Finding a Support Buddy

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 08/2015

Many people with cancer may experience fear, anger, or sadness. Most family members and friends want to offer their help and support. But discussing cancer with someone who has never had the disease can be difficult.

Support groups are a good place to connect with other people coping with cancer. Connecting with a survivor of the same type of cancer who has faced the same issues you are facing may also help. Many organizations offer “buddy programs” that match you with a survivor of the same type of cancer. Through this relationship, you get one-on-one support throughout your cancer treatment.

General buddy programs

  • Imerman Angels matches a person with cancer with someone who has completed treatment for the same type of cancer. The program also matches caregivers. Contact: 877-274-5529

  • American Cancer Society: Reach to Recovery connects men and women with breast cancer to breast cancer survivors. Participants can also receive information on various breast cancer issues and concerns. Contact: 800-227-2345

  • Colon Cancer Alliance Buddy Program matches a survivor with a person with colorectal cancer. In addition to receiving emotional support, people with cancer learn about treatment, side effects, and other important issues. Contact: 877-422-2030

  • Lung Cancer Alliance Phone Buddy Program matches people living with lung cancer with volunteers who have completed or are going through lung cancer treatment. Caregivers and family members also can be matched with a buddy who is coping with a similar situation. Contact: 800-298-2436

For young adults

Young adults can research the following options to find and connect with someone their age who has faced a similar type of cancer:

  • The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults offers two programs. The Patient Navigation program provides resources and support for young adults dealing with cancer. The 1 on 1 Cancer Support program networks young adults with cancer, their loved ones, and other survivors so they can share experiences and lend support. Contact: 888-393-3863

  • Young Survival Coalition SurvivorLink allows young women with breast cancer to connect with fellow patients and survivors who volunteer in this program. SurvivorLink matches women based on specific concerns and issues, such mastectomy and breast reconstruction, cultural issues, advanced disease, and family risk of breast cancer. Contact: 877-972-1011

To find out more about buddy and support programs offered by other organizations, review a list of general cancer groups and cancer-specific resources. If you know of programs that are not listed here or of corrections to this information, please email

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