A cancer diagnosis can be one of the most stressful experiences in a person’s life. A wide range of emotions may follow a cancer diagnosis. Some may feel shock; others may be scared, or even angry. Many people diagnosed with cancer often wonder what is next. Where can I go? Who can I talk to? Are there others going through what I am going through?
Cancer support groups are meetings for people with cancer and those touched by cancer. They can be in person, by phone, or on the Internet. Support groups can help many cancer patients and their families cope with the emotional aspects of the disease by providing a safe place to share their feelings and challenges. These groups can also help individuals learn from others who face similar situations.
According to the American Association for Cancer Research, studies have found that cancer support groups can enhance self-esteem, reduce depression, decrease anxiety, and improve relationships with family members and friends. Support groups can also help individuals cope better with their diagnosis and increase their knowledge of cancer and its treatment. Many types of cancer support groups are available throughout northeast Pennsylvania. They can be for patients, family members, friends, or children who have been touched by cancer.
Karen Arscott, D.O., M.Sc. who serves as Associate Professor in Clinical Sciences at The Commonwealth Medical College in Scranton coordinates a free support group for children, ages 5-18, who are experiencing a loved one affected by cancer. She believes cancer support groups are important to a community, especially those that help children. “We need to remember that our children are watching a loved one receive rough medication…..they are often ‘protected’ and not given information about what is happening. Children can see something is wrong, and deserve an outlet.”
The children’s support group takes place the last Saturday of every month from 10am – 12pm at The Commonwealth Medical College located at 525 Pine Street in Scranton. Certified therapists donate their time to work with these children through alternating art, theater, and yoga therapy sessions. Dr. Arscott also coordinates a free cancer support group for children with cancer. This group takes place at Timmy’s Town Center at the Mall at Steamtown the first and third Monday of each month from 5pm – 7pm.