Cancer Support Groups: What Qualities to Look For

When you or a loved one is suffering from cancer, you may find comfort in knowing you’re not alone. Cancer support groups are available to help you connect, share and encourage other people in similar situations. They also enhance the quality of life for people suffering with cancer by giving them a healthy way to overcome feelings of fear, anxiety, loneliness or depression.

How can I find the right cancer support group?

There are a lot of cancer support options, depending on your needs and preferences, so it may take a little time to find just the right one. Here are a few questions to keep in mind while you’re looking:

  • Is the group sponsored by a cancer center, hospital, or other cancer organization (e.g., American Cancer Society)? Look for one that is affiliated with a reputable organization, so you can be sure you’re getting the quality care you deserve.
  • Does a trained professional with special knowledge of oncology and/or hematology facilitate the group? You may be surprised to know that many groups have two facilitators: A mental health professional and a medical professional. These are the only groups you’ll want to consider because you’ll get professional support for your mental and physical well-being.
  • Does the group charge fees or request donations? If so, keep looking. Reputable organizations will never charge you or ask for any monetary donations in exchange for cancer support. If you come across one that does, move on.

What are alternative options to traditional support groups?

If you feel uncomfortable with the notion of a peer-to-peer support groups, you can also look into online support options. However, it is imperative that you do your due diligence to ensure you are joining a virtual support group that is respectable and trustworthy:

  • Choose a group that is professionally monitored by a social worker, psychologist or medical professional—or all three.
  • Make sure your interactions are confidential, the support group you select should include a password-protected sign-in.
  • Any online support group you consider joining should be in some way associated with, or run by, an establishment like the American Cancer Society.

Even if you’re not sure about joining a cancer support group, the skilled oncologists at The START Center for Cancer Care urge you to give it a try. In their experience, most cancer patients who have a social outlet to discuss their treatment and recovery have an easier time managing their treatments. They are also more likely to have a positive outlook on their situation. For compassionate cancer support in San Antonio, contact us at 210-593-5790.