28 Feb Stronger Together – Benefits of Cancer Support Groups
Not all cancer patients are comfortable asking for help and support. Some of us are so used to “going it alone” that we may not even realize how much help we need.
While a cancer diagnosis can inspire the best in us–courage, determination, hope–health issues of a certain magnitude can also render us withdrawn or needlessly stoic. We don’t “want to make a scene.” We don’t “want to be a burden.”
“It is what it is,” we say, and encourage others–especially our loved ones–not to dwell on it too much. Sure, everyone has their own method of coping, but it’s important to remember that you are allowed to ask for help. You do, in fact, deserve support.
Cancer support groups are vital to both the ongoing fight and (one day soon) the recovery process. Here are just a few of the benefits of finally asking for help.
A cancer diagnosis is not uncommon. According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 39.5% of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives.
Of your friends, family members, and co-workers, the chances are good that someone you know has been through cancer before. But different cancers pose different challenges, and speaking to someone who’s already been through it may not be as beneficial as speaking to someone who is presently going through it.
In cancer support groups, you’ll find a new voice to discuss the nuances, daily frustrations, and ongoing emotional turmoil surrounding your diagnosis. You’ll hear about pain, progress, and even the tiniest shared annoyances.
Ultimately, you’ll be given the opportunity to feel heard and understood. You’ll become part of a community of support rather than one person fighting cancer alone.
The fight against cancer can quickly become its own lifestyle. Our daily decisions (to say nothing of our long-term plans) will have to adjust as we battle forward.
There is no manual for living through cancer. You’re expected to cope while still researching and comprehending all the medical information necessary to understand your situation.
Because we can’t know everything we need to know, support groups are also places to share helpful tips and intel. Emotionally, educationally, medically, and holistically, support groups provide a multidimensional net of support.
Cancer is an existential threat. When left to our own devices, it can be difficult to focus on anything other than our diagnosis, our chances of remission, our next appointment.
Cancer will change your life, but it doesn’t have to become your life. By regularly attending support group sessions, you’ll have a designated time set aside in your schedule to deal with the emotional stress, anxiety, and sensations of powerlessness.
Making time for your hardships frees you up to focus on the enjoyable aspects of life. Over time, you may even find your mood or self-image improving along with your outlook.
Cancer’s impact can last longer than the cancer itself, and remission may not reliably extend to the emotions we felt while fighting for our lives. Fittingly, the support we receive shouldn’t end either.
In a cancer support group, you’ll make lasting contacts and comrades who can dependably help you through the recovery process. You may even discover that you’ve become an inspiration yourself–capable of giving back when others need it most.
Say “Yes” to Support
Alabama Cancer Care understands the comprehensive toll a cancer diagnosis takes. But you are not alone. Together we can fight stronger, live better, and recover more swiftly.
Support groups come in all shapes and sizes, from online chats, in-person meetings, and telehealth conferences. However you decide to join, you’ll be giving yourself the gift of community and the best chance at healing.