While a cancer diagnosis no longer means a shorter lifespan as it may have in years past, it can still leave many patients feeling vulnerable thinking about their futures.

Whether you have just begun treatment, finished, or are in remission, patients say that their life will never be completely the same again.

Perhaps now there is a new appreciation of daily activities; a morning meditation practice; more mindful nutrition, or a dedicated exercise regimen. Maybe you have begun to look for a support group. Boston Cancer Support is here to share recourses and encourage you to get involved with your community.

The YMCA Livestrong programs in Massachusetts fulfills the important need for survivors who find themselves in the transitional period between completing their cancer treatment and the shift to feeling physically and emotionally strong enough to return to their pre-diagnosed life. The program takes place outside a medical facility and integrated into the community to emphasize that LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is about health, not about disease. Certified YMCA fitness instructors give personal individualized instruction; these instructors are trained in the elements of cancer, post rehab exercise, nutrition, and supportive cancer care.

Attending a support group may seem daunting, especially if you are shy by nature. But studies continuously show that the emotional return that a support group can provide is priceless. This is not just a safe haven with like-minded people, but a venue in which unanswered questions are addressed, and a bright light leads the way into the future.

If you’re back at work and find yourself either fatigued or juggling a bit too much, perhaps an online support group would best fit your needs. Have a question? Please reach out to Boston Cancer Support. We’re here to help.


PATIENT SUPPORT GROUPS

Support Groups

Find Patient Support Groups Throughout Massachusetts


computerFor patients and caregivers who cannot attend in-person support groups, or prefer online communities, see Online Communities and Social Networking 


LIVE STRONG / YMCA’s OF MASSACHUSETTS

PrintThis program fulfills the important need of survivors who find themselves in the transitional period between completing their cancer treatment and the shift to feeling physically and emotionally strong enough to attempt to return to their normal life. The program is outside a medical facility and integrated into the community to emphasize that LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is about health, not about disease. Certified YMCA fitness instructors give personal individualized instruction; these instructors are trained in the elements of cancer, post rehab exercise, nutrition, and supportive cancer care.


EXPERTS SPEAK ON SURVIVORSHIP TOPICS

Dana Farber

 

 

video-iconLiving Well Beyond Cancer

People who have survived cancer often face a myriad of short- and long-term challenges as a result of their disease and treatment experiences. In these video interviews, the former director of the adult cancer survivorship program speaks with experts from the fields of oncology, psychology, nutrition and more, about many of the typical issues cancer survivors face- from fear of recurrence, to long-term health concerns, to creating a plan for living well beyond cancer.


HELPFUL TOOLS & INFORMATION

zaggoZaggo empowers patients and family caregivers with the educational information, tools, and resources they need to make more effective and informed healthcare decisions. Created by a parent whose son battled brain cancer, the ZaggoCare Guide contains practical tips from patient advocacy to medication management. The system includes tools and accessories to keep medical information organized and efficiently up to date. Access to a digital version of the ZaggoCare Guide is also available.


Coping with Cancer

Coping With Cancer: Tools to Help you Live, by CancerCare.org

What do I tell my family? Am I going to be able to continue working? How do I pay for treatment? What happens after my treatment is finished?

The answers to these questions are different for everyone because no two people experience cancer in the same way. A cancer diagnosis may make you feel worried, sad, confused, or angry. Your world is now filled with information and medical terms you never thought you needed to learn. And in addition to the physical difficulties, there are emotional and financial issues that you must learn to manage. Without a doubt, cancer turns your world upside down.

This booklet, provided by CancerCare.org, will help you understand the challenges that are a part of living with cancer and provide you with the tools you need to cope better with this experience. Importantly, you will learn that you are not alone—there are sources of support available to you, and many people have made this journey before you.


CancerCare fact sheetsWritten by experts, CancerCare’s easy-to-read booklets and fact sheets provide
reliable information on cancer-related topics.


 

nci-logo-englishCoping With Cancer is a fact-filled resource from the National Cancer Institute. Many people who have cancer or who have been treated for cancer develop symptoms or side effects that affect their quality of life. . Care given to help patients cope with these symptoms or side effects is called palliative care, comfort care, supportive care, or symptom management. Palliative Care in Cancer, answers many commonly asked questions on this topic.


Coping with CancerThe Coping with Cancer website is a complete online experience that educates and inspires. It is presented in a warm and friendly, easy-to-use format, and provides information by specific cancer type, general knowledge about living with cancer, and wellness and inspirational topics. The Coping media team is constantly adding relevant articles and trustworthy resources. The website is provided as a public service by Coping® with Cancer magazine.


NYT Mag
Living With Cancer: Difficult Choices By Susan Gubar for The New York Times.

This story originally appeared in August 2014

 


Patients Like MePatientsLikeMe provides patients an effective way to share your real-world health experiences to help yourself, other patients like you, and organizations that focus on your conditions.

 

 


Scott HamiltonLearning that you have cancer can be an overwhelming experience – one that leaves you frightened, vulnerable and alone. The 4th Angel Mentoring Program offers free, one-on-one, confidential outreach and support from someone who has successfully made the same journey you are about to begin – the journey towards recovery.


COSMETIC AID

Wigs for Well-BeingWigs for Well-Being is a non-profit organization founded by The Salon at 10 Newbury’s owner, Patricia Wrixon.  For over 5 years Patricia has generously donated luxurious, customized or ready made wigs for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and as well as other treatments.  Recently, the Children’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, has proclaimed Wigs for Well-Being the official wig / hair piece provider for teenagers who are experiencing medical treatments at the hospital.   This new partnership has enhanced the number of individuals that are able to benefit form Salon at 10 Newbury’s mission, not only here in Boston but in all of New England.


Img-logoLook Good Feel Better is a non-medical, brand-neutral public service program that teaches beauty techniques to cancer patients to help them manage the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment. Look Good Feel Better group programs are open to all women with cancer who are undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, or other forms of treatment. In the United States alone, more than 900,000 women have participated in the program, which now offers 15,400 group workshops nationwide in more than 2,500 locations.


ACSThe American Cancer Society offers free or low-cost wigs at the following locations.


Mass Gen SS

Massachusetts law provides for coverage of hair prosthesis up to $350 per calendar year for anyone undergoing cancer treatment. Massachusetts General Hospital’s Department of Social Services has complied a resource list of nearly 60 salons that collaborate with various insurance companies.


Patients Do Better After Surgery If They Do ‘Prehab’ First

By Katherine Hobson

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People are often told to follow a rehabilitation program following surgery to speed recovery. But starting weeks before going under the knife might help them regain function even faster.

So-called “prehabilitation” to prepare someone for an upcoming stressful event has been used quite a bit in orthopedic surgery, Dr. Julie Silver, a physiatrist at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, tells Shots. And there’s increasing interest in using it before cancer treatment, especially to help frail or elderly patients better tolerate what lies ahead, she says. Read Full NPR Story