Patients with Cancer Share How They Celebrate Milestones

CURE® surveyed its audience to learn how they celebrate milestones in their experiences with cancer, if they do at all. Here’s what they have to say.

There can be a lot of milestones in a person's experience with cancer, whether it is the last day of chemotherapy or anniversaries of being cancer free (also known as cancerversaries).

Robin Roberts, for example, took a week off of “Good Morning America” to celebrate her partner, Amber Laign, completing radiation treatment for breast cancer.

However, some patients with cancer have spoken about milestones giving them anxiety and feeling uncomfortable celebrating.

CURE® contributor Chelsey Gomez, for example, wrote that while she fully supports other people celebrating their cancerversaries, she doesn’t enjoy celebrating hers as the reminder makes her feel numb.

In a recent #CureConnect question, we asked the CURE® audience on social media, “Do you celebrate milestones in your cancer journey? If not, why not? If you do, what milestones do you celebrate and how?”

“I celebrate that I have survived prostate cancer, being able to deal with the long-term effects which have changed my life. I make every day even more important (now) that I'm still here to enjoy celebrations with my family, and friends and on special holidays, birthdays and family reunions. A milestone for me is surviving to celebrate 76 years. When I received the news of my cancer, I thought it was the end.” — Jon D.

“I don’t celebrate, but I acknowledge. The one that means the most to me is the date of the operation I had when I finally became operable. That surgery put me on a path to live longer (and) gave me the ability to play whack-a-mole with (the) tumors. So that’s my special cancer day. I also acknowledge (the day of the) diagnosis but that’s a sad day for me.” — Yvette P., a woman living with stage 4 colorectal cancer.

“Absolutely yes! Cancer changes everything but has helped me to be more joyful and grateful! It is nice to put this out there...” – a four-year survivor of cancer


“Yes! Every day I wake up I say a gratitude prayer. Sept. 26 will be my three-year diagnosis (anniversary), yet I’m still here and so grateful.” —Teresa E.

“Yes, the day I was diagnosed is a day that I treat myself to a nice meal at my favorite restaurant; the day I had my unilateral mastectomy I buy a piece of jewelry; and the day I finished chemo my family buys me bouquets of flowers.”— Felicia Robinson, a breast cancer survivor and author of “Surviving Pink.”

MORE: Book Corner: Discussing 'Surviving Pink' and Facing Breast Cancer With Hope

“Yes. (I) celebrate (the) day of diagnosis, end of chemo and remission day!”— Joy R., a breast cancer survivor.

“Every year we celebrate ‘Lungleavin Day’ on Feb. 2, the anniversary of the day I lost my lung due to mesothelioma. We use the occasion as a fundraiser for Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation and to bring awareness to this rare cancer. We've raised over $35,000 to date. — Heather Von St James.

“Sept. 21 marked the day 12 years ago that I had 78% of my liver removed (due to) cholangiocarcinoma. I was given six months to live in 2010 and then sought out a second opinion and found my amazing surgeon who saved my life. Five recurrences with eight tumors later, I’m still here! We celebrate this day by everyone in our family sending my surgeon a thank you note for giving me the gift of time” — Lisa C.

Want to hear more thoughts from people who have been impacted by cancer? Check out our blog page, which is updated daily with insights from patients with cancer, survivors and their caregivers.

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