Education & Networking Research
Over 13 million people are directly impacted by cancer in the United States (Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, et al , 2010). One in 10 homes will receive a new diagnosis this year alone. When considering their friends and families, that number grows exponentially. Each month new diagnostic tests, treatments, and preventions surface in peer-reviewed professional research journals. It should be no surprise that it would be of great benefit to those diagnosed with cancer to be knowledgeable about the current research and practices. Doctors, as a part of best practices, are increasingly collaborating with patients and designing treatment plans together. Research has demonstrated that education and knowledge about one’s condition have a strong relationship to seeking further support (Nekolaichuk, Cumming, Turner,Yushchyshyn, Sela & Rami, 2011).
Although there are many services available to support individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer, there are many worries and issues that many oncology patients feel more comfortable discussing with professionals and others who share the same diagnosis. It can be difficult to build support networks when you are in the midst of distress; however, research indicates that the higher perceived level of support has an inverse relationship to perceived stress (Koopman, Hermanson, Diamond, Angell, & Spiegel, 1998). More specifically, when exposed to greater life stress the relative level of social support can act as a buffer from experience significant distress.
Although one does not have to be in distress to benefit from building a strong network, as many as a quarter of all individuals with cancer may have a psychiatric condition such as anxiety or mood disorder (Newell, Sanson-Fisher, Girigis, & Askland, 1999 ). At the Cancer Support Center we strive to create support and networking groups that are specifically designed to meet the particular needs of individuals as related to diagnosis, stage, gender, and treatment options. We utilize our existing local experts from community partnerships to speak to our participants on relevant treatment, diagnosis, an prevention topics, as well as ancillary service providers. We also recruit nationally renowned experts within the field of oncology and support services who can offer our participants information and options that may not available in their geographic area.