Friday, November 4, 2011

The Importance of Cancer Support Groups

Please welcome today's guest blogger, David Haas. 

The Importance of Cancer Support Groups

Cancer is one of the scariest words in any language. Even with a support network of friends and family, fighting cancer can feel like one of the loneliest battles a person can undertake. This is in part because only someone who has had cancer can truly relate. Cancer survivor networks allow the person with cancer to talk to someone who understands what they are going through.
Although friends and family mean well, people with cancer often feel a need to discuss what they are going through and what they will be going through with someone who knows. Cancer survivor networks offer that information from people who have been there. There are many ways for people with cancer to find a support group. For those who feel like getting out and meeting people face to face, many cities and towns have groups not only for people with cancer, but for their families too. Doctors often know of support groups and can recommend a group.

For those who either cannot or choose to not get out and meet people, there are many discussion boards and websites that offer support. These websites usually have a place for family members so that they can get support for the fears and feelings they have, as well as learning what they can do to support the patient. The American Cancer Society hosts a website that has discussion boards for nearly every kind of cancer. If a patient is suffering from breast cancer, there are many different links that offer guidance and support for patients going through treatment. The American Cancer Society website lists support groups for cancers whether it is a common cancer like breast cancer or a rare disease like mesothelioma.

Support groups can be an important part of fighting cancer. Support groups can help patients make it through the physical trials, such as pain and fatigue. Support groups can also help deal with the psychological aspects of dealing with cancer by offering emotional and stress support. Studies have found the belonging to a support group can reduce anxiety and depression. These groups can also help the patient while undergoing treatment, and patients tend to cope better with all of the issues of treatment by understanding they are not the only ones to go through those issues.

Belonging to a cancer support group can be instrumental in fighting cancer. These support groups give the patient a sense that they are not alone in their battle, and it gives them a belief that the battle can be won.

Thanks so much for sharing this valuable information. As a breast cancer survivor, I know the importance of not just family support, but support from other survivors. After I was diagnosed, the mother of one of my daughter's friends volunteered to go with me for my first chemo treatment. Before that day, we were merely acquaintances. But we shared a common bond. Cancer. She'd come through the other side of the same dark tunnel I was about to enter. And she knew what I was feeling while my family knew only what I was willing to share.
If you're fighting cancer, remember you don't have to fight alone. There are support groups out there.


  1. Valuable information. Thank you. Even though I don't have this dreaded disease, I never know that I won't one day. I pray not, but only God knows what's in my future.

  2. Thank you for this valuable information. As the mother of a cancer survivor, I'm very grateful for all those who helped her along the way. I wish every patient could find the same level of support.

  3. Good information, David. I personally never felt the need to reach out to a support group, as I have a built in group. But I recall breaking down and crying the morning I went for my first radiation treatment. (I never did figure out why I cried then after marching through chemo) Immediately, the staff had a councilor there to speak to me and a list of groups I could join. The docs and medical personnel understand the benefit, and are happy to give you the info if there is a need.

  4. Mac,
    The hospital where I work and had my chemo offered a program called look good, feel better. They taught you how to apply makeup to hide missing lashes, eyebrows and how to wear wigs and tie scarves. I never attended. I never liked seeing women with painted on brows. they always look perpetually surprised. I just wore my make up the same way and used a brownish mascara to thicken the few brows I had left.
    I wore wigs to work but went bald at home. But I had a supportive and loving husband who never made me feel bald or ugly. In fact, after going bald, we went to the beach. At night, we'd go out and sit in chairs and watch the waves. I wore my wig because of all the people we passed going to and from the beach. The wind was blowing pretty good and it felt good blowing through the wig. It cooled my hot scalp. I said something about it to my husband, and the goofball started singing "Wind beneath my Wig" to the tune of Wind beneath my Wings.

    I didn't even know he knew Bet Midler songs. lol!