Health and Wellness

Why Breast Cancer Support Groups Could Be an Important Part of Your Cancer Journey

Posted by Joan Wolochin, L.M.S.W., OSW-C on Oct 28, 2015 9:00:00 AM

Unless you’ve gone through breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, you can’t imagine the physical and emotional road that is traveled on this difficult journey.  Hopefully, you’ll never experience it. But if you are one of the 1-in-6 people who do have to endure this, you’ll need support. That’s why breast cancer support groups like the one at Kelsey-Seybold are so important. Your best support comes from people who have “walked in your shoes."

A Safe Place

A cancer diagnosis can be an extremely tumultuous and fearful time. Support groups aim to provide an environment conducive to talking through problems and expressing concerns.  In fact, the most important thing to our group at Kelsey-Seybold is that we are a safe, confidential and supportive environment.  Patients are surrounded by people who understand what a cancer diagnosis means to both patients and their families. It is vital to be able to openly share thoughts, issues and emotions without fear of judgment. 

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Taking Care of the Mind

Your doctors are taking care of your physical needs.  A breast cancer support group helps to address the many emotional aspects related to this diagnosis.  Mental health can be as important as physical heath, especially during a cancer diagnosis and treatment.  Many of our support group members say they instantly feel like part of a family or feel as if they’ve been part of the group forever. They are often able to leave after the first meeting feeling relieved that they were able to express their emotions in such a caring, loving environment.  This type of stress reduction is vitally important in any treatment journey.   

Not only do we try to help other women emotionally, but we often bring in speakers to educate and entertain our members as well. You’d be surprised at the positive impact a nutritionist can have when they come in and talk about which foods are better for you during and after breast cancer treatment, or how much of a difference there is when a comedian comes in to bring the “lighter side” to the group. 

Express Yourself

Talking isn’t the only way to express your feelings. Being part of a breast cancer support group like the one at Kelsey-Seybold can be instrumental in learning different ways to share your emotions. Breast cancer is often reported as the most difficult type of cancer for a woman to go through, simply because there is so much pressure from society associated with a woman’s identity.Finding ways to express pain, anger, fear, confusion or even happiness and hope is crucial. The KSC Breast Cancer Support Group has open dialogue, and we strive to find different avenues of expression for our members. We’ve painted, we’ve written and recorded songs and we’ve made jewelry. Effective breast cancer support groups strive to find different media to allow you to find your voice.

 

 

 

If you’re going through breast cancer, don’t do it alone. The Kelsey-Seybold Breast Cancer Support Group meets the third Tuesday of each month. For more information, visit the Kelsey-Seybold Breast Cancer Support Group page.

 

Wolochin_Joan 

Joan Wolochin is a founder of the breast cancer support group and is a certified oncology social worker in The Cancer Center at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic.

 

Topics: breast cancer, breast cancer support group, cancer support group

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