Having cancer is often one of the most stressful experiences in a person's life. However, support groups help many people cope with the emotional aspects of cancer by providing a safe place to share their feelings and challenges. They also allow people to learn from others facing similar situations.
Reasons to join a support group
Receiving a cancer diagnosis often triggers a strong emotional response. Some people experience shock, anger, and disbelief. Others may feel intense sadness, fear, and a sense of loss. Sometimes even the most supportive family members and friends cannot understand exactly how it feels to have cancer. This can lead to loneliness and isolation.
Support groups allow people to talk about their experiences with others living with cancer, which can help reduce stress. Group members can share feelings and experiences that may seem too strange or too difficult to share with family and friends. And the group dynamics often create a sense of belonging that helps each person feel more understood and less alone.
Support group members may also discuss practical information. This may include what to expect during treatment, how to manage pain and other side effects of treatment, and how to communicate with health care providers and family members. Exchanging information and advice may provide a sense of control and reduce feelings of helplessness.
Many studies have shown that support groups help people with cancer feel less depressed and anxious. Support groups also help them feel more hopeful and enable them to manage their emotions better. However, support groups are not the right fit for everyone. Some people may benefit from other sources of support. (Cancer.net)