Breast Cancer in women

Support groups

Many women discussed their reasons for joining support groups, and stressed the importance of talking to others who had been through a similar experience. Sharing concerns, fears, information and practical support were some of the key reasons for women being involved in self help groups. A few women also mentioned the informative occasional talks given at group meetings by surgeons and breast care nurses, and a few women discussed their involvement in support group fashion shows.

Some women said that talking with other people helped to dispel myths and reduce fears about breast cancer and its treatments. One woman described her involvement in setting up a self help group over twenty years ago, and another discussed running a support group aimed at younger women affected by breast cancer. One younger woman explained that her disappointment with treatment had encouraged her to start up a support group on her return to her native Africa.

One woman described the support she received from her group with form filling and financial concerns. Another praised the information and advice she received, but also described having to face the death of group members from time to time.

Several women explained that they had not joined support groups because they had plenty of support from family and friends. Others said that they preferred not to dwell on their experience of breast cancer or to make it a main focus after recovery.

Some women doubted the benefits of support groups or felt they were not the sort to join them. Other women had not known of any local groups when first diagnosed and several said that, although they were aware of local self-help groups, other commitments meant that they were too busy to join.

Several women that had not joined a support group had kept in touch and formed friendships with other patients they had met in hospital, which they found supportive. One woman described how a support group she was involved in had folded, and a few women did not join support groups because of the travel or cost involved. Two women found psychotherapy and writing, respectively, to be outlets for their emotions, negating the need to join a support group.

Last reviewed May 2015.
Last updated June 2010.

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