How can a support group help you?
Cancer support groups gives you the chance to talk to others who can understand what you are going through. Joining a group is simple - you just need to find the the right one for you.
What to expect from a group
I think it helped me because I no longer felt like a victim. I felt like I was empowered like I could actually do something
Beverley Birritteri, Keeping Abreast support group.
Each group is very different, but you can expect a warm welcome from someone who has been in the group for some time, be introduced to other members, and have the opportunity to talk about yourself and your experience of cancer.
You're not obliged or expected to talk about anything that you don't wish to discuss, and for some it takes a few visits before feeling comfortable enough to talk about personal matters.
Some groups consist of a few people who meet regularly in someone's front room; others are much larger and may have premises or a drop-in centre. Most groups provide training for the members or volunteers in listening skills so they can give you their undivided, non-judgmental, caring attention.
As part of the meeting, there may be an activity, a meeting, social event or a talk from am invited guest. You may be able to access support services through the group, including complementary therapies, counselling or bereavement support.
Most groups are free, but some may charge for tea and biscuits or welcome donations for the complementary therapies or counselling they offer.
Find a group to suit you
Most groups cover all types of cancer, and also welcome carers, family and friends of people with cancer. The groups may help them come to terms with what is happening, how best to help and how to take care of themselves as well.
Other groups are for people with a specific type of cancer, such as a breast care group or a laryngectomy club.
You can search for support groups by selecting your county to see all the groups in your area, or narrow your search by using a town or specific keywords, eg: 'breast', 'bowel' or 'complementary therapy'. Please note: Postcodes will not return a search.
You can also speak to a cancer support specialist or to your GP or Macmillan nurse to find out about local support groups.
Every group is very different, so if there is more than one group in your area it may be helpful to contact a selection of them to see which one suits you best.