fight-crc-cupcakesOne perk (if there are any perks) to surviving cancer is getting another special day added to a celebration calendar. In addition to birthdays and anniversaries, many cancer survivors celebrate a “cancer-versary.” It’s a day (or a series of days) that mark significant milestones of the cancer journey.

Although many survivors celebrate at least one day of the year, there’s often confusion as to which “day” should be celebrated.

A cancer experience can include several significant dates to choose from:

“Diagnosis Day”

My physician told me that I was a cancer survivor the date of my diagnosis. So I often celebrate January 23 – the day I heard the “C” word for the first time. This is also how long I go off of when people ask me how long I’ve been a cancer survivor.

“NED Day”

Some survivors wait to celebrate the day they hear there is “No Evidence of Disease (NED).” Also, if you’ve had a recurrence, the last date you were told the cancer was gone is often a date to celebrate.

“No More Chemo” Day

Patients who’ve undergone chemotherapy may want to celebrate the day they become “unhooked” and finished chemo. (If you’ve been on chemo you know it’s a day worth celebrating!)


For some, their surgery marked an important day they always want to remember and celebrate.

Which Cancer Anniversary To Celebrate?

There is no right or wrong when it comes to picking a cancer date to celebrate. Over the years, I’ve managed to somehow celebrate them all at some point.

But if you’d rather scale it down, choose one (or two) and do a little something fun that day.

Treat yourself to dinner, call a friend who stood by your side to say “thanks,” or host a party or fundraiser. At the very least – buy yourself some new shoes.

Cancer-versaries are just like birthdays and anniversaries,  but better. They celebrate our life’s turning points, the moments that made us appreciate life’s many gifts and moved us forward.

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