Support Groups for Cancer Patients & Survivors
When people are diagnosed with cancer there are many things that can happen. Some things that you might feel are:
- Shock: “What?? No!”
- Denial/Disbelief: “It’s a mistake, those aren’t MY results.”
- Withdrawal: “I can’t/don’t want to talk to anyone.”
- Isolation: “Nobody understands.”
- Anger: “*#@^!!! How come he/she is okay and I’m not? They’ve never looked after themselves while I’ve always eaten well, I exercise, I don’t smoke or drink - it’s not fair!”
- Body image issues: “Will I look like a freak?”
- - around sexuality and intimacy: “Will my husband/wife/partner/anyone ever desire me again?”
- - around finances: “What if I can’t work during treatment/ever again? How will I/my family survive without my income?
- - about the future: “Am I going to die?”
- Grief: “All my/our plans for the future have gone up in smoke; I might never be able to have children; I’m not going to live to see my kids get married or have their children; I’ll never get to see Paris/Rome/Instanbul now.”
Whatever you feel is normal - you’ve just had a shock. Joining a support group where everyone can share everything they feel with people going through a similar experience can be helpful for you to process everything. This then helps you get to a place of acceptance and begin to think about where you go from here.
There is a perception for those who are told after active treatment has finished that they can look forward to many more years of living that life will go back to how it was before cancer. Sadly this can never happen but it doesn’t mean that you can’t go on to build a wonderful new life. Attending a support group can help you to look to the future and work out how you can make this enriching and rewarding.
Even those who have a terminal prognosis can be helped to come to terms with this in a support group and find ways to have the best quality of life that’s possible.
Patients & Survivors’ Life Force support groups are held weekly in the Eastern Suburbs and the Inner West. Phone to find out more: Caro: 02 9564 3289 | 0425 296 698
Carers’ Support Group
A cancer diagnosis is a devastating experience for patients but it is also extremely stressful for the people who later become the primary source of support and care – usually families and loved ones. Carers' wellbeing may have an impact on the wellbeing of the people they are supporting.
More than 130,000 Australians have been diagnosed with cancer in 2016 so far and this has a flow-on effect through the entire community. Taking care of a loved one diagnosed with cancer is extremely demanding and can place a heavy burden on the emotional and physical resources of partners, family members and friends.
Life Force recognises that caring for the physical and emotional needs of carers is an essential part of caring for cancer patients. Attending a support group can help to reduce the distress of carers and enable them to give the best possible support to someone diagnosed with cancer.
Research conducted by Sydney University and the Cancer Council NSW revealed that depression and anxiety are widespread among carers, at an even higher level than that experienced by cancer patients. The impact this has on the quality of life of carers can then also affect the quality of care they are able to provide to a loved one with cancer. It is vital for carers to find support for themselves to help them through these difficult times.
Other research findings have shown that a far greater proportion of female carers report higher levels of anxiety and depression and have more unmet needs than men who are caring for a person with cancer. However, there is also evidence that men suffer in silence and don’t seek help.
By attending a carers’ support group both men and women can find non-judgmental assistance from other people going through a similar experience.
The Life Force Carer’s group meets weekly in the Inner West. Phone to find out more: Caro: 02 9564 3289 | 0425 296 698