Experience, functions and benefits of a cancer support group

Patient Educ Couns. 2004 Oct;55(1):87-93. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2003.08.002.


The limited research which has been conducted in relation to self help as opposed to therapeutic cancer support groups has produced conflicting findings. In response the current study approached three local cancer support groups and requested their involvement in a qualitative study incorporating focus group discussion. Results revealed that the variation in psychological well being and coping experienced by individual members influenced subsequent preferences for support, information and involvement. Members therefore used a variety of sources of support and information throughout their care. An example of this was membership of the local cancer support group. These groups provided practical assistance, emotional support, a sense of belonging and realistic information relating to the "normal" course of the illness. However, use of these functions varied between individuals and highlighted the need to evaluate these groups not in relation to their provision of group therapy but in relation to the individual experiences of each member.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health*
  • England
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment
  • Neoplasms* / prevention & control
  • Neoplasms* / psychology
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Program Evaluation
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality of Life
  • Research Design
  • Self-Help Groups / organization & administration*
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires