Your questions answered
What is a support group?
Why join a group?
How do they help?
What happens at a support group?
When and where are they held?
What is a support group?
A support group is simply a group of people who meet on a regular basis, share common issues and support one another through their experiences.
For many women it can be an opportunity to connect with others who “get it”. Support groups are a great source of peer support and tips on everything from preparing for hair loss due to chemo, exercise after surgery and ways of managing family and friends responses to the cancer.
For some, attending a couple of times might be enough to get them back on track. Others will choose to come regularly for years.
Why join a support group?
Because together, we're stronger
There are many reasons why people join support groups. Research has found that the top five reasons people join a group are to;
- know they are not alone
- learn how other people deal with cancer and compare their experiences
- hear about current medical research
- become more informed about cancer treatment and side effects, and
- relax with others who understand what they are going through
In our experience, after diagnosis many women have feelings of isolation, worry and sadness and they do not want to share all of their concerns with family and friends. Being a part of a support group can offer;
- the opportunity to ask questions and share feelings
- receive support and friendship from those who have been through, or are going through similar experiences
- relax in a non-clinical environment
- learn coping skills in a caring and non-judgmental environment
- freedom to attend the group as you need, and when you are able to, and
- a confidential space to share your experiences and tell your story
Cancer Australia (2009). Cancer support groups: A guide for peer facilitators
Spiegel, D. & Classen, C. (2000). Group Therapy for Cancer Patients. Basic Books: New York
How do support groups help?
Being diagnosed with breast cancer can give rise to many new feelings and new issues in your life. Joining a support group can help you to share your feelings with people who understand what you’re going through. Being part of a support group can also give you the opportunity to help others through their experience while you are being helped.
What happens at a support group meeting?
By providing a safe and non-judgemental space our clients are able to reflect on their diagnosis and in turn choose how they want to respond to it. Our support groups aim to meet the needs of the individuals within that group.
Each group is different and has different members that it supports. Some groups are more open and flexible and others offer more structure. At most meetings there is a general welcome, opportunity for you to share your experiences and feelings and sometimes a guest speaker. It is important to find a group that feels right for you.
When and where are the support group meetings?
Breast Cancer Care WA offers Support Groups for women affected by breast cancer. Groups are facilitated by a counsellor and meet on a monthly basis between February and November, giving you the opportunity to attend more than one group if you feel monthly contact is not enough.
To register your interest or learn more about one of our groups please contact Lucinda on (08) 9324 3703.
Early Breast Cancer Groups
Suited to women recently diagnosed with a new or recurrence of early breast cancer and currently undergoing or recently completed treatment.
Joondalup - Second Friday of the month 10:00am - 12:00pm
Southern River- Second Thursday of the month 10:00am - 12:00pm
Heathridge - Third Thursday of the month 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Midland - Fourth Thursday of the month 10:30am - 12:30pm
Mandurah - Third Tuesday of the month from 1.00pm - 3.00pm **NEW
Winthrop - Third Monday of the month from 10.00 - 12.00pm **NEW
Early Breast Cancer Groups for Younger Women
Suited to women between 20 - 40 years or who have school aged children, diagnosed with a new or recurrence of early breast cancer and currently undergoing or recently completed treatment.
Cottesloe - Second Monday of the month 10:00am - 12:00pm
Joondalup - Fourth Friday of the month 10:00am - 12:00pm
Metastatic Breast Cancer Support Groups
Suited to women living with metastatic breast cancer.
Cottesloe - First Wednesday of the month 11:00am - 1:00pm
Perth Hills - Third Tuesday of the month 10:30am - 12:30pm
Joondalup - Third Friday of the month 10:00am - 12:00pm
Mandurah - Fourth Tuesday of the month 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Metastatic Breast Cancer Support Group for Younger Women
Suited to women between 20 - 40 years or who have school aged children and are living with metastatic breast cancer.
Cottesloe - Second Tuesday of the month 10:00am - 12:00pm
Partners of Women with Breast Cancer Support Group
Partner's of women who are living with breast cancer meet quarterly in Cottesloe on the last Tuesday of February, May, August and November 6:00pm - 8:00pm.
If you’re living outside of the metropolitan area, the Breast Cancer Click online support network might be for you.