Top 5 Benefits Of Support Groups For Cancer Patients

May 24, 2019

Support Group

Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide with significant impact on society. While there are variations by clinical factors such as cancer type and stage as well as demographic factors such as race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status, the overall incidence rate of cancer has declined slightly over the past decade while the death rate has declined significantly by 27% from 1991 to 2016. For women, the most common cancers are breast, colon, endometrial, lung, cervical, skin and ovarian cancers. Breast, lung and colorectal cancers account for half of all new cancer diagnoses in women, with breast cancer leading the list at 30%. However, advancements in diagnostics and therapeutics have led to many cancers having a high chance of cure if diagnosed early and treated appropriately. 

With a diagnosis of cancer, comes emotional suffering and psychological distress. A support group becomes an important resource for these individuals and their families and caregivers. Having a support network provides both information and emotional support and studies have shown that this improves the individual’s survival and quality of life.

Among the many benefits offered by support networks, program participants often express the following as being the most important for them:

1) Having a safe forum to share experiences with those in a similar situation and exchange practical help and advice

2) Receiving emotional support leading to decreased feelings of isolation, depression and anxiety

3) Gaining a better understanding of one’s illness and treatment

4) Feeling supported and more confident to take charge of problems

5) Having the opportunity to help others going through similar challenges

One example of the amazing service provided by support programs can be seen at the Bay Area Cancer Connections (BACC). This community center has been supporting patients and families in a safe, welcoming environment for over 25 years. BACC’s mission is to support anyone affected by breast or ovarian cancer with personalized services that inform and empower. The organization offers a wide range of free and personalized services, some of which include support groups, cancer education, access to a Boutique (filled with wigs, hats scarves, and prostheses), practical support, health and wellness classes, and much more. The organization offers over 50-programs a month, including 12 support groups,11 health and wellness classes, and one-on-one consultations with licensed therapists and our Medical Research Specialist. In addition, BACC provides low-income, uninsured women with access to critical screening and diagnostic services for breast health issues. For more information, visit bayareacancer.org.

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