Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Cancer Support is Irreplaceable

Guest post by David Hass

Cancer treatment often brings to mind images of chemotherapy, surgery, and visits to the doctor. While this connection to the staunchly medical is of course logical, a key component to cancer treatment is support. Cancer survivor networks are a source of endless information and strong connections involving people who have survived cancer, are in remission, or are going through cancer treatments. Whether online or in person, the support found through cancer survivor networks is irreplaceable and one of the strongest components in many patients' ability to cope with treatment and knowledge of how to.

From diagnosis onward, the life of a cancer patient is undoubtedly changed. Stanford University's Cancer Institute suggests that sharing and learning personal experience with others is extremely powerful. Cancer survivor networks naturally follow this suggestion, creating connections between people at all different kinds of stages medically and emotionally.

Support groups are also full of practical, and in many cases critical, information. For example, a sufferer of mesothelioma might learn about the top mesothelioma doctor in the country offering a different course of treatment, and then discuss this with a former patient of that doctor. Or a young woman dealing with the enormity of a breast cancer diagnosis can find others in her own age group and beyond to inquire about their own stories of recovery.

These cancer support networks also stress the importance of writing down feelings associated with cancer, and then talking about them. This is one of the best ways to heal personally and in the company of others, as well as discover key issues or patterns of thinking to address. This process is incredibly important, and perhaps the absolute core of the cancer support network framework, enabling self-awareness, meaningful relationships, and the motivation to reach out.

Sharing the conflicting feelings that are bound up in cancer treatment is sometimes painful and confusing, but ultimately it brings people together and fosters a deeper sense of personal strength. This support network is essential for a variety of reasons, offering information, advice, and understanding listeners. Sharing the details of a personal journey with others that have walked similar paths brings unparalleled comfort.

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