Friends as medicine
One of the best medicines you can find for yourself is communication with others in a registered or informal support group. The American Cancer Society is a sponsor of a number of educational programs, such as I Can Handle It, and many hospitals and oncology centers have their own support groups, some of which unite patients with a particular type of cancer.
Joan Sipollini has worked in several such groups, including a group for women with breast cancer. “The support group provides our patients with the necessary knowledge and communication,” she says. Only here you can, without reserve, talk about everything that you feel, express what you cannot tell family members and friends. According to one of the women, “people who do not have cancer have no idea how we feel. You know well what it is to me and do not consider me abnormal ”:
There is even reason to believe that support groups not only improve the quality of life, but can also prolong it. A group of researchers from Stanford University, who studied the impact of support on the quality of life of women with breast cancer in the last stage, was amazed to find that women who regularly visited support groups lived twice as long as those who did not. No one expected anything like it.
“Communication works for you, Dr. Holland teaches his patients. There are reliable facts indicating that people who feel themselves to be part of a group or a half of a married couple or have friends can more easily tolerate such a chronic disease as cancer. And a number of observations have clearly shown that isolation and loneliness increase mortality from all diseases. ”