Stomach Cancer Support Groups

Many people living with cancer–and their families–find cancer support groups helpful. Cancer treatment and all that comes with it can be arduous, and having the support of people who have had experiences similar to yours can help you through the hard times.

Benefits of Support Groups

Support groups are available not only for stomach cancer patients, but also for their family members. Some support groups are informal, possibly run by group members, with members chatting casually and exchanging information. Other support groups have professional facilitators, such as nurses or social workers, and may follow a schedule or syllabus.

Some groups may focus on education and invite healthcare providers to talk about topics of interest. Other support groups focus on providing emotional support. Instead of joining the first support group you find, know what type of support you want and look for a group that meets your needs.

Some of the benefits that you may find in support groups include:

  • Discussing your feelings openly and honestly without upsetting people who may be uncomfortable with your situation
  • Feeling less lonely or isolated Finding out about resources, such as doctors and other alternatives, that you may not have otherwise found
  • Getting a better understanding of cancer treatment and what to expect
  • Getting practical advice and tips on how to cope with treatment
  • Learning about new medical research
  • Reducing distress, depression or anxiety through social contact.

How to Find Cancer Support

In-person, telephone and online cancer support groups are available. A good place to start looking for support is by asking your doctor or hospital. Many hospitals or other healthcare organizations run local support groups for people living with cancer. You can also contact the National Cancer Institute for referrals at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237) or online at LiveHelp.

Online stomach cancer support groups available as of February 2011 include:

  • DailyStrength Message Board
  • eHealth Stomach Cancer Forum
  • HealthBoards – Cancer: Stomach Message Board
  • MDJunction Gastric Cancer Support Group.

Some support groups that are not specific to stomach cancer patients may still be helpful. These include:

  • Cancer Care offers online and telephone support groups, plus in-person support groups in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
  • Cancer Survivors Network, from the American Cancer Society, offers online resources.MyACS, from the American Cancer Society, lets you enter your type of cancer and zip code to find local support.
  • OncoChat is an online chat group.

If you can’t find a support group that meets your needs, consider forming your own. Reach out to other stomach cancer patients in an informal way or contact a professional about setting up a more formal group.

Resources

National Cancer Institute. (n.d.). Sources of support. Retrieved February 18, 2011, from http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/stomach/page13

Mayo Clinic. (2009). Support groups: Make connections, get help. Retrieved February 18, 2011, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/support-groups/MH00002