Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is a common type of cancer.
According to the Cancer Support Community, NSCLC makes up between 80 and 85 percent of lung cancers in the United States. Even so, an NSCLC diagnosis might make you feel alone.
If you’re feeling this way, you may want to consider joining a lung cancer support group. If you’re a caregiver, you can encourage your loved one to join a lung cancer community, but you may even consider joining one yourself.
Benefits of joining a support group:
- improved social connections with others affected with NSCLC
- emotional support from others dealing with similar circumstances
- opportunities to learn new and valuable information about your NSCLC diagnosis
- potential improved outlook of your NSCLC diagnosis
Read on to learn more about these benefits as well as where you can find the right community for you.
Lung cancer support groups for those with NSCLC, or for their caregivers, can help create meaningful social connections and emotional support.
The feelings surrounding a NSCLC diagnosis can be difficult to manage alone. If you have recently received a diagnosis, you may already be being supported by family and friends, but it can be helpful to be supported by people who have gone through or are going through similar experiences.
If you have had your diagnosis for a while, it may be beneficial to find support from people who have experienced a lifestyle similar to yours. You may find yourself connecting deeply with others by sharing some of your own personal experiences without the fear of being misunderstood.
Caregivers aren’t exempt from having difficulties brought on from a loved one’s diagnosis of NSCLC.
Caregivers spend much of their time caring for their loved one, and support groups can be beneficial to help understand how to best aid their loved one, as well as how to help manage their own feelings.
Lung cancer support groups allow for a space free of judgement and pity, and a sense of camaraderie. This in turn helps reduce the risk of complications like depression.
Lung cancer support groups are also sites for educational opportunities.
You may find resources from your group about:
- additional NSCLC treatments
- holistic options
- different breathing methods
- other helpful information
Support group meetings often have a different theme. Some popular themes and topics include:
- treatment options for lung cancer
- helpful breathing techniques
- ways to prevent the cancer from spreading
- smoking cessation techniques
- exercise tips
- yoga and meditation techniques
- alternative medicine
- caregiver and home care information
- methods for communicating with your doctor
Medical professionals lead many support groups, which are generally held at hospitals and clinics.
Local chapters of national organizations, such as the Lung Cancer Alliance or the American Cancer Society, also run some groups.
Educational support is critical for both the newly diagnosed and those who have already undergone lung cancer treatment. There are new developments in cancer treatment every day, and it’s important to stay up to date.
Studies suggest cancer support groups might improve your NSCLC outlook. This doesn’t mean you should forego your treatment plan, though.
NSCLC is different for every individual, so it’s important to talk with your doctor about how to best improve your outlook.
The exact link between support groups and survival rates is still not known. But given the other benefits of community support, it’s worth a try.
Finding the right community to share your experiences with is key to success.
First, you’ll need to decide between an online or an in-person support group.
Some people prefer meeting other members in person. If you’re concerned about time, travel, or mobility, you might opt for an online group.
Another option is one-on-one counseling if you’re not comfortable with a group setting.
It’s OK to try out different groups until you find the right fit. Don’t give up until you find what works for you. (You may even consider starting a group, if possible.)
The following organizations offer support groups for people with lung cancer:
You can also talk with your doctor about lung cancer support groups in your community. Many hospitals and nonprofit organizations have free educational meetings and support groups for those with lung cancer.