June Observances: National Cancer Survivors Day and Immunotherapy Month

Friends and family of mesothelioma survivors gather at a park to celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day in June 2022.

On June 05, 2022, hundreds of communities will celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day® (NCSD). This day provides an opportunity for people affected by cancer to connect, celebrate victories and support each other. As cancer treatment advances continue, there may be more cause for celebration.

June is also Immunotherapy Month. Over the past decade, this emerging treatment has offered some patients new and better treatment options. Advances in immunotherapy may offer hope to those affected by cancer. This month, there are many ways to celebrate cancer survivors and immunotherapy advances.

National Cancer Survivors Day and Mesothelioma

Since 1988, the first Sunday in June has been set aside to honor people affected by cancer, including mesothelioma. NCSD events throughout the country recognize survivors and support those with recent diagnoses. Each year on NCSD, advocates, family and friends gather to offer services, raise awareness and spread information.

How to Celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day

  • Attend a local or virtual NCSD event
  • Celebrate privately with family and friends
  • Host and register an event with NCSD
  • Make a tax-deductible donation to the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation
  • Raise online awareness by researching or sharing information
  • Use the hashtag #NationalCancerSurvivorsDay

NCSD celebrations have art exhibits, carnivals, contests, parades, rallies and speeches. The events include virtual gatherings, which immunocompromised cancer survivors may prefer. Each cancer survivor can decide which (if any) type of event they are comfortable attending.

Mesothelioma is among the cancers represented during NCSD. Some survivors of mesothelioma use their voices to raise awareness about this disease. Their survivorship may also inspire and support recently diagnosed patients. Survivor Heather Von St. James has been supporting the mesothelioma community for more than a decade.

In recent years, some studies have reported improvements in mesothelioma survival. These improvements may stem from optimized treatments developed through clinical trials. One such treatment is immunotherapy.

Immunotherapy Month and Treatment Advances

Immunotherapy Month celebrates a notable cancer treatment advance. Each June, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) organizes this event for various reasons. SITC aims to raise awareness about cancer immunotherapy. As part of that goal, SITC provides educational opportunities for clinicians, patients and researchers. The organization offers a full calendar of events, both online and in-person.

How to Celebrate Immunotherapy Month

  • Attend a SITC educational program
  • Become a SITC member or create a free account
  • Get active on social media platforms, such as Twitter
  • Join the Cancer Immunotherapy CONNECT Open Forum
  • Send a video clip to SITC about the importance of curing cancer
  • Support immunotherapy research by donating to Forward Fund

Immunotherapy uses various approaches to empower the immune system to fight cancer. Some immunotherapies allow immune cells to recognize and attack cancer cells. For qualified patients, immunotherapy can be a gentler and more effective option than chemotherapy. Research into immunotherapy as a mesothelioma treatment is ongoing.

A recent study highlighted the success of immunotherapy treatment for mesothelioma. The study investigated two drugs, Opdivo® (nivolumab) and Yervoy® (ipilimumab), in patients with pleural mesothelioma. Compared to chemotherapy, these immunotherapy drugs improved mesothelioma patients’ quality of life and survival.

This June, SITC commemorates this immunotherapy advance and others like it. At the same time, NCSD celebrates people affected by cancer and their supporters. In the fight against cancer, recognizing progress is an important aspect of fostering hope.