Positivity through times of uncertainty is important, but it can be hard to find a positive mindset in some more dire situations. If you’re a cancer patient, you might have heard some good things about cancer support groups online or in person.
These can be incredible tools that can help you through your fight against cancer, but how would they do that? Many people have heard about cancer support groups but haven’t done a lot of research. It’s honestly for the best that most people haven’t done the research, the more people don’t have to the better.
That being said, if you’re currently in your fight against cancer you probably want to find something to help you establish hope in the face of adversity. It can be hard to be in a situation that feels so hopeless without any real outlet to help you.
So, with that in mind, could an online support group help you feel more positive during your fight against cancer, or is this just more smoke in mirrors? Let’s take a look at the facts so that we can come to our own informed decision together, for better or worse.
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Moral Support With New Found Friends
One of the biggest things that cancer patients struggle with is morale. It can be easy for someone to retreat within themselves and get more and more hopeless because of their situation. Unfortunately, this tactic doesn’t make anything any easier.
When you get into a support group, you’re surrounded by people that are dealing with a lot of the same things. That on its own can make things a little easier because you’re making connections. Let’s look at a few of the biggest benefits of these support groups:
- Positivity through numbers
- When you have a lot of people in the same group dealing with the same thing, it can be easier to cope with your situation.
- Feelings of hopefulness
- There are all sorts of people that attend cancer groups. There are people that just got diagnosed and people who have already recovered from cancer. Many people feel that being able to see all sides of the journey make it easier to deal with their own situation.
- Creating bonds with other humans beings
- Humans are aggressively social creatures, and that means that we can relieve a lot of stress from socializing. By being in a group of other cancer patients, you can build relationships with people and help feel like you belong somewhere.
- Stress relief
- Figuring out the solution to your emotional or logistical problems can help relieve a lot of stress, and stress isn’t great for cancer treatments so that is a great thing for patients.
There are a lot of other benefits for these kinds of programs, but these are just the most commonly talked about. You can even find benefits that are specific for certain programs rather than for all programs as a whole.
Each group operates a little differently, so it only makes sense that you’d find a different experience wherever you go. That’s great news for those of us that are hoping to find a good support group that fits our own specific needs.
How Online Support Groups Work
You may be wondering how an online group of this sort would work. Maybe you’re someone who hasn’t spent a lot of time with technology so the entire concept goes over your head or maybe the logistics of something like this just don’t make sense to you for some other reason.
It’s actually rather simple in practice and can be done pretty easily. We’re going to cover the four biggest and most common types of online support groups in this section so you can have a better idea of what to look for.
Video Conference Style Online Support Groups
This is probably one of the most common types of online support groups if only for the pandemic that is still ravaging the world at the time this article was written. Plenty of people want to make sure they aren’t spreading other illnesses so they opt to meet online.
This type of online support group is pretty simple. Everyone gets together on a video conference call and they talk about whatever they need to talk about. They’re usually structured like in-person meetings just over the computer.
Usually, these meetings use some kind of software like Zoom or Skype to make it easy for everyone. Everyone either has their cameras on or just their microphones for these meetings. Meetings range in frequency and length from group to group so keep your eye on those details when signing up.
This type of meeting works really well for those that want some sort of face-to-face interaction with their groups but don’t want to or can’t leave the house for any number of reasons. It’s also good for flexibility because someone is always online, whether it’s 3:00 PM or 3:00 AM
Audio Conference Style Online Meetings
This type of meeting is a lot like the video conference call style meetings except for there is one big difference, no one is using their cameras. This style might be a little more difficult to find than the others, but if you can’t find one you like you could just do a video conference meeting without your camera.
This kind of meeting is simple. People meet up and make a conference call with just audio. A piece of software could be used or someone could call everyone and merge the calls, it really depends on how any particular meeting likes to operate.
This type of meeting has a lot of the same positives as the last one we looked at. You get real, vocal support from other human beings, and a meeting can take place at any time that works well for you. It’s a win-win.
These kinds of meetings are good for people who want the same level of interaction as the video call meetings but don’t want to be on camera for one reason or another. Let’s also not forget that you could feasibly do these meetings in the middle of the night if that’s when you’re awake.
Text Chat-Based Online Meetings
This one is probably one of the hardest to find already established, but it is pretty easy to get put together yourself with the help of a few friends that you’ve met in other meetings. That being said, this kind of support group can be the most personal.
Essentially, this is kind of a group chat type support group. It’s loosely organized without any sort of rigid schedule or anything. Everyone is always there but they’re also never there at a specific time.
If you’ve ever had a group chat on Facebook, Snapchat, or even just over text you probably have a good idea of how this would look. It’s not organized like a regular support group is but it allows a big of constant support and potentially some meme sharing.
This kind of group is great for groups of friends that want to support each other beyond their regularly scheduled meetings. It’s loosely organized so there’s no real schedule you need to adhere to.
Cancer Support Group Forums
This is one of the easiest types of cancer support groups to find on the internet, and there are a lot of popular groups that are already out there doing this. Online cancer support forums exist to help give patients some support as well as help point them in the right direction.
The level of organization of a group depends on the forum itself. For example, the most well-known cancer support forum on the internet is probably the subreddit r/cancer. This subreddit has rules that need to be followed by all posters and it is heavily moderated to make sure that everyone is following said rules.
On the other hand, there are some smaller random cancer support forums around the internet that exist to serve the same function but don’t always do a great job, especially if they’re poorly moderated. These groups have no schedule because it’s just a forum, but make sure to read the rules of any group so you don’t get in trouble with the moderators.
Cancer support forums are probably good for anyone that’s looking for cancer support groups whether online or offline. They’re chock full of information and resources so you should be able to find the help you need through one of these forums.
Finding Digital Support for Real Life Problems
It can be hard to feel like you’re getting the support that you need when you’re up against something as big and scary as cancer. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be difficult for you to find exactly the kind of support you need exactly when you need it.
The internet has made out lives easier in a lot of ways, ranging from being able to order clothes without ever talking to someone to being able to learn the history of the world if you know where to look. Fortunately for cancer patients, this includes the ability to find high-quality support groups without ever leaving the comfort of their homes.