How to Find and Join a Cancer Support Group

If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, you don’t need to go through your journey alone. Support groups can be beneficial for cancer patients to find others going through similar health journeys and to lean on professionals for information and support. 

If you don’t know where to start, we’ve got you covered. We share some helpful tips on where to find the right support group for your health journey.

What Do Cancer Support Groups Do? 

Cancer support groups create a safe space for people diagnosed with any form of cancer to share their experiences, stories, and to lean on others for advice and inspiration. This process aims to help cancer patients feel less alone in their journey.

Cancer support groups also allow patients to learn how to cope with the side effects of cancer, from balancing school and work to breaking the news to family and friends.

How to Choose a Support Group

Choosing a support group is based on what you are most comfortable with. Cancer support groups range widely in sizes, length, frequency, and formats. It’s okay to visit one support group and not feel like it helped. Testing different types of support groups is an important part of finding one that is right for you.

Types of Cancer Support Groups

1. Social Media 

Social media is often one of the best places to find cancer groups. Whether it’s a Facebook group or an Instagram account that creates a supportive community in the comments, social media platforms make it fairly simple to connect with those that have similar conditions to your own. 

You can find social media support groups through word of mouth from friends and family, through attending in-person support groups, or simply searching for cancer support groups on your favorite social media site. Online support is also available through the American Cancer Society’s Reach to Recovery app. Through their website and mobile app, you can create an online profile and match with a volunteer who has experienced a similar type of cancer, stage, and treatment. You can also choose how you want to connect with a volunteer – through online chat, a phone call or exchanging messages. 

“Diagnosis, melanoma. I found a support group on Facebook. People are sadly misinformed about melanoma, how sneaky it is, they say ‘oh lucky you, it’s just skin cancer.’ They don’t see the treatments or the struggles, they don’t understand that melanoma likes to hide and rear its ugly head even years later. I get it, I didn’t understand either, but I’m so thankful for the support groups where people can vent, can share, can fight together. I was blessed that mine was caught early, but I’ve learned to be diligent thanks to others, and prayerfully hope mine won’t rear back up.”

Kimberly C.

2. Professional-led Support Groups 

Professional-led support groups may offer some more specific information about your condition and may have the ability to connect you with others going through similar journeys. Sometimes it is comforting to get advice or guidance from someone who is either highly knowledgeable about your condition or has gone through the exact same thing. 

There are hundreds of databases and resources available online that can help you find professional support during your cancer journey. Resources like and the National Cancer Institute are two great examples for connecting with others.

“Imerman Angels has been a great help to my husband with cancer. They matched him with another male of similar age who has the same rare form of sarcoma cancer as his mentor. It has been super helpful for my husband to have someone to talk to who knows exactly what he is experiencing.”

Christine W.

3. Specialized Support Groups 

With a wide variety of cancers comes a wide variety of specialized support groups. If you have a rather specific or rare condition, sometimes finding a specialized support group can help you feel less alone.

“My (young adult) son had brain cancer. We attended a brain tumor support group. At each meeting caregivers and the brains (as my son called them) would socialize together. Then the caregivers would go to another room. Both groups were led by moderators knowledgeable in brain cancer. It was wonderful to break the group like that so we could speak freely without worrying about misunderstanding or hurt feelings.”

Catherine F.

4. Informational Support Groups

Informational support groups often offer guidance and information specific to your cancer journey. Mentors leading these groups may have thoughtful advice specific to your own condition, or something you’re experiencing as your life changes over time. Bringing close friends or family members to these types of support groups may not only ease the nerves of trying a new group but also allow your loved ones better understand your condition.

“We attended a TBI group. This one was also wonderful. Each person said how their month had been and talked out any issues they had. There was also a set topic and information handouts. The groups were an important part of our lives for nearly 9 years. I strongly recommend finding a support group…or two.”

Catherine F.

couple embracing in a hug
Pictured is Michael Bischoff, whose story is part of our How We Heal series.

5. Friends & Family 

Support groups don’t need to be strangers, and sometimes leaning on family or friends is enough. If you’re comfortable talking about your concerns and health journey with loved ones, know that you are not a burden. Sometimes family and friends have similar stories to share about their own health journeys which can help with the coping and learning process.

“Hospice helped my Uncle Don and having a pastor come and do a communion at your house with family members brought some closeness with the family…and being there to talk with Josh helps so he doesn’t think he’s alone”

Wendy G.

“I have had stage IV Glioblastoma brain cancer since the end of September, 2016. Since COVID-19 hit, the support group has been limited. I’ve been grateful to still be here with my family, and my husband has been working at home!”

Sarah S.

6. Telephone Support Groups

Some cancer networks offer telephone helplines with confidential support for those that need it. For some, it can be helpful to vent or express worries and frustrations to a complete stranger. Some telephone support lines are able to connect you with volunteers who have been through similar situations. If you’re feeling alone, know that people are there to support you just a phone call away.

7. Use CaringBridge for Support 

Consider starting a CaringBridge site to share parts of your health journey with friends, family, and others who may be having similar experiences to your own. CaringBridge journals allow patients to post updates as often as needed. This process can be to record your own feelings and emotions throughout the journey, to update loved ones on your progress, or a combination of both. Sometimes just writing down what you’re feeling and sharing that writing with others helps to alleviate part of the stress. Share your CaringBridge page with people you feel supported by. 

“My daughter, Terrilynn, died of colon cancer, and had 2 small children, and a hubby. She wrote everyday, in her caring book journal, until she could not, then her hubby continued. We had pictures, also. After her death we brought the book of her journey with her life. They were awesome with her life, in CaringBridge. Thank you!”

Mary M.B.

Don’t go through your health journey alone.

You can stay connected to friends and family, plan and coordinate meals, and experience love from any distance.

All of this is ready for you when you start your personal CaringBridge site, which is completely free of charge, ad-free, private and secure. Don’t spend another minute alone!

What Support Group Has Been Influential For You? 

There are a wide variety of cancer support groups. What methods or organizations have created a particularly meaningful experience for you? Feel free to share your stories in the comments below.

Pictured at the beginning is Cat Thisius, whose story is part of our How We Heal Series.

  • Roberta Kerzanet

    Has anyone heard of Herthle Cell carcinoma.

  • Thomas baird

    As A cancer survivor I would like to tell others about my op. and my recovery and the mental toll it took upon me. May find somebody that have something in common

  • Deborah Foxwell

    I am actually looking for assistance for my Sister Sharon she has been diagnosed with Metastasis Colin Cancer stage 4 and has spread to her lungs and liver Her treatment plan is Holistic and Hospice and Cannabis oils She lives in Charlotte North Carolina and I live in Chesapeake Virginia we are trying to get her home so she can be with her family and friends ❤ I need her help and I have tried everything ❤Deb

  • Dawn

    Hi. I just founf out i have stage 3 melanoma cancer.i am so scared
    Pet scan showed clear only where the tumor is on the side of my face by my ear .also also swelling under ear. Go for my first of 4 fusions on friday at the mofftti center in tampa .the hardship on me is getting help for the 6 hour drive ….
    Worried about bills how am i getting to treatments etc ..i just need someone to talk to ….

  • Sally

    I must share that my husband had esophageal cancer. He had it removed three months ago and now it is back in two other places. Unfortunately there is a lot that goes with the removal of the esophagus a d learning to swallow.
    We were not given much guidance even though the Cancer Society., Now our journey is on new path back to chemo possibly radiation again. My husband weight 186 three months ago he is now down to 130. Starting new treatments is scary he is so weak for not eating.
    Asking for prayers for all facing this horrible disease.

  • Eve

    I made my own F.B. support group… Actually it is a Grassroots Group for change… it is called: Recurrence Metastatic Uterine- Endometrial Cancer…. I have a few women and no real comments and personal statements…I have encouraged them to step up… The Grassroots idea is for change.. We need a Recurrence Organization for Uterine/Endometrial Cancer Awareness, Pre-testing and after HYSTERECTOMY with blood work
    follow up for Progesterone levels and Estrogen levels…. CT Scans are very important to add to the patients forever care like Mammograms & Colonoscopy…
    Chemo is the go to treatment and Brachytherapy and eternal radiation…
    Insurance companies don’t think that CT Scans or Pet Scans after the elimination of the reproductive system should have preventive care.. No pre-screening when we have our reproductive system… and follow up is handed over ti the Chemo Team and Radiation Team… And see you next year… Proper Care is Needed!

  • Jane I Grillot

    I have ductal breast cancer…had my right breast completly removed about 3 weeks ago. They think they got it all. I go see a oncology dr. in a week or so. I have no idea what the plans are…..or if everything is OK and I don;t have anything else to do. Right now under my arm ahs really been sore…..they did take 5 lymph nodes out and all show clear of cancer. And I don’t want to show stupid of asking ??

  • Sandra

    I’m really sad I’ve got lung cancer but im alone i need someone to talk to

  • Rose

    I need friends, my besties all 4 of them died from cancer, I was by their sides thru it. Now, I’m stage 4, MBC. I was a 17 yr survivor until it came back in my lymph nodes. Breast cancer. Now, I sit with no friends, I have my husband and son with 3 granddaughters. I’m so grateful. But, nothing like a good friend.

  • Emma

    In December I was diagnosed with lung cancer. I thought I had pulled a muscle in my shoulder and was going through physical therapy for it. At first my doctor told me it stage four palliative. I knew I was going and made all the plans. Until a surgeon looked it my CT scan and said I can get that it’s curable. So after 5 weeks of chemo 5 weeks of radiation every day I had surgery. He took out three ribs part of my low and got over 90% of the tumor. We knew that he had to leave a little bit of the cells in there up against my spine. It had not spread anywhere else just sad there up against my ribs. I took two more doses of triple chemo. They do believe that there’s nothing now to worry about that we will keep and watch on it. There’s always hope.

  • Yolanda

    Hello I was diagnosed with invasive ductal breast cancer back in 2020 . I have had it removed and went through 33 treatments of radiation. I couldn’t have asked for a better team of doctors. I did go through genetic testing and found out that I have the ATM GENE. Being I have this gene . I’ve been told that cancer may come back in my breast as well as other parts. Of my body. I’m in need of a good support group.

  • Carol

    I was diagnosed with breast cancer in February of this year. Have WONDERFUL family and friends for support. I would love to help support others if I can that may not have that.

  • Darlene

    Would love to join a support group, tell me where and how. Was diagnosed with best cancer a month ago

  • Gina

    Yes I have breast cancer. I would like to talk to a support group.

  • Jordyn

    I’m almost a year into my cancer diagnosis and have been going through it alone for the most part. I have lots of support from friends and social media, but literally don’t have anyone to walk with me through this journey. I haven’t had anyone go with me to my chemo or Dr appointments or help with daily tasks. I started a caring bridge site but don’t know how to connect it to my social media accounts. I may be going into remission soon and I don’t know if I should even ask for help anymore. Does anyone have any tips or ideas for me?

  • barbara harris

    I really need help I am going through a very hard time…