Providing Support to One Another

When someone is undergoing cancer treatment they often turn to family and friends, their church community and co-workers for support. Having cancer is a stressful life event, and symptoms of cancer are not limited to the physical. Many people with cancer and their caregivers are also in distress and in need of additional psycho-social care. This level of care is often found in the form of support groups where they share common concerns and receive inspiration from others coping with the same type of cancer.

However, in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important for cancer patients to shelter in place by staying at home. Avoiding face-to-face contact with other people, family gatherings and limiting those who come into their home is necessary to protect themselves from this virus and the effects it can have on their already compromised immune system.

At the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, McLeod, like many other hospitals, has cancelled cancer support groups until further notice. Yet, we know the importance of a strong support system and how access to cancer resources can help you manage feelings of distress, which affect the whole person – body, mind and spirit. To help you until we can meet again in person, we have compiled a list of online resources and support groups accessible in the privacy of your own home.

Cancer Related Resources

Inspire This website features groups for people with cancer and their caregivers. You can also join groups for other health conditions besides cancer. Once you join a group, you can post questions and comments on discussion boards and connect with other group members. You can also help other members and give encouragement by responding to their stories and questions. Several patient advocate organizations feature support communities on Inspire.

CancerCare  This website offers about 100 online groups for people with cancer and their loved ones. The groups are led by oncology social workers who give support and guidance.

Cancer Connect This website combines current cancer treatment news and educational content with a moderated social community for patients and caregivers. Cancer Connect is used by leading cancer centers, allowing patients to interact with others receiving treatment at those centers and creating a unique destination to seek information, support, and inspiration.

Friend for Life Cancer Support Network A network of cancer survivors and caregivers who provide compassionate, one-on-one support to others diagnosed with cancer and to their loved ones.

Know Cancer Dedicated to connecting, educating, and empowering all people affected by the many forms of cancer. It offers an online community that provides social and professional support to patients and their loved ones.

Navigating Cancer  A free website specifically for people with cancer and their supporters, offering tools and cancer resources that empower patients to take control of their health and partner more closely with their physicians, support network, and other like patients.

Smart Patients  An online community where patients and families affected by a variety of illnesses can learn from each other about treatments, challenges, and how it all fits into the context of their experience.

Cancer and Careers  An online website providing valuable information and resources via expert advice, interactive tools, and educational events.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center  Provides resources and information on cancer.

Dana Farber Cancer Institute  Provides information on integrative therapies and education on cancer.

Mental Health Related Resources

Anxiety and Depression Association of America Provides extensive information and resources on anxiety, as well as an anonymous online peer-to-peer support group.

7 Cups of Tea  Seven Cups of Tea offers support from peers, trained volunteers, and paid professionals.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) Provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress including prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones.

Crisis Text Line ( text to 747741 ) Provides free, 24/7, confidential text message service for people in crisis.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline (1-800-662-4357) Provides confidential, 24/7, 365-days-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance abuse disorders.

American Chronic Pain Association (1-800-533-3231). Provides support and education for individuals with chronic pain and their families.

The McLeod Center for Cancer Treatment and Research recommends but does not endorse these websites — they are intended for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical or mental health advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please do not ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on a website. If you think you may have a medical or mental health emergency, please immediately call your doctor, or dial 911 for further assistance.

If you would like additional information or have any questions or concerns, please contact McLeod Oncology Social Worker Raquel Serrano at (843) 777-5695.

Raquel Serrano, MSW, LMSW, OSW-C, is an Oncology Social Worker for the McLeod Center for Cancer Treatment and Research. A Mastered Licensed Social Worker in the State of South Carolina and certified by the Board of Oncology Social Work in Oncology, Serrano has been caring for patients at McLeod since 2008. In addition, Serrano serves as a Field Instructor for the University of South Carolina School of Social Work.