Breast Cancer Support Groups
It’s a sobering statistic that 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. In fact, after skin cancer, it’s the number one diagnosed cancer for American women. The silver lining is that, as a result, there is a large number of people who understand the emotions, struggles, and questions faced by a person diagnosed with breast cancer. Thanks to organizations like Susan G. Komen, CancerCare and others, a network of support groups, both online and in-person, exist to help.
How Support Groups Can Help
Currently, there is no proven connection between support groups and it is unclear whether social support can improve survival or reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence; however, more studies are currently underway to examine how support groups can help people diagnosed with breast cancer. Regardless, often having the perspective, advice, and information from someone who has “been there” can be of immeasurable value.
First, consider if a support group is right for you. Support groups are especially helpful for people comfortable sharing emotions and experiences in a group setting. Some people prefer to only share with family and close friends, and that is completely fine; find the best situation for you and your specific needs. You may find your interest in attending a support group comes and leaves at different phases of your diagnosis and treatment. Again, it’s most important to find the right solution to make you comfortable.
Breast cancer support groups can cover a wide range of specific topics, and groups can be found focusing on:
- Your age group
- Your stage in the treatment
- Type of treatment
- Other topics like fear of recurrence, etc.
- Family, friends, and caregivers of cancer patients
- Survivors who have completed treatment
How To Find A Support Group Near You
Support groups are often hosted at hospitals, churches, community centers, or private residences. There are options available for one-on-one counseling, over the phone or in person. And in today’s socially connected world, excellent support can be found online in the form of message boards and digital communities. Check out the Susan G. Komen or American Cancer Society websites to find support near you.
Remember that there is no right and wrong in how and when a person diagnosed with breast cancer may want or need support. With understanding and compassion, the fight against breast cancer can be made a little less lonely through the support and encouragement of others.