A diagnosis of cancer is often received with shock, disbelief or feelings of being overwhelmed. Each person’s journey is unique and sometimes lonely. Support to help cope with stress, cancer treatment and family issues are available through individual counseling with an oncology counselor or through attending a cancer support group.
Learning to communicate is key
One-to-one support through individual counseling provides an opportunity to share your feelings and to facilitate better communication with your medical team, your family and your friends. The diagnosis of cancer of a loved one affects the whole family.
Learning to communicate with your family about how you feel, both emotionally and physically, will allow them to be able to understand what you are going through, give you support, and help you make informed decisions.
Your feelings are normal
Feelings such as disbelief, shock, fear, and anger are all normal; expressing those feelings in a supportive environment can help you feel more in control rather than overwhelmed by your emotions. Your counselor can teach you skills to reduce tension, anxiety, fatigue and confusion.
Embrace cancer support groups
Cancer support groups provide an opportunity to meet with others with similar challenges to share feelings and experiences. These connections create opportunities to discuss strategies for coping while learning how others are managing or have managed their treatment process.
This can help relieve the stress of isolation, providing a sense of community to both receive and give comfort and strength. Being able to share your stories or listen as others share their experiences provides the awareness that your reactions and questions are “normal.”
You may hear a new perspective or share practical tips for managing day-to-day challenges. Talking to someone who has been down the path you are starting on takes much of the fear and uncertainty away. When you attend a support group there is no pressure to share before you are comfortable enough to do so.
Cancer support group benefits:
- Preventing isolation
- Sharing experiences
- Gaining a sense of empowerment and control
- Having an opportunity to talk openly and honestly about your feelings
- Improved coping skills and adjustment
- Reduction in distress, depression or anxiety
- Enhancing self esteem
- Lending support, encouragement, and hope
Support groups enhance quality of life
The scientific community believes that support groups can enhance quality of life for people who have cancer by providing information and support to overcome feelings of aloneness and helplessness that sometimes result from a cancer diagnosis. Research has shown that people with cancer are better able to deal with their disease when supported by others in similar situations.
To better care for yourself or a loved one with cancer, learn more about our For Your Well Being Survivorship Program and sign up for as many classes as you like.