1. What is the purpose of a cancer support group?
The main purpose of a cancer support group is to provide mutual emotional support for people who have cancer and their families. The group is designed to provide a confidential atmosphere where cancer patients, cancer survivors, and family members can discuss the challenges that cancer brings. Some of these are related to treatment, loss of work, and financial concerns as well as the many emotions that seem like a roller-coaster at times. During these difficult times, access to people who understand, listen, and care is an important part of healing.
2. Do I have to talk if I attend the group?
No one has to speak unless they wish to do so. The group understands that in the beginning it may be too painful to even get in touch with thoughts and feelings. You can say what you like or just listen.
3. May I bring my family or a good friend?
Yes. Family and friends are affected when cancer touches someone they love. They may need help to cope with their own feelings and fears. Often, illness brings about role changes in the family. Family members may need to assume new responsibilities to maintain the home and to care for their loved one. Change is stressful for everyone involved.
4. How can a support group help me cope with cancer?
By being with fellow cancer patients and hearing their feelings and thoughts, one feels less alone and less isolated. Family members also gain a better understanding of the patient’s emotions and their own. By sharing tips on “what has helped me cope” members are encouraged and strengthened. Anxiety and depression are lessened. Coping with cancer is a grief experience for both the patient and the family. It takes time to grieve and having caring, supportive individuals in a group can be healing. Often, group members begin to feel more in control of their lives.