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By Jeannine Walston

thumb-socialDoes social support improve quality of life and cancer survival? Studies demonstrate positive social and emotional support helps to improve cancer patient outcomes. Some cancer facilities offer some of the support, yet even Institute of Medicine reports explain that those procedures frequently fail to address the psychological and psychosocial issues often associated with the illness.

Social support for those dealing with cancer is paramount. When cancer impacts a person’s life, new social situations emerge. People with cancer need support. Specific types of support are wide and varied depending on the individual. A loving hand, conversations together, healthy meal, playful excursion, running errands, massage, research about the diagnosis and treatments, and a companion at appointments are some possibilities. Identifying what you need and strategies to have your needs met, including asking for help, cultivates social support as you move through cancer. The experience of social support may involve family members, friends, professional colleagues, support services, spirituality, and more such as psychosocial, psychological, and psychospiritual support.

Cancer impacts the community and therefore a significant social issue. People dealing with cancer—patients, family members, friends—endure a range of social challenges and opportunities. Social issues that existed before cancer may also intensify during and after cancer.  When one person deals with cancer, everyone becomes touched by at least some aspects of the disease. The social support fabric needs to weave through people affected by cancer and hold them as they confront their diagnosis and move through their healing path.

Self-awareness about social issues, including understanding new thoughts and feelings, can feel difficult to define. Along with cultivating awareness about how you feel socially within yourself and to other people, communication is extremely important to help reduce the sense of isolation.

People cannot go through cancer alone. Either immediately or over time, relationships either become stronger or weaker. Support can be fleeting to enduring from a one-time form of supportive giving to family members and friends offering more frequent and even steadfast loving care. While social support does not always occur automatically, some support can be cultivated over time. Ultimately cancer helps to show more about who you are and who you are with.

Explore social articles and resources here for information about some common social issues people affected by cancer encounter with themselves, other people, and society as a whole. Understanding common relationship challenges and solutions offers helpful information to enhance self-awareness and meaningful connections. Learn about strategies to strengthen support when dealing with cancer. I hope this cancer information and resources support you as a component toward optimal health and healing.

Social Tips for Cancer Patients
The cancer experience may involve high levels of stress in relationships. Understanding common relationship challenges and solutions offers helpful information to enhance self-awareness and strengthen meaningful connections.

Self-Care Tips for Cancer Caregivers
Caregivers must practice self-care for nourishment and replenishment when affected by cancer to a loved one. Read about feelings, reactions, and coping strategies.

Profound Emotional Support for Cancer Patients and Caregivers
Learn about understanding some architecture of what happens in cancer patients, tips for family members and friends to give emotional support, and how people with cancer can optimally receive the supportive care.

Psychological Cancer Support: Phone or In Person
Talking with a trained professional and/or a group of people affected by cancer, including cancer patients during and after treatments as well as cancer caregivers, offers some people significant social support. Learn about cancer resources for phone and in-person support.

Online Cancer Support
Do you need ways to connect with your community online? These cancer resources allow you to create your own website for your family and friends, as well as connect with many cancer patients to receive support through more community.

Community and Cancer
How do you define, experience, and perceive community and connection? Read important perspectives with ways to explore and create support.

Sexuality for Cancer Patients
Both women and men dealing with cancer may experience changes and challenges psychologically and physically in relation to their sexuality. Learn about these issues with tips for managing them.

Social Disparities in Cancer
Social disparities in cancer are health inequities. Read about the areas and multiple levels where social disparities in cancer occur.