On December 23, 1971, a beleaguered President Richard Nixon declared war on cancer by signing the National Cancer Act. Research ignited, and the world’s most feared disease was suddenly survivable. Yet millions with a cancer history remained in the shadows: shunned, discriminated against, forgotten.
A group of 23 men and women – all with a personal connection to cancer – came together in 1986 for a weekend summit with one goal: not to cure the disease, but to destroy its myths. The creation of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS) that weekend changed everything for American cancer survivors. Their lesson still rings true: in order to improve the future, we must learn from the past.
From this grassroots beginning
s, the determination of the NCCS founders and the growing numbers of supporters brought their cause into sharp national focus. They succeeded in banning discrimination, ushered in survivor healthcare reform, and provided researchers with invaluable knowledge about long-term treatment impacts.
From Shadows to Life: A Biography of the Cancer Survivorship Movement is part medical history, part inspirational biography. It is the story of a social movement that continues to improve life for millions around the world.