive cancer and the survivor is a key part of that team. We need to follow the advice we receive from our care team. Research clearly shows that survivors too often fail to make the lifestyle changes needed to make the care effective. Change is always difficult, but the stakes are really high!

Exercise is a key survival factor. It can seem impossible to reach the target exercise goal but you can do it. We’re going to provide some simple tools here on the website over the next six months.

What’s Your Biggest Cancer Survivorship Challenge?

Let us know what your biggest challenge is and we’ll feed that information back to the cancer treatment community. Just jot a quick note in the comment box below.