Dealing with breast cancer is difficult at any age but being diagnosed at an older age comes with its own special set of concerns. Senior women often don’t have the same network of support as they did when they were younger. Leaning on spouses and children isn’t always easy when husbands have health issues too and adult children are busy with jobs and families of their own.
Yet, the power of support can make treatment more successful and certainly more manageable.
Fannie Robinson, a 28-year breast cancer survivor, credits her faith and community for helping her heal.
“The support was unbelievable; I met people who changed my life,” said Fannie, a Pathway to Living resident. “There was a patient in her 70s going through the same cancer as me, and she helped and supported me through everything,”
Back when Fannie was battling cancer there was no Internet. Today, however, online support groups offer a convenient way for cancer patients to connect with others and access around-the-clock support. This can be a valuable resource for breast cancer patients who are feeling lonely and disconnected, especially those who are unable to drive to a local support group to meet others in person.
Benefits of Online Support Groups
While going online for support may seem strange to some, the host of benefits available at your fingertips make it worth trying. Talking with others who understand what you are going through and share a similar experience has many advantages, including:
• Accessing more information about your cancer and treatment
• Receiving encouragement and inspiration from the personal stories of others
• Feeling normal meeting others like yourself
• Asking questions about what to expect, lifestyle changes and how to cope
• Laughing and crying freely without judgment or guilt
• Exchanging practical tips and advice
Choosing an Online Support Group
When choosing an online support group, make sure a reputable and trustworthy agency is administering the group. Online support groups by established organizations such as the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Survivors Network, Cancer Support Community, CancerCare or a medical center or cancer institution are good places to start.
Download the Susan G. Komen list of breast cancer resources here.
Remember to be careful when sharing personal information online. If you come across a negative person or someone who makes you feel uncomfortable in a chat room, then exit and move on to another group. Before following the advice of someone in an online group, discuss it with your healthcare provider first.
Pathway to Living’s independent, assisted living and supportive living communities provide the care and inspiration for residents to live well, age well and be well. To learn more, visit pathwaytoliving.com or call 888-342-4111.