Support Groups and Online Support for Breast Cancer
Support groups offer you emotional support as well as informational support. They give you insight into possible modes of treatment as well as guide you about how to communicate with health care providers.
Online support groups have discussion forums where you can read what others have to say about coping with the cancer and how they deal with side effects, hear their experiences and share your story, and of course get the support you need. Listening to a life altering story can be very inspiring. Some online support groups allow you to blog about your unique concerns or keep an online personal journal where you record your reflections, experiences and comments.
An evaluation of internet support group for women with primary breast cancer indicated its usefulness in reducing depression, cancer-related trauma, and perceived stress in these women. Another study found evidence that a supportive group intervention for breast cancer patients results in psychological benefits. The women had significantly lower mood disturbance, better coping strategies and self-esteem. Interestingly, another study found that group support interventions are helpful for women with breast cancer who lacked support from their partners or physicians but harmful for women who had high levels of support.
In the end, support group benefits far outweigh its drawbacks. You need not imbibe each and every piece of advice you are given. As an adult, you can always sieve through the information you get. Use these forums to get a second opinion, or even a third one. In the process, you might even be able to make good friends.