Finding Help and Support

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 02/2012

Support for coping with cancer comes from different sources, such as family, friends, other people with cancer, support groups, interactive websites, and health care professionals. Many young adults with cancer find that they need different kinds of support throughout the cancer experience.

Talking with family and friends. Talking with someone you trust—such as a friend, teacher, or religious advisor—often helps you sort through what you're thinking and feeling. Remember that your friends and family can be some of your best supporters.

Talking with other young adults with cancer. Other young adults with cancer may share your fears and concerns. In addition to offering emotional support, they may be able to offer suggestions for talking with your doctor and balancing school, work, or family life. Check to see whether your hospital or treatment center has support groups for young adults with cancer, contact local branches of national support organizations to find support groups in your area, or visit other websites for young adults with cancer.

Connecting online. The Internet and social media can be helpful tools to connect with other young adults with cancer. Many of these sites offer message boards, online support groups, or connections to other cancer survivors. Sometimes people find that communicating online is easier than talking in person, especially if you are discussing difficult issues. Some websites also provide ways to keep all of your friends and family updated on your progress. However, be careful about sharing personal details, diagnosis information and data, or pictures, especially if the website has no security features, such as password protection. Learn more about online communities for support.

Finding professional help. Even if you are getting support from your family and friends, you may benefit from speaking to a counselor, social worker, or therapist to talk through your feelings about cancer. Most hospitals and treatment centers have counselors and social workers who are trained to help young people cope with cancer. Ask your doctor to recommend someone who has experience working with young adults with cancer.

Writing about the experience. For some people, writing helps process their journey with cancer. You may feel like writing about personal thoughts, feelings, dreams, stories, or poems. Consider finding a special journal or notebook to record your experiences. Find out more about the benefits of keeping a journal.

More Information

Talking With Your Friends

How to Find a Counselor

Cancer in Young Adults