This issue of Cancer Care Today focuses on cancer survivorship. In the late 1980s, a courageous group of cancer survivors first gathered in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to form an organization called the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS). This group was led by Dr. Fitz Hugh Mullan, a testicular cancer survivor, who had published a landmark 1985 article in The New England Journal of Medicine entitled “The Seasons of Survival: Reflections of a Physician with Cancer.” This was the first medical and public redefinition of the term “survivorship” to not only include patients who were free of disease at five years from their cancer diagnosis but also, in fact, define cancer survivorship as beginning at diagnosis and continuing through the balance of life. This definition of survivorship has been widely accepted and sometimes extended to include family and loved ones as well — all of whom will forever thereafter see their world though a different perspective — that being the world of cancer survivorship.
I was personally privileged to spend five years as the president and chairman of the board of NCCS. This experience has forever made me a firm advocate for the needs of all cancer patients and their loved ones. This issue of Cancer Care Today will tell the story of your local cancer community and Minnesota Oncology’s work to support cancer survivors during active treatment and throughout their lives.
Dean Gesme, MD