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A cancer diagnosis can make you feel anxious and depressed. This is normal. It may help to talk to someone. It can be especially helpful to connect with other cancer survivors. You are not alone in your fight. You may find it helpful and inspirational to hear others’ stories. You may also be able to help someone else by sharing your story.
As a cancer survivor you'll likely find a great deal of strength, support and advice from people who've been down the same road, says palliative medicine specialist Dr. Stewart Fleishman. Find out how you can connect with other cancer survivors by watching this video.
You may receive a lot of support from your loved ones and friends. However, there may be times when it is becomes important to talk with others who have experienced cancer in the way you have. In some cases, you may feel like you have to protect the people you love from your feelings or concerns that could be upsetting to them. Other survivors are likely to understand in a way that is different from the way those who have not had cancer can.
Survivors often have a great deal of knowledge to share about how to deal with experiences and challenges presented by cancer and treatment. Some common reasons survivors want to meet and talk to other survivors include:
- To get information about cancer and treatment
- To receive encouragement from others who have the experience
- To find out how to solve problems
- To be inspired by the personal stories of survivors
- To realize that many survivors are experiencing similar things
- To feel more in control of the situation
- To laugh or cry with other survivors who have been through similar situations
Every cancer survivor is different, but many survivors find that they have things in common with other survivors besides surviving cancer. Sometimes, you may spend time with another cancer survivor and never talk about cancer. Other times you may discuss feelings or how to deal with difficult challenges. It can be comforting to spend time with people who have shared similar experiences.
There may be times when it is confusing or disturbing to hear about another survivor's story or experience. Even though this could happen, the benefits might outweigh the risks. Meeting other survivors who have been through similar experiences often proves to be very helpful and supportive.
Many things can be learned from other survivors such as:
- How to talk with a child about cancer
- How to talk with people at work
- How to deal with any aftereffects of treatment
- How to deal with fears about the future
- How to remain hopeful as you deal with a chronic illness.
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.