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March 26, 2016
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1 Introduction
cancer support group



Cancer support groups provide a setting in which cancer patients can talk about living with cancer with others who may be having similar experiences. Much of the sociological construction of these groups is similar to other kinds of other types of support groups.

Although the experience of people diagnosed with cancer varies greatly from one person to another, they all need a good support system in order to cope throughout the different stages of the process. Different support systems have thus been developed including community support groups, online cancer support groups, networks, forums, and charitable organizations. Community support groups are usually led by psychologists, social workers, and medical professionals and can take place in churches , hospitals, or community centers. Online support groups and forums are a good option for those patients who find it difficult to leave their home during treatment . People participating in such forums have the possibility to maintain their anonymity. Support systems range from those that address patients suffering from specific types of cancer to those that support patients suffering from any kind of cancer.

Apart from having to cope with the physical and medical challenges, people with cancer face many worries, feelings, and concerns unique to their situation. Cancer patients may find they need help coping with the emotional as well as the practical aspects of their disease. In fact, attention to the emotional burden of having cancer is often a part of a patient's treatment plan. The support of the health care team (doctors, nurses, social workers), support groups, and patient-to-patient networks can help people feel less isolated and distressed, and improve the quality of their lives. More importantly cancer support groups can provide access to the most current information regarding available treatments. Anyone suffering from an uncommon form of cancer should consider joining a specialized online community to gain access to information often not available anywhere else. Cancer support groups provide a setting in which cancer patients can talk about living with cancer with others who may be having similar experiences. Also, patients may have different concerns stemming from their particular situation in life which may warrant a special support group that caters specifically to their needs. For example, there are support groups dedicated to helping women of certain ages through their cancer experience. Patients may want to speak to a member of their health care team about finding a support group that best suits their needs. Many also find useful basic information in NCI fact sheets and booklets, including "Taking Time and Facing Forward".

Apart from various improvements in confidence, wellbeing, stress, and interpersonal comfort, cancer support groups are being studied for their direct effects on improving health of people who attend them. Some small-scale tests have compared members of a breast cancer support group at Stanford against a control group and found significant benefits associated with group membership. These studies are currently being repeated on a larger scale. Some theories about these benefits ascribe heath improvements to reduced stress from talking about emotional issues, the placebo effect, learning about treatment options through interaction with others with common issues. A large-scale research project of cancer online communities is ongoing and may provide some answers about the use of cancer online mailing lists by their subscribers.

The American Cancer Society has developed the Cancer Survivors Network aimed to help cancer survivors, families and friends find and communicate with others who share their interests and experiences.

The Cancer Support Community is an international non-profit that offers personalized services and education to support people affected by cancer. This initiative started operations after The Wellness Community and Gilda's Club joined together to provide psychological and social support through their network of 50 local affiliates, more than 100 satellite locations and online services.

Macmillan Cancer Support is a cancer care and support charity in the UK devoted to help improve the lives of people affected by any kind of cancer. It was founded in 1911 by Douglas Macmillan and it is now the largest of its kind in the UK. They support people living with cancer, their families and carers as well. The ways in which they help are very broad and address information needs as well as practical, emotional and financial support. On the one hand, they provide information leaflets, specialist medical care and support. Moreover, this organization fights discrimination and campaign for changes in policy, legislation and practice. Macmillan also funds nurses and other specialists in health and social care professionals. They have funded over 4,000 health and social care professionals across the UK. These professionals helped 432,000 people in 2008 that included not only cancer patients and their families, but also carers and friends. Macmillan works together with NHS, local authorities, Citizens Advice and other cancer charities.

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure is a non-profit organization created in 1982 to raise money for research and awareness of breast cancer.

CanCare is a non-profit cancer support network with a mission to improve the quality of life for cancer survivors and their families. This support comes from trained volunteers who themselves have experienced and survived a cancer diagnosis or have been a caregiver to someone who has.

  • Psycho-oncology

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "cancer support group".

Last Modified:   2010-11-25

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