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Support Groups

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

Education:

  • 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:

  • For receptive patients. Decreases emotional distress, nausea, pain, and anxiety
  • 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

Psychological Support:

  • 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

Self-Help Group:

  • 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

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