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The importance of making connections

The importance of making connections

Being diagnosed with cancer might trigger many emotional responses, some of them hard to understand by those who have not experienced cancer (read more on feelings and cancer). This is why doctors and nurses often recommend reaching out to other cancer patients, in some cases even after finishing treatment.

“Talking with other people who share common experiences can help people work through emotions common to serious illness, such as anger, grief, fear or anxiety. It can also be a practical way to share tips about how to manage the particular stresses and changes that occur for patients and families facing cancer,” says Elizabeth Darlington, social worker at SCCA Proton Therapy Center. 

There are many ways to connect with other cancer patients. Support groups are a great way to meet others who are facing a similar situation, such as:

“Not only is talking to others with cancer beneficial for helping people to cope on their cancer path,” says Darlington, “but studies have actually shown that cancer patients who reach out to other cancer patients can show higher overall survival rates. Even though you may, at times, feel that you are alone in what you are experiencing, reaching out to others, hearing about their journeys and sharing your own is almost always a useful and healing process.”

And although it is much more difficult during COVID-19 times, many of our patients have made connections with other patients right in our lobby just by speaking to their neighbor.

“While I waited for treatment,” says Dan, a prostate cancer patient, “I chit-chatted with a number of other men who had treatment around the same time. It felt good to connect with them. I’ve had a lot of experience with cancer in my family, but it’s still nice to connect with others who understand.”

If you would like to learn more about support groups, please reach out to our concierge team. They can put you in touch with our social worker, child life specialist or patient services manager.