Ovarian cancer support groups can benefit people in several ways. Sometimes it can help to talk with people who are going through similar experiences.
This article describes what a support group can offer, who they are for, and outlines the different types of available support groups.
It also explains how to find a group and examines some other options for support.
Cancer support groups are online or in-person spaces where people who have been affected by cancer can share their experiences.
- difficulty coping with the diagnosis and disease
- changes in family dynamics
- difficulty making decisions
- challenges with returning to work
- concerns about finances
- changes in how a person sees themselves
- grief and fear
- mood changes, such as anxiety and depression
Support groups are available for people who are living with ovarian cancer. There are also groups for the family and caregivers of people who are living with ovarian cancer.
Doctors sometimes call support groups peer-to-peer support.
Many people will get help from family and friends when they have cancer. Support groups are different as they give people the opportunity to talk with others experiencing similar situations.
Being part of a cancer support group could improve a person’s quality of life.
- feel hopeful
- feel less alone
- discuss their feelings without worrying about upsetting friends and family
- cope with practical or logistical problems, such as child care or work challenges
- cope with treatment side effects
Family members or caregivers of those with ovarian cancer may also benefit from attending support groups.
Support groups can help people cope with cancer. However, they are not right for everyone.
Before joining a group, people may wish to consider whether they are comfortable discussing their personal issues and listening to other people’s experiences.
It is also worth remembering that there are different types of support groups. People can choose to attend in-person or online support groups.
Some support groups are open to people with all types of cancer, and others are specifically for those living with a certain type of cancer, including ovarian cancer.
When choosing the right one for them, people may want to consider:
- what they hope to gain from the group
- if they would prefer to talk with people in person or online
- the size of group
- who attends the group, and whether it focuses on a particular cancer or age range
- if the meetings are led by a cancer survivor or a professional
While most groups are free, some will ask for a small fee. Sometimes, health insurance may cover this.
All groups are different, and some people may want to try a few to decide what works best for them. Many groups will also offer a mix of online and in-person support.
Many support groups take place online. People may meet in forums, webinars, or on social media.
Attending an online support group means that people can access them anytime and do not require travel.
People may wish to explore the following online support groups:
National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC)
This is a 24/7 online support forum. It is open to anyone who has been affected by ovarian cancer.
People can ask questions and share experiences with others who have had similar experiences.
People can register for NOCC’s support group here.
Inspire: Ovarian Cancer Community
This is an Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (OCRA)-sponsored online support group.
It is a free online community that provides a space for people to ask questions and seek support from those who have undergone similar experiences.
People can visit Inspire here.
CancerCare ovarian cancer patient support group
This 15-week online group is for people currently receiving treatment for ovarian cancer.
It takes place via a password-protected message board and allows people to connect and support each other. An oncology social worker leads the group, providing emotional and practical support.
People can register CancerCare’s online support group here.
This support service is for people with cancer and caregivers. It matches the person to a trained mentor of a similar age and with similar cancer experiences for one-to-one support.
People can visit 4th Angel here.
In-person support groups tend to be meetings that a volunteer or professional cancer expert leads. Some people may find it easier to talk and connect face-to-face.
There are lots of different in-person support groups across the United States. Anyone wanting to find the closest group to them can ask their cancer care team or use the ACS local resource
People can find peer support groups using the following resources:
For those based in the United Kingdom, people can find ovarian cancer support groups using:
People with cancer can face financial difficulties. For example, health insurance does not always cover the treatments and expenses, such as co-pays and traveling to the hospital.
The patient advocacy charity CancerCare has a fact sheet on sources of financial assistance. It covers:
- possible routes of government assistance
- pharmaceutical company patient assistance programs
- non-profits that offer co-pay relief
- cancer organizations that may be able help
- community organizations that may be able to help
Coping with cancer can be difficult for the person and their family and friends.
Other options for support include:
Cancer care team
The person’s cancer care team is there to support the person and their family. They can:
- discuss treatments
- explain the latest research and any upcoming clinical trials
- inform the person about local support groups and programs
- help the person access any available financial help
Trained cancer specialists can help answer questions and provide advice using the following helplines:
- Operating hours: Monday–Friday
- Contact number: 212-268-1002
Share Cancer Support
A person can call 866-537-4273.
ACS 24/7 Cancer Helpline
A person can call 1-800-227-2345.
Cancer Support Society’s Support Helpline
- Operating hours: People can contact them from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday–Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
- Contact number: 888-793-9355
Ovarian cancer support groups can be beneficial to people with the condition. They can also benefit family members and caregivers. They allow people to talk with someone who understands what they are going through.
Support groups may take place in-person or online, and many combine the two. They may be for people with ovarian cancer or with any type of cancer.
Other possible sources of support include the person’s cancer care team and dedicated cancer helplines.