What are the Best Sources of Chemotherapy Support?

Laura M. Sands

Among the best sources of chemotherapy support are community support groups, online support forums, faith-based support groups, individual therapy, and books written for the express purpose of providing support for cancer patients. Beyond these more organized sources, supportive friends and family members are included among the best chemotherapy and cancer support sources. Most hospitals will offer a list of supportive resources and many will provide assistance in finding the right cancer patient support resources for the individual patient.

A diagram of normal blood and blood from someone with leukemia, which is sometimes treated with chemotherapy.
A diagram of normal blood and blood from someone with leukemia, which is sometimes treated with chemotherapy.

Community chemotherapy support groups often take place at the very hospital where the patient is receiving treatment. These groups typically consist of current and past chemotherapy patients who willingly come together to share their thoughts, feelings, and individual trials and concerns related to their treatment. These groups are comprised mostly of individuals living or working within the area where the chemotherapy support group is held. This sometimes serves to create close-knit friendships that a patient can rely on even beyond the group’s regularly scheduled meetings.

Private doctors may be a source of chemotherapy support.
Private doctors may be a source of chemotherapy support.

Online chemotherapy support forums are also an effective way of interacting with other cancer survivors and current chemotherapy patients. Here, conversations centering on treatment and support take place entirely online. Although patients do not gather in person, they are able to participate in written discussions any time they log onto the Internet. This is particularly comforting to those who are unable to sleep at night due to stress or other physical symptoms.

Chemotherapy treatment is taxing on both the mind and body, so it's important to have a support network of friends and loved ones.
Chemotherapy treatment is taxing on both the mind and body, so it's important to have a support network of friends and loved ones.

Operating much like community groups, faith-based chemotherapy support groups provide a venue for interaction between cancer patients who share a common faith. Within these groups, members often rely on prayer, meditation and scriptural support to comfort them while undergoing chemotherapy. At the same time, members may find solace in sharing experiences, emotional support and resources.

Infusion nurses often offer support to chemotherapy patients during treatment.
Infusion nurses often offer support to chemotherapy patients during treatment.

Individual therapy is one of the most effective chemotherapy support resources. While interacting with a licensed therapist, patients are able to explore the mental and emotional effects of chemotherapy treatment. This type of support is often recommended in tandem with group support, as individual therapy tends to offer a more intensive level of psychological care for cancer patients.

Some patients who are undergoing chemotherapy find that online groups can be a source of moral support.
Some patients who are undergoing chemotherapy find that online groups can be a source of moral support.

A plethora of books and articles offering chemotherapy support are available at bookstores, libraries and online. Many doctors and hospitals will offer a list of reading materials designed to help patients understand what to expect during chemotherapy and to give them an opportunity to read inspiring accounts from others who have undergone cancer treatment. Like other self-help books, literature focused on providing support for cancer treatment allows patients to read at their own pace while receiving encouragement and valuable information.

Supportive friends and family members are among the best sources of support. A network of loved ones offering compassionate care is necessary for the healthiest of individuals. This type of support is particularly important to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment and serves to offer a level of emotional support not always gained through other sources.

Aside from private doctors and hospitals, many community-based organizations also offer resources for cancer patient support. National organizations, such as the American Cancer Society, provide a list of resources for cancer patients, including chemotherapy support resources for in-person and online participation. Information leading to other cancer support sources is also readily available online.

A patient's family members can provide emotional support for her or him during chemotherapy.
A patient's family members can provide emotional support for her or him during chemotherapy.

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