A cancer diagnosis can be isolating – and isolation is not good for anybody’s health. Distress is a health indicator too, and many cancer patients (and their doctors) don’t know how to get help. Others – people who live in rural areas, or whose shyness, health or schedules don’t allow it – are simply unable to attend a professionally-led support group.
CancerChatCanada is meant to address these gaps in care. It’s an initiative to provide online support to cancer patients and caregivers. CancerChatCanada accepts registrations from patients and, in groups of six to eight, offers facilitation from a professional oncology counsellor once a week for 90 minutes in a live Internet chat room. All you need is a computer and Internet connection. Groups generally “meet” online for about 12 weeks. Groups may be formed by type of cancer or by similarity of treatment points. There are groups for people caring for someone with cancer, groups for young women survivors of breast cancer, and cancer patients in treatment among others.
The site is a national initiative funded primarily through the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, with partners across Canada including Alberta.
If you’re interested, visit the website to complete a registration form and find out about upcoming groups. Once an enrolment co-ordinator has contacted you and figured out which group is best for you, he or she will provide you with an email, password and instructions for logging in to your group chat.
Visit cancerchatcanada.ca. It’s easier when you’re not in it alone.