cancer support groups

Cancer Support Groups: What You Can Expect When You Start Going to One

Whether it’s yourself or a loved one facing cancer, the experience is all-consuming. You rarely get a chance to think about anything else. While you do need to put your energy into healing, it can be very helpful to have someone with whom to share the burden.

Cancer support groups offer help in several different ways. There is support for the person who is living with cancer, and also for the patient’s family members and caregivers. If you’ve never been to a support group before, it can be a bit intimidating.

Patients are often torn between dealing with their issues alone or sharing them with strangers. Keep in mind, these strangers are going through many of the same experiences and feeling many of the same emotions as you.

Cancer Support Groups

Find the right support group can really make a difference in how you cope with the illness. It can often act as a buffer between the medical treatments and the emotional aspects of dealing with cancer.

Connection

The cancer patient may find it difficult to talk to family members about what they are going through. It can very difficult to cope. A support group of other cancer patients knows this.

Your friends and family are going to be emotional and may even have difficulty viewing the disease from your perspective.  As a friend or family member of a cancer patient, it can be challenging for them to see beyond their own fears.

The chance to talk to others facing the same thing gives the patient comfort in knowing they are not alone. It’s a chance to discuss things only people living with cancer will understand.

Family and Care Giver Support

For friends and family members of cancer patients:  telling your loved one how you feel about their cancer can not only be difficult, it could also be inappropriate. The cancer patient has a great deal of stress to contend with, and you likely don’t want to burden them with your fears, on top of their own.

Talking to other family members in a support setting will allow you to express all those fears, the anger and anything else you might be feeling. It’s a safe setting where you can speak honestly.

It’s stressful coping when a loved one has cancer. Allow yourself the freedom to talk about it and also get more information. These sessions can really help to open up a dialogue with the cancer patient and alleviate some of your feelings.

Honest Emotions

It’s not uncommon to be angry at cancer. It’s okay. It’s even better when you are able to talk about it candidly to others in the same situation. One of the greatest reliefs you will find is to talk about how you feel.

As a family member or caregiver, you may even feel like the there is too much of a burden, feelings of guilt and an overall feeling of flight. It’s common. You are going through the stages of grief while the person is still alive.

As a patient, you want to be able to share what you’re feeling to people who are also going through it. It’s very helpful and can be much easier than talking to family members, as they may not be prepared to hear it.

Educational

For the patient and the caregivers and family, there are many things to be learned from attending support groups. There are things that you are trying to cope with that are simply too raw and too new.

Sharing these things with people in the same mindset and situation can not only unburden you but allows you to learn how to cope better. While everyone is equipped to cope differently, you can learn new ways from others who are in a similar situation.

If you join a group that has a medical professional, say through a cancer clinic or medical facility, you can ask a lot of questions as well. This can help with a lot of the fears you may have and help you better understand what to expect.

Online

If you are too ill to travel or live in an isolated area, an online support group can also be beneficial. You can find people to chat with in real time, or communicate through messaging or email, community messaging and newsletters.

Online support groups may be more convenient for people who have mobility issues or are not at a place in their illness where they feel comfortable or able to leave the house or hospital.

There are chat rooms, forums and other online support for people living with cancer and their spouses, family, and caregivers, all available to share their own experiences.

You’re Not Alone

It’s important to remember that you’re not alone in your cancer journey.  There is help for those coping with the fears and uncertainties of it all. Cancer support groups allow all those affected to openly discuss their concerns in a safe environment.

It’s not easy going through cancer, and whether it’s a small patch of skin cancer or a terminal illness, the fears and stages of grief can all feel devastating.

A support group allows you the freedom to examine all of the feelings you’re going through and to talk about them honestly. There can be a great relief in just knowing you are not alone and your feelings, regardless of how awful you may think they are, are not only yours.

If you need more information about cancer treatment counseling, or what to expect during treatment, please contact us here.  And for more information about local support groups in the Augusta, GA area, check out our Community Calendar for more information.