Thyroid Cancer Diagnosis Support Groups

Dealing with cancer is one of life’s most difficult challenges, even when the type of cancer in question has high cure rates. That’s why so many cancer support groups have been formed. They’re invaluable in providing support for cancer patients and their families when it’s most needed.

If you or someone you care about has been diagnosed with cancer of the thyroid, connecting with a thyroid cancer support group can help you though this difficult period.

What Cancer Support Groups Can Do

Support groups help patients and their loved ones in many different ways. For example, the Thyroid Cancer Survivor’s Association (ThyCa) offers e-mail support groups, local support groups and a person-to-person network. The Experience Project maintains a web site called “I Have Thyroid Cancer,” featuring YouTube videos of members sharing their stories.

These many forms of communication provide both emotional and practical benefits.

Going through diagnosis and treatment for cancer of the thyroid can be emotionally draining. Some of the key emotional benefits support groups provide include:

  • Giving patients a chance to help one another
  • Helping patients realize they’re not alone
  • Offering the friendly ear of someone who knows what thyroid cancer is like
  • Providing inspiration.

Cancer support groups offer participants a wealth of practical and real-world advice based on other members’ experiences. Some of the tips and information given are things that only a cancer survivor would know. Examples are:

  • Clinical trial updates
  • Helpful resources
  • Information on public policy
  • Strategies for dealing with treatment
  • The latest opinion on medical treatments
  • The latest research
  • Tips on returning to “normal life” after cancer.

Finding the Group That’s Right for You

With so many support groups out there, you may have to narrow down the list to find one that meets your unique needs. You may want to consider:

  • Informational vs. emotional support: Some patients go to cancer support groups seeking hard facts about living with their disease. Others seek comforting words and emotional support.
  • Online or in-person: Some patients are content with virtual communication, while others need face-to-face contact.
  • Professional expertise vs. peer support: Some patients seek the expertise of medical professionals, while others prefer to connect with fellow thyroid cancer patients.

Focusing on Cancer of the Thyroid

When you join one of the many cancer support groups available, you’re tapping into the knowledge base of people who have already walked a mile or more in your shoes. The need to explain technical details is eliminated, the opportunities for sharing blossom and the specifics are bound to be useful.

Here are examples of topics that thyroid cancer support groups address:

  • Coping with fatigue
  • Getting used to regular testing
  • How to transition from being a cancer patient to being healthy again
  • How to deal with the emotional effects of thyroid cancer
  • What it’s like to take thyroid replacement hormones.

Resources

ThyCa:Thyroid Cancer Survivor’s Association staff. (nd). E-mail support groups. Retrieved March 18, 2010, from the Thyroid Cancer Survivor’s Association Web site: http://www.thyca.org/email.htm.

Experience Project staff. (n.d.) I have thyroid cancer – guides. Retrieved March 18, 2010, from the Experience Project Web site:http://www.experienceproject.com/guides/What-Is-It-Like-To-Have-Thyroid-Cancer/99819.

Shomon, M. (n.d.) Thyroid disease community and support: Listservs and support forums. Retrieved March 18, 2010, from the thyroid-info-Com Web site: http://www.thyroid-info.com/community.htm.

Randall, M.C. (2003). Support groups: What they are and what they do. Retrieved March 18, 2010, from the Genetic Health Web site: http://www.genetichealth.com/Resources_Support_Groups_What_They_Are_and_ What_They_Do.shtml.