Specialized support groups available?

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Question from Seminole Becky: I would like to attend a support group, but I feel like they don't think I belong there. My cancer was Stage 1 and I did not have a mastectomy or chemo. Are there specialized groups?
Answers - Jennifer Armstrong, M.D. There are certainly specialized groups, but not necessarily in every region. If you live in an urban setting you are more likely to find support groups separated by stage and often other factors (young women with breast cancer, older women with breast cancer). If you live in a rural area, these may be harder to find, although you may be able to access them through other means, such as the internet—for example, the discussion boards and chat rooms at Breastcancer.org. Usually these groups have a coordinator, who may be able to direct you to a group that may best meet your needs. Most groups are interested in accepting everybody, and all cancer survivors regardless of their disease or stage deserve support for their experiences. You may find your needs are best met in an early-stage breast cancer group.

Another resource can be your oncologist's office. They may have several patients with similar disease stages who can act as a resource for more recently diagnosed patients. You're right that a support group that feels right to you will be the one that ultimately will be the most effective and helpful for you.

Thanks for being with us this evening. We hope the support and information you've gotten here tonight will help you discuss some of these issues with your doctor and make the best choices for YOU.

We also look forward to hearing from you at future Ask-the Expert Online Conferences right here at Breastcancer.org.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Coping With Your Changing Feelings and Relationships featured Lidia Schapira, M.D. and moderator Jennifer Armstrong, M.D. answering your questions about facing your fears head-on, handling moodiness and depression, diffusing tension with your partner and feeling close without sexual activity, as well as issues of self-image and femininity.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in March 2006.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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