A cancer diagnosis can turn your world, and the world of your loved ones, completely upside down. Your new normal is now filled with medical appointment, hospital visits, and worries about your health. This can easily become an overwhelming time for anyone. Finding ways to cope, adapt, and manage these changes in your emotional and physical state is an essential part of cancer treatment, for patients and their families.
Benefits of Support
Study after study shows the benefits of a support group for cancer patients as well as their loved ones. Being able to find a community of people who understand what you are going through and who can offer you emotional, social, and educational supports is a key part of recovery. It can lead to improved moods and a better outlook on your future. Depending on the group you join, members often share tips and other coping strategies for dealing with side effects of medication.
On the caregiver side of things, support groups can give you a valuable sounding board. For many friends and family members, these groups can become a place to vent frustrations and to find support in people who have the same fears and worries about their loved ones as you.
Using a Cancer Support Group App
Unfortunately, not everyone is able to attend a support group in-person. Caregivers often lack the time, and patients typically lack the energy. In cases like these, there are cancer support group apps that you can download. The precise features depend on the app, but most feature support groups, a section for tips, and a third section giving you some basic medical and health advice. Some apps give you a chance to track your appointments with your medical team, giving you reminders and prompts so you never miss one. Some aps can be linked across platforms, so you can use the same app on your tablet as well as your mobile phone.
Finding the Right One
There are several of these kinds of apps on the market, giving you options. When searching for one, spend some time thinking about your ultimate need. Are you a patient seeking emotional support, guidance, and medical advice from a community of survivors? A patient-only app may be best. Are you a friend or family member looking for some additional support and insight into what your loved one is dealing with? A patient and family member app is probably perfect for you. Make sure that the app you download works for your device, as some are android or iOS specific.
One of the biggest complaints had by cancer patients and their families is isolation. Even when you are attending medical appointments and constantly surrounded by a healthcare team, patients and their loved ones often feel alone in their emotional struggle. Downloading an app is a great way to find a supportive community, wherever you happen to be.