Getting through a cancer diagnosis is one of the most difficult things a human being can face.
The fact that many people beat breast cancer and go on to live amazing lives is proof of the resilience of mankind.
The important role that breast cancer support groups play in the mental health of patients should never be overlooked.
The psychological and social support that group members receive is a major contributor to their healing. Read on to learn more about the life-changing effects of breast cancer support groups
What Are Breast Cancer Support Groups?
A breast cancer support group is a group of people, mostly women, that have been diagnosed with breast cancer and meet regularly to discuss their challenges and how they can overcome them. Support groups are usually organized by hospitals and communities such as churches. However, some have been created by regular people that wanted to experience the support that comes from being part of a safe group.
There are both online as well as in-person groups. The online groups usually have discussions in forums such as WhatsApp and Facebook groups. The in-person ones meet regularly at a convenient location for everyone.
Support groups specifically for breast cancer patients have been around for a long time. They have been very useful in helping people maintain a positive attitude throughout the process of their cancer diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. They are especially beneficial for patients that don’t have friends and family to support them through the treatment process.
Below are 5 benefits you may get from joining a support group.
1. You Get Emotional Support
Most breast cancer support groups are run by therapists, licensed social workers or qualified medical professionals. This means that they are trained to help you navigate all the feelings and emotions you will experience during your diagnosis and treatment.
Your friends and family may not understand exactly what you are going through so you may find their input disconnected and inappropriate. On the other hand, those in your support group are walking a similar path to you. This is why a support group is better placed to provide you with the emotional support and guidance you need.
2. You May Make New Lifelong Friends
A cancer diagnosis helps you to take a second look at your life, your values, and your priorities. This means that the people that you meet at a breast cancer support group will see you at your deepest and most vulnerable form. Friendships formed from this level tend to be very strong and fulfilling.
Your group members will help you overcome challenges and teach you how to live as a cancer patient. Once you win the fight against the disease you may find that you have made friends that will stay in your life forever.
3. You May Get Social Support
Support groups can be a lifeline for those that are facing cancer alone. Sometimes you may be too weak to cook or even drive to a treatment center and someone from your support group may volunteer to help.
Some support groups have been so helpful to members by providing social support such as taking each other to medical appointments, babysitting for each other’s children, cooking for each other, etc. You never know how much help you may end up getting or giving when you decide to join a support group.
4. Your Quality Of Life Will Improve
A cancer diagnosis can cause you stress, anxiety, and depression. Support groups can help you overcome these negative feelings and instead face cancer with joy and a positive attitude. Participating in support groups can help you get rid of a negative mindset towards your situation.
The support you receive from your group can help improve your self-image, self-confidence, mood and ability to face and deal with life challenges. You may even end up with a better life post-cancer due to the life-changing advice and tips that you will receive from your group.
Some groups also provide sessions for your caregivers who also need support to cope with the stress of your diagnosis. Happier caregivers lead to a happier recovery experience for you.
5. You May Get Life-Changing Advice
Other than being a safe place to share personal details about your life and challenges, breast cancer support groups are also great sources of valuable information. Support group leaders are often privy to information about the latest treatments available. They are also well versed in how to deal with insurance companies, hospitals, and other healthcare providers.
This kind of information could be a lifesaver for you especially if you’ve never had to deal with any of these institutions. Sometimes groups also bring in guest speakers that may have useful information for the members. For example, they might bring in a breast cancer survivor that has great tips on telling your loved ones about your diagnosis or an oncologist discussing the latest developments in the field.
Knowledge is power and one of these talks may spark a life-changing moment in your life.
Breast Cancer Support Groups Help Your Journey
Breast cancer support groups are very helpful when you are going through the journey of this illness. Some people may feel uncomfortable baring their soul to strangers so it could be difficult sharing with the group. If this sounds like you, consider joining an online support group.
You’ll still get a lot of information and emotional support without having to meet other people physically. You could move your way to in-person meetings if you begin to feel comfortable.
Whatever group you join, it is important to know that you will get out of it what you put in. The more you participate and contribute to your support group the more likely it is that you will find it useful. For more information on thriving, even after a cancer diagnosis, read the rest of our blog.