Why Join a Cancer Group?

Online Support is Good, But Some In-Person Benefits are Unique

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Cancer doesn’t discriminate based on your personality. Prior to cancer, some people are happy hermits and others seem to need extra social contact to thrive. If you’ve thought about cancer support groups but remain skeptical, here are some points to consider.

Gathering Intelligence

Not all of the benefits have to do with talking about your feelings. Even if you are not necessarily known for sharing your emotions with others, there are other practical reasons you may still want to join a group.

Online support is great, but sometimes an in-person dynamic can get you further. An organized meeting allows others to share their information and give you tips on everything from their experiences with specific therapies, to how long an infusion took, to particular cancer care settings, dealing with finances, resuming work, and much, much more. The key is to find a group that meets your needs.

Getting Support in Your Area

Sometimes you may have all the general information you need, but it needs to be shaped and tailored to your particular geography. In these instances, finding a local group can be especially helpful. The American Cancer Society has a page dedicated to finding support programs in your area. They also have a search page where you can enter your zip code and use a pull-down menu to find the type of support you need.

Getting Support Away from Home

Alternatively, sometimes getting the best care means you have to travel a good distance away from your home, which can mean the hassle of being away from all that's familiar to you.

The American Cancer Society has programs that aim to make this experience easier for both cancer patients and their families.

One is called Hope Lodge. Each Hope Lodge gives cancer patients and their caregivers a free place to stay when treatment needs to be accessed in another city. Currently there are 31 Hope Lodge locations throughout the United States.

Comparing Notes about What You’re Going Through

You may feel like you have enough support through family and friends. While that may be true, and that kind of support is extremely valuable, it may be hard for many people to really understand what you are going through if they haven’t lived with cancer. You may find yourself wanting to talk, even if  briefly, to others who are thinking about the same things you are. Support groups, whether online or in person, can be extremely helpful toward this end.

Online Support

Today, for some people with cancer, not having online support is almost unthinkable. An obvious advantage of online support is that you can access it – or choose not to – on your own terms, and according to your own schedule.

In addition to the many resources from the American Cancer Society, a variety of nonprofits and advocacy groups offer support, and some may be specific to your type of cancer. For more links to online support groups, see the article so named by Lisa Fayed on the About Network.

You can also explore groups related to leukemia and lymphoma at:

6 Best Online Cancer Resources: When browsing for medical information the Web, it can be challenging to find content that’s both trustworthy and up-to-date. Here are some useful cancer sites.

Leukemia & Lymphoma Advocacy Roundup: This article is a quick guide to some of the better known advocacy groups dealing with blood cancer. Here you will find ways survivors sometimes become involved with the cancer community as well as events and organizations that help bring people together to work toward a common goal--the defeat of blood cancers.

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