You are Not Alone: Cancer Support Groups Across the Globe

Are you a cancer patient having a hard time dealing with your current situation? Are you a survivor wanting to inspire others who are fighting this difficult battle with the big C? Do you have a loved one needing support and comfort from those who are going through the same plight?

The journey with cancer need not be taken solo. It is during these trying times that cancer patients need all the love and support they can get from the people around them. The big C may be a massive cross to bear, but it need not be that burdensome to carry if you are sharing its weight with others who are in the same boat.

There are a lot of support groups out there who can help in coping with cancer and in understanding this arduous journey. Support groups exist so they can bring together people who are willing to share their experiences so others may learn from them. Studies have shown that being in a support group may help those with cancer feel less isolated, depressed, and weary.

There are different types of support groups a cancer patient can choose to join. There are self-help groups moderated by the group members themselves, professional-led groups facilitated by an experienced or qualified social worker or psychologist, informational groups headed by a competent facilitator who usually invite speakers, particularly doctors, to give advice.

We’ve prepared a round-up of the different cancer support groups across the globe because in this journey with cancer, you do not have to be alone.

    1. Macmillan Cancer Support

Macmillan Support Group is a UK-based charity that brings together a community of cancer patients, professionals, and volunteers who want to seek help, donate, get involved, or reach out to someone with cancer. It was established way back 1911 by Douglas Macmillan, with the aim of “providing information on recognizing, preventing and treating cancer to patients, doctors and members of the public.”1

Macmillan Support Group addresses the needs of cancer patients in terms of practical and emotional support, as well as financial aid. It also funds nurses and other health and social care professionals across UK.

    1. American Cancer Society

American Cancer Society is a global health organization that aims to save lives and lessen cancer-caused suffering through their advocacy of helping cancer patients get well, fight back, and gain easy access to quality health care. It was founded back in 1913 in New York City with the main goal of raising public awareness by publishing articles and monthly bulletins containing information about cancer. They also recruited doctors all throughout the country to help them enlighten the public.

Presently, American Cancer Society has several community programs and services for cancer patients. For example, they have their Road to Recovery Program where they provide transportation for cancer patients who do not have their own vehicles or who cannot drive themselves to a doctor’s appointment. They also have online community support groups like Cancer Survivors Network, I Can Cope Online, and MyLifeLine.org.2

    1. Susan G. Komen

Susan G. Komen is a non-profit organization that is fervent on fighting breast cancer across the globe. It was born out of its founder Nancy G. Brinker’s promise to her dying sister that she would exert all her efforts to curtail breast cancer. What started with $200 has now developed into the world’s biggest source of nonprofit funds with $2.6 billion to boot.3

    1. Nepal Cancer Support Group

Nepal Cancer Support Group is a non-government organization that is intent on promoting awareness with regards to cancer prevention, treatment, and counselling, by gathering cancer survivors and their relatives, nurses and doctors, social workers, volunteers, and interested persons to join their community. Established in 2010 and led by Medical Oncologist Sudeep Shrestha of Nepal, they have been conducting screening camps and collaborating with different agencies local and abroad to provide training for oncology professionals. Some of their major projects include the Cancer Awareness program in association with Global Cancer Trust, India and Agrawal Sewa Kendra, Nepal at Agrawal Bhawan, Kathmandu on April 10, 2012 and their Free Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening camp in Association with Nepal Cancer Institute and Research Center at Harisiddhi, Lalitpur Nepal on 7 July 2012.4

    1. CanCare, Inc.

CanCare is a non-profit support group composed of cancer survivors and their families, health professionals, and volunteers who provide practical and emotional support to those who are in need. It was founded in 1990 by a survivor of colon cancer, Anne Shaw Turnage.

Five times a year, CanCare, Inc. trains its volunteers to prepare them in dealing with cancer patients physically, emotionally, and spiritually. CanCare Inc. also provides support for cancer patients and family members. It also has its hospital visitation program where volunteers join the medical team and offer emotional support by visiting cancer patients in hospitals on a regular basis.5

    1. Livestrong

Livestrong is a worldwide cancer support organization that brings people and different communities together to help fight cancer. It was founded in 1997 by Lance Armstrong after he was diagnosed with advanced testicular cancer.

Notably, it has served more than 2.5 million in 2012 through its free, one-on-one cancer support services.

Presently, it has several community programs such as Livestrong at the YMCA which aims to encourage the importance of exercise after cancer diagnosis; Livestrong Promotores Program which is designed to educate and increase the health workers’ (Promotores) with regards to the physical, emotional, and practical needs of cancer patients; Livestrong at School which “offers age-appropriate lessons for grades K-12 to help educators teach their students about cancer in a way that is inspiring and empowering.”6

These are only some of the many cancer support groups in the world today. There are a lot of people and communities out there who are willing to help. The message is clear: If you are a cancer survivor, you are not alone.

References:

  1. Macmillan Cancer Support. Organization and History. 2016; http://www.macmillan.org.uk/about-us/who-we-are/organisation-history.html#248128
  2. American Cancer Society, Inc. Online Communities and Support. 2016; http://www.cancer.org/treatment/supportprogramsservices/onlinecommunities/index
  3. Susan G. Komen. 2016; http://ww5.komen.org/AboutUs/AboutUs.html
  4. Nepal Cancer Support Group. 2016; https://www.facebook.com/pg/Nepal-Cancer-Support-Group-138572882843260/about/?ref=page_internal
  5. CanCare, Inc. What We Do. 2016; http://cancare.org/about-us/
  6. Livestrong. LIVESTRONG at School. 2015; https://www.livestrong.org/what-we-do/program/livestrong-at-school