Support Groups Boost Well-Being, Not Survival

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Many studies have looked at the benefits support groups might offer women with breast cancer. All of the earlier studies found that being in a support group boosted women's psychological well-being. Only a few of the studies found that survival time increased for women in support groups.

A study found that women with advanced breast cancer in a support group had improved psychological well-being compared to women who were not in the support group. There was no overall improvement in survival for women in the support group. Still, when the researchers looked only at women diagnosed with hormone-receptor-negative breast cancer, they found that these women lived about 21 months longer when they were in a support group, compared to women with hormone-receptor-negative breast cancer who weren't in a support group.

If you're being treated for breast cancer, you might want to think about joining a support group. Ask someone on your medical team about what's available at your hospital or in your community. Being in a support group can improve your emotional health while you're having breast cancer treatment. Support groups are a type of complementary medicine: therapies that balance the whole you—physically, mentally, and emotionally—while conventional medicine does its work. To learn more about other ways to be good to yourself during treatment, visit the breastcancer.org Complementary Medicine section.

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