Did You Know?
If you ever doubted that you can find someone to talk to, here are a few interesting facts about cancer from Worldwide data.
- In 2012 there were an estimated 14.1 million cancer cases around the world
- It is expected that this estimate will increase to 24 million by 2035
Draw Support from Global Resources
Many people with cancer find comfort and encouragement by connecting with others going through the same emotions and challenges. With the constant growth in smartphone and internet technology, that support system has grown considerably over the past few years.
Whether you are joining an online support group or finding an online support buddy, connecting and working through your feelings and emotions is important. With minimum technology such as a smartphone, you can connect with others, even if they live halfway across the globe.
“People seek out support groups to share their personal experiences in dealing with situations that have altered their life in some way. There is an invisible thread that forms a bond of understanding and empathy toward each other as they share discomfort, resentment, fear, triumphs and emotional and physical relapses,” says substance abuse counselor Carole Bennett M.A.
The Benefits of Global Communities
With online global communities, people with cancer can connect with others anywhere in the world. You can share your fears, emotions, and even seek out advice. There are a number of benefits to joining online communities including:
- Make it easier to be more forthcoming about your fears and anxiety
- Connecting you with others in a similar situation
- You can even help others by sharing your story
- Offers people who are not comfortable with face-to-face or group therapy
- It is also sometimes a lot easier to put your emotions and feelings into written words, rather than saying them out loud
Sharing stories is a great way to broaden your knowledge of cancer. You could also learn more about treatment options and side effects. It is important though that you remember to keep in mind that symptoms and side effects are not textbooks and will differ from one person to another. This will also apply to the side effects that you may experience while on treatment. It is best that you take the knowledge and information and find a balance that best suits your needs.
Cancer.Net has a number of recommendations for online communities for cancer patients you can consider.
“Living with cancer involves much more than coping with the physical wear and tear of a prolonged illness. Multiple operations, chemotherapy and radiation can dramatically affect the mind as well as the body,” according to New York psychologist Jane Framingham, Ph.D.
Knowledge Is Power
Online communities can also offer you research information. Take the time to understand cancer, the general and specific types. Speak to your medical care team, ask questions and find out about the treatment options you have to choose from. Stay informed about research and medications. With knowledge, you have the power to stay in control of this emotionally and physically challenging period in your life.
It is also important to remember that not all these communities will be what you need. You have a number of things to consider when choosing to join one.
“The Internet is a useful tool for finding cancer information and connecting with other patients and caregivers. Sometimes it is hard to know if the information you are reading is reliable. Because anyone can put content on the Internet, use good judgment when searching online for information. Be critical about the sources you use. And discuss the information you find with your health care team.” From Cancer.net: Evaluating Cancer Information on the Internet
So you see, you do not have to do this alone. The world is a big place and with technology, the gaps or distance between people no longer pose the challenges they used to. Take the time to find a suitable online community, stay informed and most importantly, never lose hope.
“Hoping for things that cannot possibly happen is indeed stupid. We can dub it evil if we are so inclined. But hoping for things that can happen is smart (good), assuming we are motivated by our optimism to act in ways that make the hoped-for thing more likely,” according to Christopher Peterson Ph.D., one of the top 100 most widely cited psychologists in the world.