What is Survivorship?
In a sentence, survivorship is living with and beyond cancer. Survivorship covers the physical, psychosocial, and economic issues of cancer, from diagnosis until the end of life. Caregivers, family members and anyone else impacted by cancer is also a survivor.
Survivorship focuses on the health and life of a person with cancer beyond the diagnosis and treatment phases. Survivorship includes issues related to the ability to get health care and follow-up treatment, late effects of treatment, second cancers, and quality of life. Therefore, this site has been created by the CancerBRIDGES team as a resource for those who have lived with/through cancer, their families, and others who may be interested in information on being a cancer survivor in Alberta.
In addition to the term Survivorship, there are a number of different definitions and descriptions used when describing the trajectory of a cancer journey and many people when faced with a cancer diagnosis have a hard time figuring out where they are and what resources are available to them. Below are the definitions used on this website, the reason why we choose to use these definitions and how they relate to survivorship.
What is a Cancer Survivor?
The term “cancer survivor” has been used in a variety of different ways. Philosophically, anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer is a survivor – from the time of diagnosis and for the balance of life. Using this definition caregivers and family members are also cancer survivors. Some people on long term treatment or palliative care do not feel like classifying themselves as survivors, however, it is our view that since they are alive they are survivors and can benefit from the resources available on this website.
What is a Cancer Patient?
In general, this term describes someone who is on active treatment and visiting a cancer treatment centre on a regular basis, however, a cancer patient is also a cancer survivor. When the term cancer “patient” is used on this website it identifies that the resources are best suited for people on active treatments but this does not preclude them from taking advantage of resources for “survivors” and visa versa.