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LANSING, Mich. – Michigan is home to an estimated 526,100 cancer survivors, and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is joining in the national day of recognition to celebrate them and the more than 15.5 million cancer survivors nationwide.
“A person is a cancer survivor from the time of diagnosis through the remainder of their life,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive of MDHHS. “Due to advances in screening, early detection, and treatment, many people are living longer after a cancer diagnosis. Having support and living as healthy as you can during and after treatment help improve quality of life.”
With the growing number of survivors, more attention is being focused on the quality of life for people receiving a cancer diagnosis and treatment. There are many different types of treatment and they can be used alone or in combination depending on the cancer. Survivorship involves being on the lookout for and managing the side effects of cancer treatments, being watchful for secondary cancers, and navigating the impact of cancer on a survivor’s family members, friends, and caregivers.
Cancer survivors are at greater risk for recurrence and for developing second or different cancers due to a number of factors including the effects of treatment, underlying personal and family history, lifestyle choices, and risk factors that contributed to the first cancer.
Survivorship care means looking after peoples’ mental and physical health, whether or not they are free of cancer, continuing to live with a manageable cancer, or possibly handling end of life issues. It also is important to consider the ongoing psychosocial, spiritual, and financial challenges people will likely face.
People with lower incomes, and little or no health insurance. may be faced with ongoing financial issues. Nutritional resources like fruits and vegetables can promote health, as can access to safe places to be physically active.
To improve health, survival, and quality of life after a cancer diagnosis:
- Seek out survivorship resources
- Quit tobacco – smoking and other tobacco products increase your risk for cancer recurrence and additional cancers. Call the Michigan Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669).
- Be active and strive to maintain a healthy diet and weight.
- Discuss follow-up care with your health care provider.
Talk to your doctor about cancer prevention, detection and the cancer screening that may be right for you. To learn about cancer control and prevention in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/cancer.