People who have chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), or friends and family of those with the condition, may find a support group helpful. Support groups can connect people with others who are going through a similar experience, and provide understanding for specific challenges people may be facing.
There are many different support groups available for those experiencing CML themselves, or through a loved one.
In this article, we look at the benefits people may experience from joining a support group, and list a range of support groups suitable for adults and children living with CML and their family and friends. There are also culturally competent groups and those specifically for those in the LBGTQIA+ community.
Joining a CML support group may provide many benefits for people with CML, as well as their friends and family. A CML support group can:
- offer mutual support
- provide a connection with people who are going through similar experiences
- give people the chance to talk freely about how they feel, and talk about any anxieties or concerns they may have
- provide coping strategies and practical advice
- offer support to family and friends of people with CML, and increase their bond and understanding to a person going through CML
- provide information, education, and resources
- make people feel less alone
The following support groups may be beneficial for adults living with CML.
The National CML Society: CML Connection
CML Connection is a support network that runs groups across the United States. The support groups welcome anyone with CML, as well as family members and caregivers.
The groups offer people a connection with others going through CML, the chance to learn and discuss the latest CML news, and the opportunity to discover how the Society can best support individual needs.
People can find more information here.
Cancer Care: Blood Cancers Patient Support Group
Cancer Care offers a free, virtual, 15-week Blood Cancer Patient Support Group. The group is open to anyone in the United States who is undergoing treatment for blood cancer. An oncology social worker runs the online group, which aims to:
- reduce feelings of isolation and anxiety
- help people develop new coping methods
- increase feelings of hope and empowerment
- provide practical information for treatment and resources
- helps people improve communication between their healthcare team and loved ones
The group starts on October 1, 2021, but people can also join after this date. People can register here.
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Support Groups
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s support groups offer people with leukemia or lymphoma the opportunity to meet with other people who have gone through the same experience. They are open to anyone whom a blood cancer diagnosis has affected, including patients, family members, and caregivers.
Groups are free and usually meet once a month.
The following support groups may be useful for children or young adults living with CML.
Young Adult Survivors United
Young Adult Survivors United (YASU) has a support group for people aged 18–39 with a cancer diagnosis. They provide local and national support to provide a sense of community and help prevent people from feeling isolated.
The support group currently holds two virtual sessions per week.
YASU offers financial support for those who meet certain criteria and offers grants of up to $500 to help with the financial costs of living with cancer.
YASU also offers monthly social activities, a book club, a prayer group, and workshops. All support groups and events are currently virtual.
Other YASU support groups include:
- the Young Adult African American Cancer Support Group
- the Co-Survivor Support Group, for anyone caring for or supporting a young adult cancer survivor
- the Grief Support Group, for anyone who has lost a young adult to cancer
People can find out more and register their interest at the website here.
Although not a support group, Stupid Cancer has a range of digital meet-ups for young adults to connect with others going through similar experiences.
The following groups provide specialized support for people belonging to specific cultural groups.
Latinas Contra Cancer
Latinas Contra Cancer provides support groups for the Latino community. They hold monthly support groups which provide psychosocial support groups in Spanish, for people with a cancer diagnosis and their families.
The groups welcome and appreciate the Latino culture and language. The support groups cover topics such as:
- the impact of cancer on family
- improving communication
- balancing physical and emotional needs
- understanding mental health issues, such as depression
- anger and stress management
- intimacy and cancer
- spirituality and cancer
Latinas Contra Cancer also hosts community events, such as free spa days and family events to encourage self-care and a healthy lifestyle.
Latinas Contra Cancer is based in Santa Clara County and people can find out more information through their website.
Cancer Support Community: African American Fellowship
The Cancer Support Community African American Fellowship is a support group for anyone who identifies as Black or African American. The group welcomes those with a cancer diagnosis as well as family members and friends, or those who have lost a loved one to cancer.
The free, virtual support group runs twice a month. The meetings are held on Zoom. Professional facilitators run the group and people will need to register first through the form.
The following groups can provide support to adults or children belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community who are living with CML.
Cancer Support Community: Pride Cancer Support Group
Cancer Support Community runs a Pride Cancer Support Group for those in the LBGTQIA+ community. The group is for people with a cancer diagnosis and loved ones, and welcomes anyone who identifies as:
- any other sexual or gender minority
The group meets virtually every month. People can find a group local to them here.
Young Adult Survivors United and F Cancer: LBGTQIA+ Support Group
Let’s F Cancer and Young Adult Survivors United have come together to provide a support group for anyone who identifies as LBGTQIA+ and is either post-treatment or undergoing treatment for cancer.
The support group aims to provide a safe space for people to share their experiences and find a sense of belonging, compassion, and comfort.
The group meets virtually on Zoom every month, starting from May 4, 2021. A registered oncology social worker facilitates the group. People can register here.
The following support group may be helpful to the friends or family of those living with CML.
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Family Support Groups
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) provides support groups for those affected by blood cancers. The LLS Family Support Group provides a caring, comfortable setting for families to discuss their feelings, learn, and share information.
The LLS Family Support Groups are free and usually meet once a month. Two healthcare professionals run the group, who have experience in oncology and group work and can deal with sensitive issues.
The LLS currently has 130 local groups across the United States, and people can use this search tool to find one in their local area.
Support groups may provide a range of benefits for people with a CML diagnosis, as well as family members, friends, and caregivers.
Support groups are not a replacement for any form of psychotherapy, but they can be a valuable coping tool and source of support.
Support groups may help people feel less alone, connect with others, express their feelings, and gain practical advice.