Category Archives: support groups

How to Help Patients During the Holidays

The holidays are a time for celebrating with family and friends, but the season can bring challenges for cancer patients and those who have recently completed treatment. The stresses of cancer may leave them feeling out of touch or overburdened with traditional holiday responsibilities. If someone you know is in, or has recently completed, treatment for cancer, consider these tips for helping during the holidays.

Let the patient take the lead. Some people will want to celebrate the holiday season as they always have, but others may want to step back and be less festive. Even if treatment is over, your …


Five Tips for Managing Stress During Cancer Treatment

Everyone faces stress from time to time, but a cancer diagnosis can be particularly challenging for both the patient and the family members.
“For many of our patients and survivors, they experience a great deal of stress related to
Eric Zhou
their diagnosis, treatment, or fears of recurrence,” says Eric Zhou, PhD, clinical psychology fellow at Dana-Farber’s Perini Family Survivors’ Center. “But they also have general life stresses on top of that, like family, finances, and work, that don’t go away just because they’re battling cancer.”
Zhou, who leads Dana-Farber’s Survivor Stress Management and Relaxation Training (SMART) workshops, provides some tips on how to …


After Active Treatment…Then What?

After completing active treatment your treatment journey may not be over.
Depending on the results of the path report there may still be other treatments or medication regimens that your oncologist recommends to prevent a recurrence.
If your cancer was estrogen-fed (ER positive) your oncologist will want you to take hormone therapy(orally) daily for five years. It is important that you understand why you are taking this medication; how it is intended to work in your body; what you can anticipate as side effects and what actions and/or medications you can take to reduce the discomfort of any sided effects you may …


Depression and Breast Cancer

Why do some women weather a diagnosis of breast cancer and treatment with a minimum amount of emotional stress and bypass the depression most often experienced by many new survivors?
Depression certainly seems to be an understandable response to facing a life-threatening illness, changes in body image, debilitating treatment, expensive treatments not totally covered by insurance and changes in one’s personal and professional life.
Ann Bettencourt, professor of psychological sciences at the University of Missouri, recently studied women who are most likely to experience distress following a diagnosis of breast and when depressive symptoms tend to occur throughout the course of their …


Identify, Don’t Compare

I don’t remember much about my first breast cancer support group meeting 12 years ago.
What I do remember are the guidelines that one of the two meeting moderators shared,  “Identify with what is being said, don’t compare your cancers, your treatments or your outcomes. If you do, you will feel everything from doubts about you treatment to fears about your future.”
Good advice for 10 frightened women who had recently finished active treatment. For the next ten weeks, in our once weekly meeting, we were to hear that advice at least once a session.
We ranged in age from 40+ to 60 …