After Diagnosis: A Guide for Patients and Families

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What other resources do I have?

Your health care team will be your first source of information and support, but there are many places where you can get more help when you need it. Hospital- or clinic-based support services are an important part of your care. These might include nurse or social work services, financial aid, nutritional advice, rehab, or spiritual help.

Some people worry that asking for support is a sign of weakness. They may feel that they need to “be strong” and handle things on their own. You don’t have to be alone to be strong. Emotional support is needed at every stage of the cancer journey, and it can come from many places. Along with your family and friends, consider other sources of support, such as your health care team, support groups, and your place of worship. Asking for support is one way you can stay in control of your situation. Talking about what’s going on and how you feel can bring comfort and reassurance.

It can be awkward to talk about cancer, and sometimes people worry that they will upset you by bringing up the topic or talking about your illness. You may need to take the first step.

Individual or group counseling or support groups can help you cope with the stress of your illness. Many people with cancer find it easier to talk with people who are going through experiences like theirs. Support groups can also give you useful information about your cancer and its treatment. If you’re not able to get to a group near you, there are online support groups like the American Cancer Society Cancer Survivors Network®. This is a free, online support network for cancer survivors all across the country. You can access it at http://csn.cancer.org. Community agencies can sometimes help with the many demands cancer places on families and friends. And all of these resources may also be helpful for people who are supporting loved ones with cancer.

A person with cancer is never alone. There are people who care and who are ready to help. For more information about cancer or any of the other topics addressed here, contact us at 1-800-227-2345 or find us at www.cancer.org.


Last Medical Review: 03/06/2014
Last Revised: 04/07/2014