By Treven Pyles
Posted on April 07th, 2017
If you are a recently diagnosed cancer patient, you know how radically life changes when you have to focus on your treatment and deal with anxiety, frustration, and stress. If you suffer from mesothelioma or another type of asbestos cancer, joining a cancer support group can be a helpful option.
A cancer diagnosis is undoubtedly one of the most devastating news anyone can receive. Finding out you have mesothelioma, lung cancer, bronchial cancer, esophageal cancer, throat cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, or colorectal cancer is oftentimes incredibly shocking. Daily life changes radically for recently diagnosed cancer patients, as you have to focus primarily on their health and treatment, which brings about a lot of anxiety, frustration, stress, and anger. Struggling with cancer requires tremendous emotional strength and can be very exhausting at times. There are numerous obstacles that may appear along the way, from ineffective treatment and financial troubles to deteriorated personal relationships.
If you suffer from cancer, the support of your family is invaluable and will substantially improve your quality of life. By helping you with practical tasks such as driving you to appointments, cleaning up your house or running errands for you, as well as by taking care of your emotional needs, you will most likely feel less overwhelmed and more appreciated.
However, for many cancer patients, the support of their families may not be enough. Not personally knowing anyone else who endures similar hardship can lead to feelings of isolation. Along with hopelessness and feeling misunderstood, alienation can easily lead to depression. According to the National Cancer Institute, between 15% and 25% of cancer patients are affected by depression.
Joining a cancer support group might prove to be a very beneficial idea. It can help you in plenty of different ways, including:
Support groups are available at many hospitals, so you could begin your search by speaking with a hospital social worker who can inform you about available groups. If finding local face-to-face support groups or traveling is difficult, consider online support groups. We have selected the most reliable and resourceful mesothelioma and other asbestos cancers online support groups you can access right now. Additionally, we have included a series of quality general asbestos and cancer support groups you can join, regardless of your specific diagnosis.
We know that one size does not fit all, and it's important to determine the support services that are most beneficial to you. However, the internet is a great place to meet and get support from people all over the country, even the world, who are dealing with issues similar to yours.
Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation - Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation) is perhaps the most renowned non-profit organization focusing on mesothelioma research. It provides 4 Facebook support groups for mesothelioma patients, their caregivers and their families, one of which is public and you can visit without an invitation. However, you will quickly be able to gain access to the others by contacting one of the members via e-mail or phone and explaining your connection to the disease (you can find additional information on how to join by accessing their website).
The Mesothelioma Center Facebook Group - This group is a great Facebook community dedicated to people with mesothelioma. Thousands of members share the latest information on clinical trials and treatment options and other medical advancements.
DailyStrength - DailyStrength is a website that has multiple support groups. You can join their mesothelioma support group by registering and then logging into the account. DailyStrength also has support groups for other asbestos cancers, such as lung cancer, esophageal cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, stomach cancer, and colon cancer.
Health Boards - Health Message Boards is one of the largest online cancer support groups, which also has a section dedicated to mesothelioma patients and their families. In order to contribute to the discussions, you will have to register. There are large support groups for lung cancer and other types of asbestos cancers on Health Message Boards as well. By registering, you will be able to post and interact with other cancer patients.
Macmillan Cancer Support - Although this cancer charity is from Great Britain, it can be a great source of support for anyone suffering from a malignant disease. To access their mesothelioma discussion board, all you have to do is create an account and then log in. A lung cancer support group can be accessed as well. You can register by clicking the button in the right corner of the page.
Lungevity - Lungevity is perhaps the most resourceful online support group for lung cancer patients. There are over 11,000 members with whom you can share your experiences and it also has a section for caregivers. Signing up is free and very easy.
American Lung Association - The Lung Cancer Survivors support group of the American Lung Association is available through the Inspire social network. It is one of the leading health-related social networks and in order to join the lung cancer support group, you can either create an account directly on the website or log in with your Facebook or Google account.
The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation - You can access this online support group via HealthUnlocked, another health social network. To contribute to the lung cancer support group, you have to register by clicking the Sign-Up button.
Lung Cancer Patient Support Group - Lungcancer.org is a non-profit organization that offers free support services to lung cancer patients, their caregivers, and their families. Their support group is led by an oncology social worker and is available for 15 weeks. In order to join, you will have to register in a specific period. Find more by visiting their site. You can register here.
Alliance for Lung Cancer Advocacy, Support & Education (ALCASE) - This foundation has a Phone Buddies Program that matches you with lung cancer survivors or family members of lung cancer patients.
Cancer Compass - Cancer Compass offers message boards for some of the most common forms of cancer, including lung cancer and esophageal cancer. To share your experiences with the other members, you will have to register by clicking the Join Now button. Join this supportive community to research treatment options and compare stories.
Global Resource for Advancing Cancer Education - GRACE is a non-profit organization that offers valuable, specific information about a wide range of aspects related to lung cancer. By joining their discussion board, you will be able to connect with hundreds of lung cancer patients and find out useful information about your disease. You can register here.
Support for People with Oral and Head and Neck Cancer (SPOHNC) - This organization has over 125 Chapters throughout the United States. You can connect with a local chapter for the opportunity to share diagnosis and treatment experiences with volunteers who have had oral and head and neck cancer.
WebWhispers - This is the largest support group for individual laryngectomee survivors of throat cancers. They offer advice from patients, caregivers, medical professionals and suppliers of special products. You can join for free.
Head and Neck Cancer Alliance - This organization offers the possibility to connect online with head and neck cancer patients and caregivers for support and information. You can join the community by creating an account.
Head and Neck, and Oral Cancer Patient Support Group - This is an online, 15-week support group offered by Cancer Care for people diagnosed with head and neck, and oral cancer who are currently receiving treatment. The group is led by an oncology social worker, and patients share resources and information and give support to each other. To join the group, you will need to complete our online registration process.
CSN Discussion Forum - This is the American Cancer Society's Cancer Survivors Network esophageal discussion forum.
ECAA Facebook - This Facebook page has a discussion wall dedicated to esophageal cancer and over 1000+ members.
Gastric Cancer Foundation - This is an online community where people affected by gastric cancer can share experiences and support each other.
Debbie's Dream Foundation - The foundation offers access to a stomach cancer support group and discussion community.
The No Stomach For Cancer (NSFC) - This network offers emotional support and helps patients and families connect with people with similar health issues.
Colorectal Cancer Alliance - This organization offers access to an online community, Blue Hope Nation, where you can connect with other survivors and caregivers who know what you're going through. The alliance also offers access to five chats moderated by certified Patient & Family Support Navigators.
United Ostomy Associations of America (UOAA ) - Offers an online discussion board supporting people with ostomies & other intestinal diversions. It also offers a useful tool through which people who have or will have surgery and caregivers can find a UOAA Affiliated Support Group in their area, with the possibility to then contact the group leader for meeting locations and more information.
COLONTOWN - This online community has more than 100 private groups on Facebook for colorectal cancer survivors. Groups have a focus that connects all its members.
Smart Patients - This online community offers access to an online colorectal cancer discussion forum where members dealing with cancer share advice and support with other survivors and caregivers. The community also has support groups for other types of asbestos cancer. For example, an esophageal online discussion forum is an online support group for patients and caregivers where they can share help, advice, and information.
American Cancer Society - The Cancer Survivors Network is available through the American Cancer Society, a nationwide voluntary organization dedicated to eliminating cancer. You can discuss diagnostic procedures, treatments and many other issues with its members by creating an account and logging in.
Cancer Hope Network - Cancer Hope Network provides free, confidential support to cancer patients by matching them with a trained volunteer cancer survivor. In order to benefit from this type of support, you can either contact the Cancer Hope Network directly by calling at 877-467-3638 or by filling out the form on their website.
Cancer Support Community - The Cancer Support Community is the largest non-profit network of cancer support worldwide, providing information and support to everyone whose life was impacted by cancer. You can talk with a licensed counselor who can help you with any cancer-related aspect, from emotional support to medical resources. They also have a live chat available Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., Eastern Time.
Living Well With Cancer - This is a cancer support group available through the Inspire health network. You can chat with other members about chemotherapy drugs, how your illness affects you and what your experience with various treatment approaches was. The group requires registration. You can sign up directly or with your Google or Facebook account. The Inspire health network also provides another support group. There are a lot of diverse cancer-related topics on this message board, from alternative cancer treatments to what not to say to a cancer patient. By signing up, you will be able to discuss with people who went through similar struggles as you.
WhatNext - WhatNext provides a great way of connecting with other people struggling with cancer, as well as with American Cancer Society resources if you need medical information. It gives cancer patients the opportunity to share their experiences using a timeline format. The registration process is simple and it will quickly allow you access to everything WhatNext has to offer.
Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) - This is an independent asbestos victim organization. It aims to give people affected by asbestos and concerned citizens a united voice and to raise public awareness about the dangers of asbestos exposure and asbestos cancers.
Live Strong - This organization offers free, confidential and personalized support to patients, caregivers and anyone affected by cancer.
I Had Cancer - People affected by cancer can use this website to share personal experiences and reach out to other survivors with the same disease.