Structured cancer support groups: A valuable piece of the cancer care mosaic

Sandra Freedhoff

Abstract


Individuals with cancer and their caregivers may be taught a variety of strategies to cope with the stresses associated with the uncertainties of the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. This article describes a cancer education and support program to teach these strategies. Program facilitators enhance the sharing of ideas and problem solving among participants, provide resource information, and establish a "caring, warm and safe" environment. The success of the group was reported by the participants in that they reached a new plateau in coping with problems related to their cancer and other areas of life, practised relaxation to reduce their stress, and had a feeling that they were not alone in their struggle. Structured support groups make a valuable contribution to the mosaic of cancer care.

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