14.5 Million Cancer Survivors in the US, one day helps to unite them all
Stony Brook, NY, June 7, 2016 – More than 350 people, including some 100 cancer survivors, came together to celebrate survivorship and life with their families, friends and caregivers at Stony Brook University Cancer Center’s annual National Cancer Survivors Day. And the rain did not dampen the messages of strength, hope, and inspiration from survivors ranging from the very young to those in their golden years.
Some of those messages came from former concert pianist, Matthew Zachary, the keynote speaker at this year’s event. Zachary was diagnosed with brain cancer at the age of 21 and was told he had six months to live.
“So much has changed regarding the resources are available,” said Zachary, who later founded the organization STUPID CANCER—the largest charity that addresses young adult cancer patients. “I was alone and afraid, which made me very depressed and at the time there wasn’t a cancer community like there is now, and that’s why it’s important to celebrate today.”
And Linda Bily, Cancer Patient Advocacy & Community Outreach Coordinator, Stony Brook University Cancer Center, agrees.
“It’s important for everyone to know that there are people who will support you in your journey when you are going through cancer treatment,” said Bily, “and that cancer is not a death sentence anymore; 20 years ago people thought it was a death sentence, but if cancer is detected early enough, you can get treated and go on to live normal life.”
Dr. Yusuf Hannun also shared messages of inspiration, reminding participates that there are progress being made in cancer care. “We are making strides every day,” said Yusuf A. Hannun, MD, Director, Stony Brook University Cancer Center, Vice Dean, Cancer Medicine, and the Joel Strum Kenny Professor of Cancer Research, “we can better diagnose cancer, we better understand it, we have better treatments and resources, and I believe we are pushing across all fronts when it comes to cancer medicine.”
National Cancer Survivors Day is an annual event that is celebrated in communities across the country and held on the first Sunday in June. This year marks the twelfth year that the Stony Brook Cancer Center hosted the festivities. It is the one day each year when people around the world join together to honor cancer survivors.
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About Stony Brook University Cancer Center:
Stony Brook University Cancer Center is Suffolk County’s cancer care leader and a leader in education and research. With more than 20,000 inpatient and outpatient visits annually, the Cancer Center includes 12 multidisciplinary teams: Breast Cancer; Colorectal Cancer; Gynecologic Oncology; Head, Neck and Thyroid Oncology; Lung Cancer; Melanoma; Neurologic Oncology; Orthopaedic Oncology and Sarcoma; Pediatric Hematology/Oncology; Stem Cell Transplantation and Hematologic Malignancy; Upper Gastrointestinal Oncology; and Urologic Oncology. The cancer program is accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer as a Teaching Hospital Cancer Program and received the Commission’s Outstanding Achievement Award. The Carol M. Baldwin Breast Care Center is the first center in New York State to be accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers. To learn more, visit www.cancer.stonybrookmedicine.edu.