Tags: cancer | leukemia | myeloma | support group | breast cancer

Cancer Groups Offer Emotional Support

By    |   Tuesday, 25 Mar 2014 03:48 PM

Until recently, I’d never joined a cancer support group, partially because there weren’t any available in my area, but also because a friend of mine had breast cancer. We considered ourselves a private support group.
 
But I realize now that neither of us could have possibly known what the other was actually going through.
 
You can find support groups for breast cancer and some other types of cancer where I live, in Western Massachusetts, but there are none that focus on blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma.
 
So I was intrigued earlier this month when an internist in my area who’d gone through acute myeloid leukemia — like I did — began exploring interest in such a group. In truth, I thought that there would be just a handful of people at the first meeting — but there were about 200. Not all were survivors, but many were, and after a few conversations I felt a connection with people who’d shared a similar experience.
 
There is common ground across all cancers. But when you talk to someone who has gone through the same illness, certain details resonate powerfully.
 
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS): “The scientific community in general believes that support groups can enhance quality of life for many people with cancer. Practical support can manage feelings of aloneness and helplessness that sometimes result from a cancer diagnosis. Research has shown that people with cancer are better able to deal with their disease when supported by others in similar situations.”
However, the ACS also warns that support groups may not be suitable for everyone, and may actually cause some to feel worse by stirring up upsetting memories or by not focusing on the topics that most interest them.
Online support groups, or forums, and live chat rooms, can provide access to a range of voices without leaving your home. But they should be used with caution.
Again, from the ACS: “This [type of online] venue cannot always assure privacy or confidentiality, and the people involved may have no special training or qualifications, especially if the group takes place in an unmonitored chat room”
Some of these forums are moderated, but others are a free-for-all. I realized this myself when participating in a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Discussion Board. I thought it might be helpful to chat with people in similar circumstances, but the participants were giving each other advice that made me feel uncomfortable.
Providing support is one thing, but dispensing medical advice should be left to the professionals.
The leukemia support group in my area will meet next month under the auspices of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (www.lls.org), a national organization with offices across the country. If anyone is interested in creating or attending a blood cancer support group, you can contact them for assistance.
 
Various other organizations can provide help in finding support groups for other cancers. BreastCancer.org (www.breastcancer.org ) is an excellent source on that topic. The National Cancer Institute website (www.cancer.org)
has a link to national organizations that offer cancer-related support services, while the American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org) also provides information on finding support in your area.

© 2017 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

 
1Like our page
2Share
Ronni-Gordon
Until recently, I’d never joined a cancer support group, partially because there weren’t any available in my area, but also because a friend of mine had breast cancer. We considered ourselves a private support group.
cancer,leukemia,myeloma,support group,breast cancer
531
2014-48-25
Tuesday, 25 Mar 2014 03:48 PM
Newsmax Inc.
 

The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment or diagnosis. Read Newsmax Terms and Conditions of Service.

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved