Q. What support groups are there for people with skin cancer? My brother was diagnosed two months ago and I think he could benefit from one.

A.

It’s never easy to adjust to a cancer diagnosis. Everything changes when you hear the words “you have cancer.” It is a time when many people need extra support. Speaking to an oncology social worker can help reduce the stress of adjusting to a diagnosis and assist with understanding treatment options, side effects, disclosure and finances/insurance issues. I always emphasize that reaching out for help is a sign of strength. Oncology social workers are trained in how a diagnosis of cancer affects a person and his or her family and friends. They are also trained to help cancer patients and their families tackle the problems that accompany the disease, such as the financial demands, the physical changes, social adjustment and psychological impact, and care. Adjusting to and dealing with the diagnosis is an important part of the healing process.

Cancer often makes people feel isolated. Joining a support group allows people with cancer to feel less alone because they are talking with others who are experiencing similar fears and concerns. They can speak opening and freely without feeling that they are being a burden to friends and loved ones. Please know, your brother would have to call himself for these services.

CancerCare can provide that help in many ways. Currently, we have an online group for people with melanoma. Our registration process is streamlined so it is very user friendly. We can also provide individual telephone counseling. All of our services are free of charge, and our services are for both the people with cancer and their loved ones.

The Cancer Hope Network is a way to connect, by telephone, with an individual with a similar diagnosis. Their volunteer survivors are trained to talk you through some of the common difficulties that come along with any diagnoses.

Please remember that you and your brother are not alone. CancerCare’s services are here to help you.

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