Cancer Support Groups.
While you probably get support from friends, family, and medical professionals, support groups offer something unique: the ability to talk about your condition with those who have had similar experiences.
Many hospitals, cancer centers, community groups, and schools host cancer support groups. Ways to connect with these groups include:
- Asking your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, social worker, religious leader or psychologist for a recommendation
- Searching the internet for online support, such as email lists, newsgroups, chat rooms, blogs and social networking sites
- Contacting local community centers, libraries, or religious centers in your area
- Asking others with the same condition for suggestions
- Contact a state or national organization devoted to your disease, condition or situation
Support groups may be led by a medical or mental health professional, but could also be led by anyone interested in the condition. Do some research to see who is leading, who is included, and who is sponsoring the group.
Potential benefits of participating in support groups may include:
- The opportunity to talk openly and honestly about your feelings
- Knowing that you’re not alone in what you’re going through
- Improving your coping skills and sense of adjustment
- Reducing distress, depression, anxiety or fatigue
- Developing a clearer understanding of what to expect
- Getting advice or information about treatment options
- Comparing notes about resources and recent research
Considering a group.
Support groups are plentiful and easy to find, but finding the right one for you may take a little time and consideration. Some focus on one specific type of cancer or treatment, and others may be limited to specific demographics and culture, such as groups for children. Some groups are educational and structured, but others may be more free-flowing. Groups can meet in-person, online or over the telephone.
Each type of group offers a different experience, but no matter the format, you will find people with experiences like yours. You may want to try out a few different kinds of support groups to find the one that works for you.
If it seems that support groups aren’t working for you, talk to your doctor about other options, such as individual counseling.