Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Support networks are important for anyone, but they are vitally important for those affected by cancer: survivors, family, and friends. Research links cancer support groups to improved emotional health and an enhanced quality of life.
Peer support is the main reason most people join cancer survivor networks, and that support comes through online and on-site programs. The cancer survivors themselves generally provide online content, and group members typically lead the community meetings.
Membership in most cancer survivor networks is free, although many groups welcome donations. Some groups are open to anyone affected by cancer, either directly or indirectly, while others are established especially for the benefit of survivors themselves. Whether someone is facing a treatable skin cancer or going through extremely difficult and painful mesothelioma treatments, joining a cancer survivor network can be invaluable.
The Benefits Of Community Support Groups
Most cancer survivors already have the support of their doctors, loved ones, neighbors, and colleagues. What they need most is the support of someone who has “been there.” On-site support groups allow cancer survivors to establish the special relationships necessary to cope with the disease.
Cancer survivors can find support in their healthcare communities, churches, civic centers, and even schools. Hospice centers provide support for end-of-life challenges.
Cancer support groups allow those affected by cancer to interact with each other. Group members share personal stories, exchange firsthand knowledge, and recommend resources. Most of all, they develop important connections that doctors and loved ones, though well meaning, simply cannot provide.
The Benefits Of Online Support Groups
Online networks are ideal resources for cancer support. They help cancer survivors find each other, and give them a sense of belonging. Online groups are a place to share feelings and frustrations honestly, openly, and even anonymously, if desired.
There are many great survivor networks on the Internet. Cancer Care and Cancer Survivors Network are two to consider. Some groups are open to people with all cancer types, from breast cancer to mesothelioma and other malignancies. Some networks are designed to support people with specific cancers. For example, “Reach to Recovery” supports breast cancer survivors and “Man to Man” offers prostate cancer support.
Joining an online support network offers many benefits. Cancer survivors can create a profile, access other member pages, and interact with each other. Blog comments, email, chat rooms, instant messaging, and discussion boards allow them to communicate freely. And online sources provide links to helpful resources, programs, and services, as well.
By: David Haas
Posted by Richard Lawry at 9:30 AM