It is at their lowest point, their darkest time, that humans find they need the most support. Those who have suffered through or are currently suffering from the effects of cancer and cancer treatments find these low points more often than any one person can bear. Cancer patients and those in remission need the support of their friends and family. For those who think they must face this trial alone, many support groups are available to offer support and a place to share concerns and hope with other cancer patients and survivors.
According to the Cancer Society of America, supports groups can greatly enhance the cancer patient’s overall quality of life, but the opinion of the scientific community as to the long term health benefits of support groups is mixed. Support groups help cancer patients in many ways. Their primary goal is to help patients dealing with cancer with their immediate issues rather than long-term problems.
They use a variety of methods to accomplish this goal. Support groups can use the group interaction to allow cancer patients and survivors to share their stories, concerns, and information about how to best cope with certain treatments. This serves to relieve any feelings of isolation that can lead to depression. Depression decreases the chances of recovery. Support Groups help gain information one needs to help battle the cancer from people who are going through the same thing or have already gone through it.
Cancer groups are often separated by the type of cancer that is afflicting the patient. Women with breast cancer would find they have little in common with a Vietnam veteran suffering from Mesothelioma. Each type of cancer affects the afflicted in a different way. Cancer attacks the body and is often concentrated in particular areas of the body such as the breasts, testicles, lungs, or brain. It is very beneficial for patients to receive informative knowledge about how to best cope with the exact treatment they are going through from people who are going through it also or have gone through it in the past.
The scientific community offers conflicting opinions on the efficacy of support groups in terms of long-term cancer survival. Studies have shown that those who regularly attend support groups live longer than those that do not. Other studies have shown that support groups have no measurable effect on the cancer survival rates. Each of these conclusions may be true, but that does not matter. The doctor who refers their patient to a support group is not hoping that they will achieve a spontaneous remission. They are encouraging their patient to seek the support. They realize that cancer recovery is a long journey, and that the patient will need all the support they can find.
Those who suffer from cancer must depend on their support system, but they often feel as if they are a burden to their friends and family. Support groups offer a place where their fears and concerns will be met with support and hopeful optimism. Such support can only help with a patient’s chances for recovery.
-- David Haas
Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Guest Blogger - http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/
Personal Blog - http://haasblaag.blogspot.com/