Thursday, October 6, 2011

Getting Help Through Cancer Support Groups and Networks

A guest post from David Haas of the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance:

"Being diagnosed with cancer can often be a stressful and overwhelming experience for many people. However, to help increase the chances of survival, this disease requires early detection. Mesothelioma is one such cancer that is not easily diagnosed and is often detected during the latter stages. With a skilled and frank doctor, a good medical team and emotional support you can receive significant help to cope with cancer and improve you quality of life and recovery.

If you are a cancer survivor or are in remission or going through treatment, you may
benefit from the experience of trained volunteers who have been affected by similar treatment and who are fighting the same cancer disease. By using cancer support groups and networks you may receive important benefits such as:

•Receiving emotional support and having a friend in need,
•Getting useful suggestions, tips, advice and ideas on how and where to get information and dealing with side-effects,
•Having practical support during and after treatment as well as during recovery,
•Receiving encouragement and hope for survival and living your life to the fullest,
•Having an outlet to ask questions and share your concerns, story and experience.

Survivors and those who are in remission who help with cancer
support groups or networks may benefit from managing survivorship issues, including recurrence of the cancer.

The types of cancer support networks and groups may differ, but you are sure to find one that best fits your needs and situation. Some groups may meet in person, but if you don’t like opening up to people or find it difficult to travel, you may look for a telephone or an internet support group. Other types of group support such as lectures and workshops, faith-based groups or groups led by a doctor or professional therapist are also available.

Other helpful
ways of expressing your feeling as you cope with cancer is through journaling or writing. This helps you to get in touch with your true feelings and provides and outlet to share them.

Expressing your feelings through writing or on a one-on-one basis may help you to feel less burdened and dispel any fears and misconceptions that you may have about your cancer. You may also find valuable information by using online resources provided by cancer support groups and networks. Two such resources are
the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society’s Network."

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