I was diagnosed with my first cancer in 1993. At that time the term ‘cancer survivor’ was in its youth. Prior to that, I was widowed in my mid-twenties. I remember that in the newspaper, my husband’s obituary stated, “…he is survived by his parents, his wife and daughter.” Somehow I got lost in the wording there as well. But I was a survivor before I was a survivor, if you know what I mean.
What is a Survivor?
According to Dictionary.com the term survivor is defined:
1. a person or thing that survives.
2. Law. the one of two or more designated persons, as joint tenants or others having a joint interest, who outlives the other or others.
3. a person who continues to function or prosper in spite of opposition, hardship, or setbacks.
The origin of the word from the Etymology online dictionary:
c.1500, in the legal sense of “one who outlives another,” agent noun from survive. Meaning “one who has a knack for pulling through adversity” is attested from 1971. Survivor syndrome is first recorded 1968.
My favorite is from the ‘Urban Dictionary’ where survivor is defined as:
The greatest TV Show… since… well… ever. I play Survivor online… does that make me a loser?
The History of the term Cancer Survivor
In 1985, The New England Journal of Medicine published Dr. Fitzhugh Mullan’s poignant account of his own diagnosis and treatment for cancer. In that article, Dr. Mullan defined three primary seasons of cancer survivorship, which he termed “acute survivorship,” “extended survivorship,” and “permanent survivorship” Continue Reading…