Full support or light support – breast cancer groups offer up all sizes.
Traditional support groups find participants sitting in a circle sharing stories, struggles and advice. But breast cancer patients and survivors can find comfort and help in many ways and in many places, both in person and online.
Major breast cancer websites have online discussion groups where people may connect, get tips or share advice for coping with treatments and side effects. Among our favorites:
Plenty of information, such as “what to do the day of surgery,” is readily available. Some of these major websites also have thousands of discussion boards, many of them splintering into local meet-ups.
“Support groups help validate your experience,” said Selma Schimmel, founder of Vital Options International, a cancer communications and advocacy organization. She is also a breast cancer survivor and author of the book, “Cancer Talk.”
Schimmel believes breast cancer patients who attend support groups have an easier time and survive longer because they get positive energy and up-to-date information during what can be an emotional tidal wave. Groups are a great place to learn about side effects, clinical trials and trends with treatment, she said.
Men Against Breast Cancer offers online resources to men who want to support women in their lives with breast cancer. Survivors are the heart of another group, SHARE, which offers support to women in and around New York City who have been diagnosed with breast cancer or ovarian cancer.
Other Long Island-based support groups include:
- Breast Cancer Support Group for patients, survivors and their families, in partnership with Islip Breast Cancer Coalition, meets weekly from 7 to 8:30 pm in the 5-Tower Classroom, Southside Hospital, 301 East Main Street, Bay Shore. For specific days and more information about programs offered by the Coalition, please call 631-968-7424.
- Breast Cancer Series meets weekly, 5:30 to 7:00 pm, at North Shore University Hospital-Sandra Atlas Bass Campus, Radiation Oncology Department, 300 Community Drive, Manhasset. Please call 516-562-2825 for dates and pre-registration.
- Breast Cancer Support Group I meets on the second and fourth Thursday of each month, 5:30 to 7 pm at 1 North, Huntington Hospital, 270 Park Avenue, Huntington. Please contact Gail Probst, RN, at 631-351-2568 or Judy Koles, RN, at 631-351-2564. For the newly diagnosed breast cancer patient (up to one year post diagnosis).
- Breast Cancer Support Group II meets on the third Thursday of each month, 7 to 9 pm at 1 South Conference Room # 1, Huntington Hospital, 270 Park Avenue, Huntington. Please contact Toni Lico at 631-757-4581. Informal discussion for women diagnosed with breast cancer more than one year ago.
- Sisters of Greater Long Island meets the fourth Monday of the month, 7 pm at Trailer #1, Huntington Hospital, 270 Park Avenue, Huntington. ALSO AT: Babylon Pool and Recreation Center, Phelps Lane, Deer Park on the second Monday of the month at 7 pm. Please contact: Pamela: 516-606-2685; Mary: 631-643-6702; or Cynthia: 631-351-2343. All African-American Breast Cancer Survivors Organization.
- Beyond Breast Cancer meets twice monthly on Tuesdays, 5:30 to 7 p.m. at North Shore University Hospital-Sandra Atlas Bass Campus. Please contact Gina DiVincenzo, LCSW, at 516-562-2825 for exact locations and registration. Discussion group for women diagnosed with breast cancer that are completing their treatment process and beyond.
- Babylon Breast Cancer Coalition provides support and referral services to breast and gynecological cancer and their families.
- The Islip Breast Cancer Coalition serves as a community resource for Islip Town residents confronted with breast cancer.