Finding the Right Support Group for You

by GregP_WN

Support groups are often suggested for cancer patients because it helps them deal with the wide range of emotions they experience through their diagnosis, treatment, and even remission. Even with all the resources available to you it is difficult to find the right support group. Here are some tips that may help.

Support Group

If you are unsure about seeking a support group, below are some reasons that other WhatNexter’s have joined.

I joined a support group when I felt alone and had low self-esteem. -civilwarlady, Uterine Cancer
Studies have been proven that finding a support group can help enhance your self-esteem and confidence. Support groups can improve your quality of life by providing an adequate outlet for all cycles of emotions. You will be able to interact with people who have felt isolated, lost their hair, gone through chemotherapy, and other experiences that are unique to cancer patients.

I joined a support group when I felt heavy depression. -sheryl1986, Anal Cancer, Stage II
Cancer can bring a lot of darkness, grief, and negative thoughts. It helps to know that depression is a common side effect of cancer; it helps to talk to people who are experiencing the same kind of depression.

I joined a support group when I couldn’t talk to family and friends.. -ogtxaggiemom
Cancer patients get frustrated with family and friends who cannot fully empathize with what they are going through. If you seek a support group that understands then tension on family and friends will be alleviated. Caregivers can also benefit from joining a support group away from family.

I joined a support group when I started feeling defeated. -Shedriver1,Ovarian Cancer, Stage III .
Feeling defeated and like you want to give up may be a clear sign that you should seek help. In this case, an effective forum is a one-on-one relationship with a professional counselor.

Once you know that you would like to join a support group, the next step can be deciding who you want to talk to. WhatNexter’s choose from joining a local support group, a professional counselor, or staying online and talking to others with the same diagnosis from the comfort of their own home.

I want to talk to cancer patients in my local community. -twill, Lung Cancer
If you are a person that needs physical interaction or just need somewhere to “go” during the week, a real support group in your local community may be the most beneficial. Face-to-face interactions with people can be very valuable and most effective for some. Cancer survivors often seek physical support groups.

I want to talk to a professional counselor. -lunastwilight, Breast Cancer, Stage I
Talking to a professional counselor is the right decision when you feel like you need a person trained in your type of experiences. Cancer patients and caregivers often seek professional help when dealing with serious grief

WhatNexter’s also keep in mind that online forums can be helpful for those that are shy or too tired to get out of the house. WhatNext allows you to access what you need within hour or even minutes. You can ask questions, provide answers, read firsthand insights, and easily get hooked up with people with your exact diagnosis.

How do you locate a program or service? Here is a list of resources that will help you find what you need:
- American Cancer Society offers a list of different kinds of resources that can easily be accessed through their site. They also offer a 24-hour service to provide help and support to cancer patients. Call 1-800-ACS-2345 to talk to a representative. You can be connected with Cancer Survivors Network and via the ACS website.
- CancerCare provides options for online support groups, telephone support groups, and face-to-face support groups in New York City, Long Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey.
- Sometimes it is frustrating trying to find a support group in your area. It is hard to find one website that can locate in any area. We encourage you to type “Cancer support group in [insert your city or state]” into a web browser. Adding your type of cancer is optional. You may get results to local hospitals that provide groups or even real cancer support communities in your area. From there, you can view their website and the groups and times they offer. Here is an example of one in Central Indiana.
- Local hospitals and cancer treatment centers often offer local support from counselors and social workers. Ask your doctor or nurses about these services. For more information on counseling services you may need visit the ACS website.

Whatever support group you decide is right for you, go in knowing what you want to get out of it, and hold yourself accountable to that goal. It takes a lot of courage to admit that you need help and then in turn seek that help. Are you considering joining a support group? Which of these forums do you think will be the most helpful for you? We want to hear about your experiences!

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