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This page provides numerous cancer-related resources for health care researchers. For information about cancer types, treatment, and clinical trials, as well as links to other NCI resources, please go to the NCI homepage.


Explore key survivorship-related reports from the past 10 years that have helped shape survivorship research and practice.

Archived Resources

Championing Survivorship Science and Care Since 1996

This 2016 booklet, marking the 20th anniversary of the Office of Cancer Survivorship, provides an overview of the creation of the office and its ongoing work to improve the lives of cancer survivors and their loved ones.

This free series, which took place annually from 2003 until 2012, offered cancer survivors, their families, friends, and health care professionals practical information to help them cope with concerns and issues that arise after treatment ends. The series was a collaboration among the National Cancer Institute, LIVESTRONG, CancerCare, the American Cancer Society, the Intercultural Cancer Council, Living Beyond Breast Cancer, and the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship.


Definitions of Cancer Survivors

There are many types of survivors, including those living with cancer and those free of cancer. All of these definitions begin at the time of diagnosis through the balance of the survivor’s life.

Mullan F (1985). Seasons of survival: reflection of a physician with cancer. N Engl J Med;313:270–273. National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship Miller K, Merry B, Miller J. Seasons of survivorship revisited. (2008) Cancer J.; 14(6):369-74. American Cancer Society (2012) Surbone A & Tralongo, P.. (2016). Categorization of cancer survivors: why we need it. J Clin Oncol;34:3372–3374. Park ER, Peppercorn J, El-Jawahri A. (2018) Shades of Survivorship. J Natl Compr Canc Netw.;16(10):1163-1165.
  • Acute
  • Extended
  • Permanent Survival
  • From the time of diagnosis and for the balance of life
  • Acute
  • Transitional
  • Extended
    • Remission maintained
    • Cancer Free
      • Permanent
    • Living with cancer

A cancer survivor is any person who has been diagnosed with cancer, from the time of diagnosis through the balance of life.

The time from diagnosis to the end of initial treatment;
The transition from treatment to extended survival; Long-term survival. It encompasses a range of cancer experiences and trajectories, including:

  •  Living cancer-free for the remainder of life
  • Living cancer-free for many years but experiencing one or more serious, late complications of treatment
  • Living cancer-free for many years, but dying after a late recurrence
  • Living cancer-free after the first cancer is treated, but developing a second cancer
  • Living with intermittent periods of active disease requiring treatment
  •  Living with cancer continuously without a disease-free period
  • Acute
  • Chronic
  • Long Term
  • Cured
  • Patients newly diagnosed receiving active therapy with curative intent.
  • Patients who have completed active therapy with curative intent (on or off maintenance therapy).
  • Patients living with cancer.

Other relevant references on this topic include:

Marzorati, C., Riva, S., Pravettoni, G. (2017). Who is a cancer survivor? J Cancer Education; 32:228-237.

Hebdon M, Foli K, McComb S. (2015). Survivor in the cancer context: a concept analysis. J Adv Nurs.;71(8):1774-86.

Berry, LL., Davis, S., Flynn AG, Landercasper, J, Deming, KA. (2019). Is it time to reconsider the term ‘cancer survivor’. J Psychosocial Oncology; 37(4):413-426.  

Last Updated
October 14, 2021