Feeling alone and unsupported?
Looking for more information about your cancer?
Want to share your experiences with others who have gone through a similar experience?
Do you enjoy the opportunity to meet others in a group?
Cancer support groups could be what you’re looking for!
Support groups provide a safe place for people affected by cancer to come together to support each other, develop friendships, share ideas and thoughts, obtain information from health professionals and each other, and learn coping skills in a non-judgmental and caring environment.
We can help connect you to local support groups in your area. Call 13 11 20 for Information & Support.
Why join a support group?
Cancer Council NSW research has shown that people who take part in support groups have lower levels of anxiety and depression than those who don’t.
The Fact Sheet: What we know about cancer support groups shows the research that identifies the many reasons people choose to join and stay in a support group. These include:
The sense of belonging and of being supported
People can often feel isolated and unsupported when they are diagnosed with cancer. By joining a support group people can develop a sense of belonging and feel comfortable enough to share their feelings with people who have had similar experiences. Groups develop a sense of community and this can assist with the psychological effects of cancer and may improve their ability to cope.
“In a support group, you can talk to somebody about it and you can meet up with people who may be worse off than yourself. The isolation is gone.” – Women’s cancer support group member, rural NSW
“People in our group say it makes them feel like they’re not on their own, and that the other members are a great support.” – Women’s cancer support group member, rural NSW
Many people who join support groups find that they give as much as they receive, which raises their confidence and their ability to cope.
Inside a support group people feel protected and safe to express their feelings. It is often the case that people have to hide their feelings outside of the group to protect others.
“I wanted a place where I could really talk about how I felt and I didn’t have to worry about hurting someone or protecting them.” – Prostate cancer support group member, metropolitan NSW
People join support groups to not only look for encouragement and optimism but for inspiration, hope for survival and quality of life. Many support groups provide access to a range of highly qualified speakers.
Although many speakers will be health professionals, many other people can contribute to the group such as artists, writers, yoga instructors, massage therapists. By joining a support group people can feel empowered through their increased knowledge and understanding of cancer, research and treatments.
“Having guest speakers allows the group members to have access to information that they may otherwise miss out on, and it is also delivered in person, which makes a big difference. It’s good for the group to hear from experts so they can be empowered to make decisions.” – Young woman with breast cancer, Metropolitan NSW
A place to relax
Support groups provide a safe place for people to relax and be at ease with others who understand what they are going through. They can also allow an environment where people can feel comfortable to cry, laugh and joke – and just be themselves!
“Support groups are not only a place for the serious business of cancer – to vent feelings and frustrations – but also a place for laughter and having fun. We need a place to let our hair down and cry. We also need to laugh until we feel good and feel like just another person, not a cancer victim.” – Cancer support group member, rural NSW
Most cancer support groups are community led, with support and training from Cancer Council.
For an alternative to a face -to -face group, Cancer Council provides telephone support groups for specific cancers:
If you are interested in how we assist cancer support groups and support group leaders click here.