We all know there are plenty, but what are the benefits of cancer support groups exactly? Although not all men suffer from prostate cancer, many men do at some point in their lives. Second only to skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer among men.
For instance, according to the American Cancer Society in 2022 alone there were an estimated 268,490 new cases of prostate cancer. And around 34,500 men died of prostate cancer in the US. That is to say, 1 in 8 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, it’s quite a common occurrence.
Statistically speaking, of course, prostate cancer tends to develop in older men. The average age of diagnosis is 66 years of age. Or in other words, 6 out of every 10 cases of prostate cancer are men 65 or older.
With this in mind, we can see there are a lot of men out there suffering from this condition. Which means, there is no reason to go through this arduous journey alone. There are plenty of men that can and will support each other. In fact, it’s known to be one of the best ways to fight the condition and cope with the difficulties pertaining to its treatment and the disease itself. So let’s get onto the benefits of cancer support groups.
What are the main benefits of cancer support groups?
The benefits of joining a cancer support group are so numerous we could not cover them in this article alone. However, below you will find the ones we think make the most difference in men’s lives:
- Connect with like-minded people: When you are going through hard times there is not much that can help more than being able to talk to someone that truly understands what you are living. Talking to other men that suffer from prostate cancer or have lived through it is extremely beneficial. They are some of the only people in the world who can truly empathize with your situation. Who will understand the intricacies of your condition and how it affects the varying aspects of your life. They will understand how it affects your family and your relationship with them. The emotions that might be springing up throughout diagnosis or treatment. There are countless ways in which men can support each other.
- A safe space where you can be truly honest. It’s well known that many men struggle to be open and honest about their feelings. And this can become even harder when going through complex and tough situations that bring with them emotions that are very hard to process and/or express. In particular, many men struggle to admit feelings of fear, powerlessness or seeming defeat. Or at times it might even be the overwhelming nature of the condition, which can trigger survival instincts in which they would rather not discuss their situation or feelings. They might be afraid of the magnitude of the situation taking over. Of course, it is normal for negative feelings to bubble up when dealing with prostate cancer. However, lingering in this negativity for too long without expressing it can hamper its treatment. Expressing these feelings and sharing them with a group of like-minded people is truly liberating. It helps to lighten the load and is a place where you can be truly honest, without worrying about how your words might affect others since you are all going through the same thing.
New friends and encouraging group support
We should never underestimate the need for powerful tight-knit friendships. For us to grow as people we need support from a variety of people, and besides family, friends are very high on the list. They may understand things that our family might not and can offer support in moments of difficulty. Being comfortable with receiving support from others also helps to make us better friends. It helps to improve the way we support those around us too.
In other words, a major benefit of prostate cancer support groups is that they are a great place to make new, potentially life-long friends. These might become friends who can support you in moments of need, or for which you can return the favor.
Encouragement is very important when dealing with prostate cancer. Namely, because fighting cancer often comes with bad news and its treatment can be very difficult to go through. The medication for it can have side effects, and cancer itself might spread even after treatment. Lots of things can go wrong and there are plenty of twists and turns along the road. It can be difficult not to spiral when going through this.
Having others there, especially people who are facing similar conditions to you can make all the difference. It can help us to keep fighting and deal with the situation head-on.
If you want to keep up to date with our virtual prostate cancer support group, click on this link.
Check our resources section for further information. Where we can even help you connect with a prostate cancer survivor.
If you have any questions, or just want to talk, call us at our toll-free hotline: 1(833)HEAL-MEN. You are not alone in this journey. We are here to help guide and support you through it, every step of the way.