Bringing Together People Affected By Cancer For Extra Support
Cancer support groups help bring together people affected by cancer to help them manage the challenges they may face. They can provide a safe place for people to get together and support each other, share ideas, get extra information and learn coping skills in a non-judgmental environment.
Support groups may also engage in advocacy, practical support and social activities. Support groups can meet at locations and times that suit their members, including online. They may have a specific cancer focus such as prostate or breast cancer, or can be open to people affected by any type of cancer.
Cancer Council can help you connect to local support groups in your local area. Get in touch with your local Cancer Council or call 13 11 20.
Prostate Cancer Support Group For Gay Men
The UCSF Prostate Cancer Support Group for Gay Men is offered as a place for gay men and their partners to exchange information, support each other and improve symptom management. It is open to UCSF patients and also to the community.
Location: Online. Please contact us for information and availability. Meetings: First and third Monday of the month, 6 7:30 p.m.Contact: Vittorio Comelli, 476-0468 ext. 1 or
Where To Find A Support Group
Many hospitals, cancer centers, community groups, and schools offer cancer support groups. Here are some ways to find groups near you:
- Ask your social worker to suggest groups.
- Talk to other patients who have tried support groups.
- Do an online search for groups. Or go to the NCI database Organizations that Offer Cancer Support Services for suggestions.
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Support For Young Women
Just as men with breast cancer have unique needs, young women with breast cancer face a number of issues unique to young women. And as with men, there are many ways in which the disease can be different.
Young women are more likely to have aggressive tumorstumors which are hormone receptor negative and have a worse prognosis overall. Treatments, in turn, often differ, with options such as chemotherapy playing a larger role with metastatic breast cancer than for older women with the disease.
Finding a support community with other young people can be very helpful. Some options include:
- Young Survival Coalition is an organization dedicated to women who are age 40 or younger coping with breast cancer.
- Stupid Cancer is a group of young adults with any type of cancer. It is very active in supporting people with needs unique to young survivors.
What Are The Different Types Of Support Groups
Support groups vary in focus:
- Some groups mainly provide information and education .
- Other groups focus on emotional support. These groups encourage people to share their feelings.
Both types of support groups play a role in the healing process after a breast cancer diagnosis.
Some support groups are led by professionals. Others are more informal and take place in churches or homes. Some may include complementary therapies, such as meditation, in their sessions.
You may need to attend a support group a few times before you feel comfortable sharing with others or asking questions.
Support groups usually meet weekly or monthly.
You may have to try more than one support group to find one thats right for you.
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Finding A Support Group
No support group model is right for everyone. Find one thats right for you.
Most support groups are tailored to meet the needs of people of a certain age or at a certain stage of breast cancer. For example, many hospitals and local health organizations offer support groups for people who have been recently diagnosed. Other groups are designed for those getting chemotherapy or those dealing with fear of a breast cancer recurrence.
Talking to a patient navigator or social worker is a good first step in finding a support group. You can also call the Komen Breast Care Helpline at 1-877 GO KOMEN or email for help finding a local, online or telephone support groups.
What Happens In Breast Cancer Support Groups
Most times, a breast cancer support group has a group leader who is often a professional like a psychologist, pastor, or oncology social worker. Other times, groups are moderated by breast cancer survivors.
Once you find a support group to join, you may want to study how the group works. Some people find it easier sharing their experience than others. It is totally acceptable if you choose to listen more than talk.
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How To Find Others With Mbc
The other difficulty can be finding others who are facing metastatic breast cancer. On Twitter, you can use the hashtag #bcsm which stands for breast cancer social media. Searching with this hashtag can introduce you to the latest news coming out of conferences , and many posts include images of slides.
To focus on metastatic breast cancer, you can try the hashtag #metastaticBC or #metastaticbreastcancer. Some people also post using the combination of #metastatic and #breastcancer.
Additionally, there are tweet chats held every other week in which patients, caregivers, advocates, oncologists, surgeons, researchers, and more all communicate on the same level.
Who Are Local Support Groups For
Local groups are for anyone affected by cancer. You can share as little or as much as you like. You do not have to talk about anything you do not want do. Some people find it takes a few visits before they feel comfortable sharing.
Meetings sometimes include activities, a social event or a talk from a guest speaker. Most groups are free. Some may charge for tea and biscuits or welcome donations for the complementary therapies or counselling they offer.
Some groups help members to access support services including:
- complementary therapies
- self-help activities
- bereavement support.
Some groups can also help carers, family and friends of people with cancer come to terms with what is happening, how best to help and how to take care of themselves.
Most groups cover all types of cancer. Other groups are for people with a specific type of cancer, such as a breast care group or a laryngectomy club.
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What Are Local Support Groups
Local support groups are based in communities all over the UK. If you are living with cancer, they offer a safe and supportive environment for you to talk about what matters to you.
Each group is unique, but they all include people who have been affected by cancer. There are more than 900 groups across the country. You can find your nearest one by using the in your area search.
Some groups meet regularly in an informal setting, like a members living room. Other groups are larger and meet in public venues like libraries or community centres.
Blood Cancer Support Group
The UCSF Blood Cancer Support Group is an informal educational support group for hematology and bone marrow transplant patients. Family members are welcome to attend. Registration is required.
Location: Online. Please contact us for information and availability.Meetings: Second Tuesday of the month, 3 4:30 p.m.Contact: 353-2965
Emotional Support For Breast Cancer
There is no right or wrong way to feel after being diagnosed with cancer. Every person is unique. Some people are comfortable talking about their diagnosis and asking for help, while others prefer not to share the information widely.
You may choose to turn to family and friends, co-workers, your faith or other community groups for support. Others have reported it helpful to speak to someone who has survived cancer. Remember, how you decide to share the news and the type of support you need is entirely up to you.
The BC Cancer Agency’s Vancouver Island Centre in Victoria offers a variety of supportive care programs through their Patient & Family Counselling Services. You can access most of these services at any time after your diagnosis. These include:
- Individual and Family Counselling
- Relaxation Support Group for Patients and Families
- Therapeutic Touch Volunteer Clinic
Colorectal Cancer Support Group
The UCSF Colorectal Cancer Support Group is provided so that people living with various types of colorectal cancer may meet to share experiences, concerns and questions.
Location: Online. Please contact us for information and availability.Meetings: Second and fourth Monday of the month, 6 7:30 p.m. Contact: Vittorio Comelli, 476-0468 ext. 1 or
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Benefits Of Online Support Groups
In-person and virtual groups have different benefits and limitations:
- Virtual support groups are accessible from anywhere. You dont need to be in a particular city or town, and you dont have to worry about transportation or mobility issues.
- Online discussion boards have the advantage of being accessible at any time of day whenever theres something youd like to discuss and allow you to connect to many people who can relate to what you want to say.
- On the other hand, online communication sometimes leave a bit more room for misunderstanding because it doesnt offer the exact same verbal and nonverbal cues as in-person conversation does.
- In-person groups allow for more immediate action if a crisis arises. They also make it easier to know who is leading the group, if anyone, and what qualifications that person has.
Like in-person groups, many online groups are led by a licensed social worker or counselor. Feel free to ask about the leaders credentials if they are not given to you.
Breast Cancer Support Group
The Breast Cancer Support Group provides a community for female breast cancer patients to meet with one another to explore the many emotional, social and practical challenges of coping with a breast cancer diagnosis. This is an eight-week program.
Please note that this program is intended for members who are newly diagnosed and can only be taken one time. If you are someone who has had a recurrence or have a metastatic diagnosis, please consider some of our other programs that may be a better fit, such as our Oasis Advanced Cancer Support Group.
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Bladder Cancer Education And Support Group
The UCSF Bladder Cancer Education and Support Group is available so that patients with bladder cancer as well as their caregivers and family members may share experiences, educate one another and support each other.
Location: Online. Please contact us for information and availability.Meetings: First Thursday of the month, 5:30 7 p.mContact: 514-1707
Look Good Feel Better
This charity aims to help with the physical and emotional wellbeing of people going through cancer treatment. They provide confidence boosting workshops, which gives a chance for people to meet others going through a similar experience and to learn skills to manage some of the side effects of treatment, such as skincare and make up techniques.
They have been running for 25 years and workshops are held in 130 hospitals and support centres across the UK. You can find your nearest workshop and read more about the work of the charity on their website.
West Hill House
The Daisy Network provides help, support and information for women who have early menopause.
PO Box 71432
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Research On Support Groups In People With Breast Cancer
There have been a number of studies about the potential benefits of support groups for people with breast cancer. In 2005, a review article compared 5 studies involving support groups for patients with metastatic breast cancer. The article reported that while one study identified increased survival time resulting from participation in support groups, 9 other studies did not show survival benefits. All of the studies, however, reported that participation in support groups resulted in positive effects on psychological well-being.
The study that did show survival benefit was published in 1989. In this controlled study, 86 women with metastatic breast cancer were followed. Half of the women had been enrolled in a weekly support group during medical treatment. The other half did not participate in a support group. The women in the support group met weekly for a year. In addition to regular support group participation, these women were also taught self-hypnosis to manage pain.
The author followed up with participants after 10 years. Three of the women were alive and medical records were obtained for the other 83 women. The records showed that the women in the support group lived on average twice as long as the women who had not attended a support group . The women attending the support group also reported a higher quality of life.
What To Expect With Support Groups
Although there are no standards for how support groups are conducted, they are often moderated by a group leader. Some breast cancer support groups are led by professionals, such as psychologists, psychiatrists, oncology social workers, oncology nurses, or pastors. Other groups are led by breast cancer survivors. Both types of groups have advantages and disadvantages:
Groups organized by professionals: Trained professionals have their experience in setting up groups, helping members get what they need, and responding to people who are upset or angry. However, many times, trained professionals are not breast cancer survivors themselves and cannot offer advice from their own experience.
Groups organized by breast cancer survivors: Breast cancer survivors bring personal experience to support groups they organize. For example, a cancer survivor can help those who are newly diagnosed know what to expect. But because many breast cancer survivors have not had support group skill training, they may not always know how to respond to difficult group situations. At the same time, even without official training, people who’ve had breast cancer often have enough life experience to be comfortable when group dynamics get challenging.
Once you’ve chosen a support group, you may need to allow yourself time to adjust to the group setting. Some people have an easier time sharing feelings than others. It’s okay if you feel more comfortable just listening.
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All Cancer Husbands And Significant Others
The UCSF All Cancer Support Group for Husbands and Partners is for men whose significant other has cancer. The group explores positive ways of coping, provides emotional support, and shares information on treatments, side effects, complementary therapies, financial concerns and insurance issues.
Location: Online. Please contact us for information and availability.Meetings: Second and fourth Tuesday of the month, 5:30 7 p.m. Contact: 353-7632
Breast Cancer Support Services
Breast Cancer Support Services is a self-help non-profit organization created by women for people living with breast cancer and anyone concerned about breast health. We provide current information and education on early detection, treatments and management of breast cancer.
We are a volunteer driven organization, whose heart and soul is composed of the women and men who have already walked in the shoes of the newly diagnosed, and who understand their need for compassion and support.
Breast Cancer Support Services provides a wide range of programs, services and information for those living with breast cancer.
We work directly with women and families to offer education and support during a breast cancer diagnosis. We offer educational programs to schools and community groups that deliver information about reducing your risk and cancer screening.
Our programs and services are provided free of charge through the support of our community. Membership helps us to offer our Peer Support, information services and holistic therapies at no charge. Membership is only $10.00 per year, and is waived for the first year for anyone newly diagnosed.We offer a wide range of programs and services, including: Walk-in and Telephone Peer Support Support Groups Comfort Kits Comfort Room Serenity Garden Library & Information Centre Website Wigs & Prosthesis Holistic Therapies Health & Wellness seminars.
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Cancer Research Uk Information And Support
Cancer Research UK is the largest cancer research organisation in the world outside the USA. We fund research on all aspects of cancer from its causes to prevention and treatment.
We are committed to producing high quality information for people affected by cancer. As well as looking at the information on this website you can call our nurse freephone helpline on 0808 800 4040. They are available from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Or you can send us a question online.
What Are Support Groups
Support groups are groups of people in similar life situations who meet on a regular basis to share their concerns. A support group is a safe place to exchange ideas about how to handle difficult issues. Support groups can meet regularly in person, by telephone, or online.
Support groups can be organized in different ways:
Open membership: Open membership means that members can come and go freely, and long-term commitment is not required. If you’re going through treatment and your schedule isn’t consistent, this may be the type of group for you.
Closed membership: Closed membership means that registration and commitment to a certain number of sessions is required. Once a specific number of people have signed up, the group is closed to new members. This helps members to establish consistency and to get to know each other better.
Some of the benefits of breast cancer support groups include:
In this video, Deidra talks about the value of joining a support group and forming bonds with other women whose lives have been changed by cancer. This video made possible through the generous support of the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery.
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