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What is the value in a cancer support group?

If you have mesothelioma, are a survivor or are doing your best to support a loved one through their diagnosis and treatment, you understand many of the complexities surrounding the disease. The associated thoughts, fears and emotions can vary, and they are often challenging to process.

No matter where you are on your journey, you might benefit from participating in a support group. You may appreciate the opportunity to share space with others in a similar situation. Having the chance to talk openly about your disease may provide necessary encouragement – or at the least the sense that you are understood. 

Unfortunately, many people have a personal connection to cancer. While their stories could be impactful in one way or another, there are some things you might want to consider before becoming an active participant.

How can you choose the best group for you?

Depending on your location, you might have a variety of active support groups in your area. Although your research might result in numerous options, you may want to think about what is most important to you.

Some of the questions you might be wise to consider include:

  • Would an in-person or internet-based group be preferable?
  • Who is allowed to participate in the meetings?
  • What do you hope to gain through this experience?
  • How much would you like to share about your individual situation?
  • Who facilitates the discussions?

Your oncologist may have recommendations about groups that meet in your community. Your desires and perspective will evolve, potentially prompting your exploration of different groups.

Attending your first meeting is nearly always nerve-wracking, but hopefully, your courage to connect with others will provide the support you need to maintain hope. As you join together on your journeys, you will likely inspire them in return.

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