There was once a time when patients who had been diagnosed with cancer were discussed in whispers, and they were generally expected to stay out of the public eye and to remain at home, where they would die quietly and out of sight. Those days are long gone. Today cancer patients are praised for their courage and encouraged and applauded through every step of their journey, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the many groups that have been established for the sole purpose of providing cancer support to both patients and their families and caregivers.
Cancer support groups provide patients and their community with a unique resource. They are generally made up of people who have shared or are currently sharing the same type of experience, though individual groups may identify themselves in terms of the type of cancer that has been diagnosed or the specific issues that are being addressed. Some are specifically designed to provide an outlet for the person who is suffering from the disease, but there are also cancer support groups for family members and caregivers. Some groups exist specifically to provide an outlet for the grief of those left behind after a cancer patient has died.
Cancer support groups can meet in a variety of ways, including in person or online. In some cases they exist strictly as community boards, where people can post their fears, their concerns, or their questions and be certain that somebody else who has already been through the same situation or who has had to find an answer to the same question in the past will post back a response or an answer. Sometimes all it takes is some encouraging words or sympathy from somebody who truly understands to make a friend or family member feel better.
Ask About Cancer Support Groups at Medical and Cancer Treatment Facilities
If you are a person who has been diagnosed with cancer, or the friend, family member or caregiver of a cancer patient, finding support programs is easier than you think. Most medical facilities and clinics that provide cancer treatments are able to provide you with a number of options for different types of support groups, and your cancer specialist or his staff will likely be aware of a number of good ones as well. Once you are open to the idea of joining a support network you will likely start hearing ads on the radio or on television that you never noticed before, publicizing meeting times and places as well as events. It is also a good idea to be open with your friends and family if you are looking for one of these groups. It is the rare person who has not had somebody in their life touched by cancer, and that means that there is a good chance that your immediate network will be able to provide you with valuable information.
Try Online Cancer Support Groups
Support is also available through a number of well-known national organizations, including the American Cancer Society, which has established the Cancer Survivors Network specifically to allow cancer patients to create an online space in which they can share their own experience and connect with others. The Cancer Support Community is another invaluable resource, providing both education and local affiliates to help people connect with each other both online and within their own community.
List of Cancer Support Groups
Find the Support Programs You Need
What cancer support groups have been helpful to you?
Check out our list of cancer support groups and share groups that have helped you with the community.