Support Groups for Cancer Patients and Families
Cancer support groups allow people with cancer, as well as those touched by it, to share feelings, experiences, tips and advice. In general, support groups are local and members attend in person. For those coping with rare cancers -- or for those who are unable to travel -- online groups are also available.
Although the majority of cancer patients have the support of their family and friends, the primary reason for joining a support group is to be with others who understand the cancer experience. There has been research done which shows joining a support group can improve both quality of life and survival.
According to the National Cancer Institute, support groups can:
- Help you feel better, more hopeful, and not so alone
- Give you a chance to talk about your feelings and work through them
- Help you deal with practical problems, such as problems at work or school
- Help you cope with side effects of treatment
U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center Support Groups:
- Bladder Cancer Support [pdf]
- Brain Tumor
- Esophagectomy Support
- Head & Neck Oncology Support Group
- Hematology / Oncology
- Women with Advanced Cancer [pdf]
- Young Adults with Cancer
In addition to the above, the Cancer Center also offers:
View / download a the flyer listing all of the support, discussion and educational groups at the U-M Cancer Center.
Community and national partnerships:
In addition to the above, the Cancer Center partners with the Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor. This organization also offers support groups, workshops and lectures on cancer and cancer-related topics. For those who live outside of the Ann Arbor-area, please contact the American Cancer Society: 1-800-227-2345.
For those interested in joining an online community, please view / download our Cancer Online Communities guide, which offers information and recommendations about this type of community.
The University of Michigan has a partnership with CarePages. Carepages offers free patient blogs that connect friends and family during a health challenge. They also offer discussion forums.
As gardeners like to talk about particular roses or perennials they have grown, and golfers like to talk about particular golf courses or their handicaps, cancer patients and their families like to talk to other people who are interested in cancer and cancer treatment.
And that is what a support group is-a chance to talk to other people who are interested in what you are interested in.
Pastoral and spiritual ministries for all denominations are available through U-M Hospital's Patient and Family Services. Two chapels are open 24 hours a day. Learn more at Counseling & Spiritual Services.