When Marie was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer, she knew she had a great team on her side. She loved her doctors and nurses and felt well-informed. She knew she could ask any questions she had at any time about her surgery and treatment and they would be there to answer them. But Marie also wanted to talk to other patients who had been diagnosed with breast cancer and learn about their journeys, while she shared hers. What Marie needed was a patient support group.
According to its definition, a patient support group is defined as “a group of people with common experiences and concerns who provide emotional and moral support for one another.” Marie was also a mom of young children, so she wanted to talk to other mothers who were going through breast cancer and still had to care for children. Here are some of her options.
In-person support social groups
Marie could attend an in-person support social group. They meet weekly or monthly at a hospital or medical setting and can be led by a medical professional or social worker. Other in-person support groups might be led by patients and meet in a church, school or even a home setting. Here, Marie could meet other breast cancer patients who live right in her own town.
Find a local support group by asking your doctor’s office or local hospital or conducting a search of “breast cancer support groups in my area” or “breast cancer support groups near me.”
Ask your physician’s office if they can connect you with a past patient in a similar situation. Many have a list of patients readily available who have volunteered to be an advocate to help others.
Online patient support groups: However, between being a mom of young ones and still recovering from her surgery and cancer treatment, Marie realized that she doesn’t have a lot of time to attend in-person meetings. She is also tired and wants to spend any free time that she does have at home relaxing. An online patient support group might be a better fit for Marie. She can log in whenever the kids are sleeping or at school and post to other breast cancer patients from the comfort of her own couch.
There are free Facebook groups, such as the DiepCJourney ~ Breast Reconstruction after Mastectomy group that we have profiled here before, where Marie can talk to other patients who have had the same surgery. She can vent, ask for advice or just get tips on how to handle the day-to-day life of being a cancer patient. She also found a Facebook group for Triple Negative Breast Cancer patients that she joined as well. She can check in any time of the day and even on her phone when she’s waiting to pick the kids up from school or at one of their activities. Just knowing the group is there whenever she needs it has made Marie feel much better about her journey.
Telephone patient support groups
Finally, there are also telephone support groups that meet either weekly or monthly. A telephone support group connects a patient with medical professionals and fellow patients who cannot normally be together or perhaps have a physical limitation. Some patients also do not have computer access for an online support group.
Thanks to the right patient support groups, Marie feels less alone in her journey and has made some great friends that she can talk to. Remember, talking to other patients is great for support, advice, and ideas. However, do not try any medical advice before consulting with your doctor’s office. You do not want to jeopardize your own medical situation for advice that might be incorrect or which can affect you differently because of your own medical history.
Here’s a list that can get you started on researching breast cancer support groups. https://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/WhatisSocialSupport.html#Finding-Local–Online-and-Telephone-Support