This is a great guest post by David Haas
A cancer diagnosis is difficult for anyone to cope with. Harsh cancer treatments, like surgery and chemotherapy, take a toll on the mind and body. Cancer affects both the physical and emotional wellness of cancer patients. Support networks help them untangle their jumble of fears, frustrations, and feelings.
Many deep friendships develop through cancer survivor networks. Family members provide an important support system, but unless they have experienced cancer themselves, their understanding is limited. They also have their own emotions to deal with.
People who attend cancer support meetings understand each other, because everyone is going through the same thing. Talking to someone in a similar situation is reassuring for people with cancer. Groups make it easy to get and give support and advice, and to gain a fresh perspective. The members share personal stories and celebrate life together.
Cancer support networks come in the form of community groups and online networks. They are typically free to attend, and they usually welcome anyone affected by cancer. Community groups often meet in hospitals, churches, civic centers, or member homes. Online networks allow members to connect through discussion boards, chat rooms, blogs, and electronic messaging.
Friendship and emotional support are major functions of cancer support networks. Through support groups, cancer patients and survivors are reminded that they are not alone. While each cancer experience is unique, every patient must deal with treatment and care options, side effects, and numerous decisions. Through cancer support groups, members help each other cope.
In addition to camaraderie, cancer support networks provide practical assistance. Some groups provide hats, wigs, scarves, and turbans for clients undergoing chemotherapy. Many offer free transportation to meetings and doctor appointments. And all support groups provide valuable information and resources to help people cope with treatments and recovery.
There is a cancer support group for everyone. Some support groups are designed for people touched by certain types of cancer. For example, “Reach for Recovery” supports women with breast cancer, and “Man to Man” offers prostate cancer support for men. The Cancer Survivors Network, an online community sponsored by the American Cancer Society, is open to all cancer patients, survivors, families, and friends.
Whether someone is struggling with a treatable cancer like non-melanoma skin cancer, or they are dealing with a rare disease like mesothelioma lung cancer, cancer support networks are invaluable in every phase of the disease. Emotional support is just as important and medical care for people affected by cancer. The positive, optimistic outlook of cancer support networks can make the cancer experience a lot easier to cope with.
By: David Haas
Here are a few groups specifically for CML Patients: