Should You Participate in a Cancer Support Group?
In a published study from Hanover, Germany researchers examined the value of participation in patient support group activities. The study found that it increased cancer patients’ health literacy and, specifically, their cancer‐specific and non‐cancer‐specific knowledge about health care.
Compared to other similar studies evaluating the value of support groups and support activities, this study enrolled nearly 600 participants, so the results can be considered reliable.
The study found that:
1- Participants had greater general knowledge about cancer.
2- Participants were more knowledgeable about cancer and treatment guidelines.
3- Participants read more about cancer and treatment guidelines.
4- Participants demonstrated greater competency in navigating health services.
However, both people who had participated in support group activities and those who did not attend had similar knowledge about non-caner health care related services.
This study did not evaluate the differences in results that might exist between different types of cancer support and educational groups. Exploring this question is significant given that we increasingly see online and telephone support groups like the one Cancer ABCs provides.
Support groups, no matter their platform should not be considered the only way to learn about cancer. It is possible to become knowledgeable about cancer through other activities.
We also need additional research to determine if cancer support groups and education improves the THRIVER’s quality of life and can extend survival.