For a list of GCS affiliated support groups, click here.
The Goals of Cancer Support Groups:
- Decrease patients’ sense of alienation by allowing them to talk to others in a similar situation.
- Reduce anxiety about treatment.
- Assist in clarifying misperceptions and misinformation.
- Lessen feelings of isolation, helplessness, and neglect.
Types of Support Groups
- Important in early stages of diagnosis and treatment.
- Decreases anxiety, depression, hostility.
- Provides information about the disease.
- Provides information about health-enhancing behaviors (e.g., diet, exercise).
- Dispels myths and misconceptions about treatments.
Behavioral/Coping Skills Training
- Important early in diagnosis for receptive patients. Decreases emotional distress, nausea, pain, and anxiety.
- Can be useful for failed treatment, especially in high anxiety, hostile patients, or those with poor family dynamics.
- Provides information and techniques on stress management.
- Provides information and training on relaxation techniques such as guided imagery and biofeedback.
- Provides information on hypnosis.
- Provides techniques to enhance coping skills with goals of increasing optimism, flexibility, resourcefulness, and practicality.
- Important at any stage of illness.
- Provides support from a professional group leader and group members.
- Associated with better adjustment to illness.
- Provides awareness of cognitive, emotional, social, and behavioral issues in patients with cancer.
- Provides format for patient to be heard.
- Provides opportunity for psychological intervention.
- Provides reassurance.
- Reinforces coping mechanisms.
- Serve as a safe environment for exploring lifestyle changes caused by cancer.
- Led by nonprofessional, patient and family members who meet to exchange common experiences.
- Provides mutual help and support.
- Offers sharing in the collective spirit of common experiences.
- Offers information exchange in a nonthreatening environment.
- Develops coping mechanism for shared goals.