Online Cancer Support Group

See Cancer Differently™

Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa wants you to have a strong support system while you deal with your cancer. To prevent you from feeling alone and allow you to learn from other cancer patients,  we are currently accepting registrations for online support groups for people affected or impacted by cancer. These are private, confidential groups, and are free of charge.

The groups are like a traditional support group in that they include people who have been through or are facing a common situation and have come together to share their experiences, learn from each other, and share emotional support with one another.

Holden Cancer Center currently offers online support groups through email and Facebook. 

Email Support Group

The email support group is set up as a mailing list of support group members. Once your name is added to the mailing list, you will be able to communicate with other members by sending and replying to emails. To register for the email support group, please complete the email support group registration form.

Facebook Support Groups

Holden is now offering a Facebook support group for all cancer patients, as well as groups specific to breast, sarcoma, and neuroendocrine cancers.

These groups are set up as “secret,” which means your Facebook friends and other users who are not part of the support group will not be able to read any posts or see that you are a member. It also means that members of the support group will not be able to share posts from the group on their personal pages.

To register for any of the Facebook support groups, please complete the Facebook support group registration form.

A Bit About Support Groups

There is no question that a diagnosis of cancer may have a significant impact on individual and family life functioning. Anxiety, sadness, anger, worry, and even depression are all 'normal' responses. The most important thing to remember when you face a cancer diagnosis, deal with treatment, and cope with the results, is that you are not alone. This is why support groups are so important, and HCCC now offers a professionally facilitated support group online. Support groups and counseling have become widely accepted as an important part of your medical treatment. Studies have shown that talking to others who understand or have been through your situation can not only make you feel less upset, fearful, or anxious, but it can also help you focus on your health and treatment.

This doesn't mean family and friends aren't important. Family and friends are crucial support in helping to cope with a cancer situation, and not everyone with cancer wants or needs counseling. But, because other "issues" can get in the way, many people find it helpful to turn to someone "outside" of their immediate circle of support. There are also many topics, such as communicating with your doctor, learning about pain medication, and advocating for benefits, that professional counselors are trained to assist you with on a regular basis.

The main thing that separates different types of counseling and support groups is whether they are peer support (which means they are run by someone who has had cancer, and has "been through it") or are professional (which means they are run by professionally trained staff). Both offer something of value.

Resources in Your Community

If you want to find out about 'face to face' or telephone support groups, ask your medical care center or call a local cancer or community agency. Also, many churches and synagogues run support and bereavement groups. You can call HCCC's Cancer Resource Center at 1-319-356-3000 for information about these and other local resources. Most counseling services by cancer agencies are free or on a sliding scale. Your insurance may also cover the cost of private counseling; check your policy or call your agent to see if this applies to you.