The National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS) celebrated its 35th anniversary on October 26, 2021 – a day to reflect on nearly four decades of making a difference in the lives of cancer patients and survivors.

In 1986, 23 individuals, from a range of backgrounds, all with a connection to cancer set out to replace “cancer victim” with “cancer survivor.” With the informed patient at the heart of our mission, our founders quickly established NCCS as the go-to organization for addressing the physiological, psychosocial, and economical issues that accompany a cancer diagnosis.

NCCS’s work began by contributing to the literature and evidence base for quality cancer care, including doctor-patient communication, survivors’ rights, and how to be an informed and knowledgeable health care consumer. We played a key role in establishing the Office of Cancer Survivorship at the National Cancer Institute, dedicated to helping survivors live longer and better.

Today, our definition of survivor includes family, friends, and caregivers, from the time of diagnosis through the rest of life. NCCS continues to fight for quality cancer care, access to care, and health equity. We’ve established the Cancer Policy and Advocacy Team (CPAT) for survivors and caregivers to learn about pressing policy issues that affect cancer care, so they may successfully engage in public policy. We’re also proud to lead the way to a better survivor experience through our patient-led initiative, Elevating Survivorship. Through Elevate, NCCS and survivors highlight gaps in survivorship care to improve it at the local level and educate audiences about the need for survivorship care. We conduct research via our 2021 State of Survivorship Survey to delve into the cancer patient and survivor journey from a range of perspectives and to better understand how we can support our mission to advocate for quality care for all.

Our founders’ vision was to empower and educate people on all issues related to living with, through, and beyond a cancer diagnosis. Cancer survivorship was forever transformed – for the better – because of their vision and tenacity.