When to Look for Cancer Support Groups

When to Look for Cancer Support Groups

There’s nothing fun or easy about getting a cancer diagnosis. Most people will face a feeling of dread at best and that’s without even mentioning the flood of questions that arise in the mind. It’s not pleasant to wonder how things will function after you’re gone even though you will most likely survive. It can be hard to be realistic without slipping into pessimism in such a situation. It’s just human nature. One thing you should not worry about is when it is the right time to start looking into cancer support groups. Today we’re going to look into this very important subject and see if we can help you get a better idea of when and where to look. 

How Does a Cancer Support Group Help?

Some people might not quite understand the utility of a cancer support group. That’s totally okay, if you’ve never had a need for a support group it makes sense that the benefits could be a mystery. Essentially, a good cancer support group will be there to help give you the support you need the most during your fight with cancer. Many people find it therapeutic to be around other people dealing with the same thing while they walk the road of recovery. Everyone’s different so not every type of cancer support group will work for everyone, which is exactly why there’s more than one type. 

The most commonly known type of cancer support group acts kind of like group therapy. People show up and talk about their feelings about the situation and try to find some comfort in one another. This type of group is helpful for a lot of people, especially those that have the need to be around people that can fully grasp what they’re going through. Extroverts especially thrive in these groups, but this type of group isn’t for everyone. There are a lot of people that don’t like to hear about other people’s problems or don’t like to share their own with groups.

For those that wouldn’t enjoy a group therapy session, there’s another type of cancer support group. This kind of group focuses more on solving tangible issues that could result after you’re gone. Things like how will your medical bills be paid, how your family will be taken care of, and any other arrangements that need to be made. This type of group works really well for people that would find more peace of mind in having a plan in place after they’re gone and can also give you a good deal of hope to help you get through your fight against cancer.

Both types of groups have people from all parts of their fight against cancer, ranging from people who just got their diagnosis to people that have already won their fight but want to give back. Some people even go to both types of groups because that’s what would work best for them. It’s important when you look for groups that you think about what would work best for you. Everyone is different and your path to recovery is highly personal, so try to keep in mind that what you need is of paramount importance here.

The Timeline to Start Looking for a Cancer Support Group

The first question we should look at for this section is “is there a right time to look for a cancer support group?” and the answer for that is a little cloudy. Many people would say that it’s best to start looking for a cancer support group the first moment that you can after you get your diagnosis, but that’s not exactly feasible for everyone for a number of reasons. There are even people that never go to a cancer support group because they don’t feel like it’s right for them, and that’s also a perfectly valid choice. You’reno means required to participate in a support group.

So when should you start looking? Whenever you feel it’s right. If that means that you’re searching for a good group the moment you get the diagnosis, that’s great. If that means that you don’t start searching for months because that’s how long it takes you to decide that it’s a good idea, that’s also great. There’s no real right time to start looking for a cancer support group because there’s not really a one size fits all solution for cancer patients getting the support that they need. Everyone’s a little different, so you should be sure to approach this when you’re ready.

With that in mind, once you do feel ready it’s a good idea to go for it immediately. The more quickly you’re able to find a good cancer support group, the sooner you’ll be able to get the help that you need to help you in any way you see fit. It can be scary to reach out for help. Many people have it engrained in their minds that they shouldn’t ask for help because there’s some sort of shame attached to it, but sometimes the bravest thing you can do is admit that you can’t do it alone. 

How to Pick the Right Cancer Support Group for You

Cancer Support GroupsUCSF Health

There are a lot of things to keep in mind when picking the perfect support group for your needs. The first thing you should think of is what type of group will provide you with support most efficiently. Do you do better talking about your feelings and listening to other people talk about their feelings, do you need a more hands-on approach to things that could turn into huge issues for your loved ones, or do you need a combination of both? After that, there are a few other things that you should try to think of. 

The next most important thing is thinking about how frequently you’re able or willing to meet up with a group. Some people enjoy going to groups weekly or even twice a week, and others prefer monthly meet-ups. You can find groups that meet up at just about any frequency depending on where you live, so there’s a good chance that you’ll at least be able to get a group that almost fits your needs for this in most cases. Most groups are understanding if you can’t make it to every meeting, but it is good to ask if attendance is required for each meeting first. It’s rare that it is, but it’s good information to have.

Next, you’ll want to determine if you’re willing to pay for your cancer support group. Most groups are free, but some require a fee. If a group you want to go to has a fee that you don’t want to pay it could be wise to ask your insurance company if they’ll cover it. Some insurance plans do cover cancer support group meetings, so it’s worth a shot. Fortunately, most of the time there are plenty of free groups so your budget shouldn’t act as a barrier between you and attending at least close to the perfect support group for you.

After you’ve figured all of that out, it’s gonna be time for you to look into support groups. This part can be a little intimidating for some, but the process itself isn’t all that difficult. If you need help, just ask someone who’s taking care of you. There’s a good chance that they’ll be happy to help you find a good support group and navigate any confusing websites you may use. 

You can find many support groups in a lot of different ways. The hospital you were diagnosed with likely has a registry of local support groups for you to choose from. You can also check online for websites that list different support groups. Many of these websites will allow you to searchzip code and filter out any support group types that you don’t think would properly serve you. This feature is incredibly important for you because it saves you time from having to talk to the organizer of every group to find out what exactly they do there. 

Make Sure You Get the Support You Need

Cancer is hard. There are a lot of tough things that you’ll need to deal with right upfront and for the entire time you’re fighting it. Fortunately, there are many support groups around that would be happy to help support you through these difficult times. Everyone deserves to feel like they aren’t alone. There are multiple paths you can take to getting the support you need, and none of them are too difficult. Sometimes the only thing you can do in scary situations is reach out for help, and there is plenty of support out there for cancer patients. 

***On the Aepios platform, members gain support from peers nationwidesharing valuable real-world experiences, treatments, and outcomes for an expanding number of medical conditions.***