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Finding support


Finding support after a cancer diagosis

With such an increased awareness about the psychosocial, financial and practical implications that cancer brings, you would think that support would be an easy thing to come by now after a cancer diagnosis. Unfortunately, when we posed that question to our readers on our Facebook page, it sounded like a lot of individuals were missing the support they needed. Why is that?You can see the responses we received after we posed this question:Was it hard to find support after your diagnosis? What would have made it easier?It appears that some of the support needs people have include:1. A Mentor: Wanting to talk about their diagnosis with someone who has "been there." For a lot of young adults or those with rare cancers, this can be tough. The Internet has been a great help to these patients, but usually the responsibility is on them to locate and find these resources. And if you're wanting face-to-face support, it's even tougher. There are several organizations and websites that can pair you with other patients and survivors, including:IHadCancer.com: A Facebook of sorts for cancer patients and survivors. You can also filter individuals by ZIP code, if you're wanting that face-to-face time.Imerman Angels: A Match.com for patients. This non-profit organization put you in touch with a survivor that has a similar diagnosis (and other features, if possible). It's motto is "one-on-one communication." The survivor acts as a coach and mentor for the patient. What's Next: Another website, this one from the American Cancer Society, aims to connect patients and survivors by sharing stories.2. Family, friends, coworkers: It's amazing how cancer brings out the best or worst in people. I've heard several stories of how patient's family or friends distance themselves because they don't know what to say or do, or a diagnosis makes them think of their own mortality and they just don't know how to deal with it. On the flipside, some are amazed at the help they receive from acquaintances or coworkers who become their biggest supporters. 3. Information: It's hard to take in all the information thrown at you when you have a cancer diagnosis. For those individuals who credit their medical team for giving them support and information, they rave about them. It's hard to imagine why there isn't a process across the board on what to offer patients diagnosed with cancer. Often it's left up to the facility, individual doctor or medical team. Vanessa posts: Yes it was. My family was obviously my main support. My oncologist failed to provide me with available resources. I learned what was out there through patients who were undergoing treatment. Without them I would have been lost. I have to say my reconstructive team was awesome!Kim posts: It was not hard to find/get support after my diagnosis....it was spoon-fed to me and I could not ask for a better team than the one I have Thank you Bend Memorial Clinic and the St. Charles Cancer Center in Bend, Oregon.For some people, it's not the support at diagnosis that's lacking, though. Kytiana posts: It wasn't hard finding support, it was harder accepting when you go from being independent to be dependent on people for certain things...that was absolutely hard for me...Nikki posts: Not do much after diagnosis as after treatment was over...life doesn't go back to normal for usWhat would be the ideal situation to offer patients different types of support at diagnosis?

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