No Sister Left Behind

According to BreastCancer.Org:

Many studies have looked at how support groups — whether in-person or online — can help women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and have found that the groups can increase the women’s psychological and emotional well-being.

While not much research has been done on the agencies that provide support, the results of this study make sense. If a woman is worried about paying for her medical care or can’t get to and from a treatment facility, it’s going to add to any feelings of anger, sadness, and anxiousness she’s feeling after being diagnosed with breast cancer. If an agency can help solve some of these issues, it stands to reason that a woman might feel a little better.

If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer and aren’t sure how to build a support network, you might want to try some of these tips:

  • Confide in family and friends. Family and friends can be an important source of support. They can provide comfort, go with you to appointments, help you with daily tasks, and just be there to listen.

  • Find an in-person support group. Ask your doctor, social worker, or patient navigator if there are breast cancer support groups in your area. It can be helpful to meet with others who have been diagnosed and talk openly about worries, fears, and frustrations.

  • Join an online support group. Online communities, such as the Discussion Boards, can offer emotional support at any time of the day or night. Members can post messages and receive answers and advice from others going through similar experiences.

  • Ask your doctor to refer you to an oncology social worker, psychologist, or counselor. Talking with a professional trained in the psychology of cancer can provide valuable support. An expert can help you understand emotions such as fear, anxiety, anger, or depression and give you tools to manage your feelings.

  • Talk to members of your spiritual community. Many people find comfort in praying or meeting with others in faith-based communities. If you don’t regularly meet with a spiritual group, ask if your hospital has a chaplain or other religious leader who can guide you to a faith-based organization.

  • Talk to people at a community-based agency. As this study shows, local agencies can help people diagnosed with breast cancer overcome a number of barriers, including financial problems. Ask your doctor, nurse, social worker, or patient navigator for a list of cancer support agencies in your area. For example, the American Cancer Society has local programs in every state and also has a 24-hour, toll-free cancer help line that is available in more than 200 languages.