Celebrating cancer survival together

Celebrating cancer survival together

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An exterior view of the Stony Brook University Cancer Center. Photo from SBU

By L. Reuven Pasternak, MD

Thanks to major advances in cancer prevention, early detection and treatment, many patients are enjoying longer lives and maintaining their quality of life, as the number of cancer survivors grows.

Anyone living with a history of cancer — from the moment of diagnosis through the remainder of life — is a cancer survivor, according to the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation. In the United States alone, there are more than 14 million cancer survivors. That’s cause for celebration, and for the past 10 years, that’s exactly what we’ve been doing at Stony Brook University Cancer Center at our annual National Cancer Survivors Day event.

Stony Brook’s 11th annual celebration will take place on Sunday, June 14, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Cancer Center, and will feature a talk about the Cancer Survivorship Movement by inspirational speaker Doug Ulman. A three-time cancer survivor and a globally recognized cancer advocate, Ulman, with his family, founded the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to supporting, educating and connecting young adults who are affected by cancer. Ulman is also known for his work at LIVESTRONG and now as president and CEO of Pelotonia.

All cancer survivors are invited, whether they were treated at Stony Brook or not. In addition to Ulman’s talk, attendees can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, musical entertainment and light refreshments. They can also participate in the very moving Parade of Survivors. To register, visit www.cancer.stonybrookmedicine.edu/registration or call 631-444-4000.

Cancer Center staff members actively partake in the day’s events and look forward to reconnecting with patients. It’s gratifying for them to see the strides these survivors have made throughout the years to lead normal and productive lives after a cancer diagnosis.

National Cancer Survivors Day is just one of a number of ways Stony Brook reaches out to the community. The Cancer Center has created many initiatives and programs to help make life a little easier for patients with cancer, including support groups, cancer prevention screenings and the School Intervention and Re-Entry Program for pediatric patients.

As a leading provider of cancer services in Suffolk County, Stony Brook is constructing a state-of-the-art Medical and Research Translation (MART) building that will focus on cancer research and advanced imaging and serve as the home of our new Cancer Center. Located on the Stony Brook Medicine campus, this 245,000-square-foot facility will allow scientists and physicians to work side by side to research and discover new cancer treatments and technology.

The MART will double Stony Brook’s capacity for outpatient cancer services and enhance all cancer care for Long Island and beyond. And once it is completed in 2016, we’ll have one more reason to celebrate life after a cancer diagnosis.

L. Reuven Pasternak, MD, is the CEO of Stony Brook University Hospital and vice president for health systems, Stony Brook Medicine.