Problems can arise when people have lengthy and passionate discussions without realizing they are talking about two (or more) different things. So to keep us all on the same page, periodically I will provide a refresher post about the basic tenets of Healthy Survivorship.
What are we talking about when we say "Healthy Survivor" or "Healthy Survivorship"?
Survivor: From the moment of diagnosis and for the balance of life, an individual diagnosed with cancer is a survivor (National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, 1986). In other words, if you have ever had a cancer diagnosis and you are still alive, you are a survivor.
Healthy Survivor: A survivor who (1) gets good care and (2) lives as fully as possible is a Healthy Survivor. (W.S. Harpham, MD, 1992)
Survivorship: Anything having to do with life after a cancer diagnosis. In a broader medical sense, survivorship applies to anything having to do with life after the diagnosis of any medical challenge, be it a life-altering injury or a condition (for example, hypercholesterolemia) that puts you at risk of future medical problems.
Healthy Survivorship: Anything having to do with getting good care and/or living as fully as possible.
The keys to becoming a Healthy Survivor and experiencing Healthy Survivorship are that you are
- making your world the best it can be.
- adjusting to your world as best you can.
- hoping for a better tomorrow.