Help is Available
After a cancer diagnosis, doctors and healthcare professionals may recommend that you and your family reach out to local or national support groups and organizations in order to learn more about your disease, course of treatment, and life while treating cancer. These support groups may provide education seminars and enrichment resources or help establish connections to other individuals who are in similar situations.
What Next?, a support site sponsored by the American Cancer Society (ACS), connects patients, family members, and caregivers based upon information you share with the site – such as what role you play, what type of cancer you have, what stage the cancer is in, the program of treatment you're pursuing, where you live, etc. What Next? and the ACS use this information to help direct you to individuals in your situation, as well as to professional resources and experts who might be helpful as you and your family face the disease. Visit their site at www.whatnext.com, or call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345.
The National Cancer Institute's Cancer Information Service
The National Cancer Institute's Cancer Information Service is a federally funded organization that aims to educate and inform cancer patients and their family members. They can answer questions you may have about the disease, treatment, or side effects of treatment. You can call the Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER to speak with a specialist, or visit their web site, www.cancer.gov, to chat live with a specialist or email questions you may have.
Named for comedienne and actress Gilda Radner, these regional cancer support groups help men, women, and children who are facing cancer find the social and emotional support they need during their journey. (Radner was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1986.) Though the organizations vary from region to region, many offer educational seminars, stress management classes, and lectures aimed to help patients cope with the effects of a cancer battle. These organizations are run on a local level, so ask your hospital's outreach office to connect you to your local club.
Ovarian Cancer Research Fund
The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF) offers free webinars for patients and family members. You can check for upcoming sessions and view past ones at www.ocrf.org.
I Can Cope Classes
The American Cancer Society offers education programs for patients, their family members, and their caregivers. During these I Can Cope classes, you will be presented with a variety of information relevant to the cancer treatment process and your role. These classes include understanding treatment types and handling side effects of treatments; meeting the physical and mental demands of treatment; and coping with fatigue. Contact your local chapter of the American Cancer Society or the national office by calling 1-800-227-2345 or visiting www.cancer.org.
American Childhood Cancer Organization
Parents and loved ones of children facing cancer and treatment can connect with one another, build a personal journey website to share the ups and downs of treatment with your loved ones and other members of the online community, and seek out advocates to help you wade through the treatment process. You can also read other members' blogs and share with them. Call 855-858-2226 or visit www.acco.org for more information.
Lance Armstrong Foundation
Champion cyclist and testicular cancer survivor Lance Armstrong established The Lance Armstrong Foundation as a way to help educate and empower cancer patients, cancer survivors, and their families. The organization provides confidential one-on-one support – you can fill out an online form that will help the foundation direct you to a suitable professional. You can also connect with Lance Armstrong Foundation events in cities and towns near you. Visit www.livestrong.org for more information.
Caregivers also benefit from having a system of support and comfort. Caregivers face many physical and emotional challenges as a result of helping a sick loved one. Connecting with people who experience some of the same challenges and feelings can be rewarding and beneficial for the caregiver, and in turn for the patient. CancerCare can connect family members and caregivers to oncology social workers who can help answer questions and offer advice. CancerCare also offers webinars and online classes to teach family members about the disease and treatment process. Call 1-800-813-HOPE (4673) or visit www.cancercare.org.
- (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/SupportProgramsServices/index
- (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.gildasclubnyc.org/About/history.html
- (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ocrf.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=910:new-ocrf-educational-webinar-series-available&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=241
- (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.org/Get-Help/Get-One-On-One-Support