If you are living with metastatic breast cancer you might find that the issues you face are quite different from people who are dealing with early breast cancer.
Some people find it difficult to raise worries and fears that they may be experiencing in a group where the majority of women have early breast cancer. They sometimes worry that it will be too confronting for other members and this can lead to feeling very isolated. For other women who may have been part of an early breast cancer group for a long time or for those who find they receive very good support in an existing group, type of support group may be less important. Everyone’s needs are different and needs can sometimes change over time.
Support groups can be set out in different ways. Some focus on peer support, connecting women together who may share similar experiences. Others use a more structured format. You may see the term supportive expressive therapy used to describe the support a group offers. This type of support group is usually facilitated by a health professional such as a psychologist, where women are encouraged to discuss their feelings, strengthen their bonds with other group members and other people important to them, and find enhanced meaning in their lives.
While there are very few support groups specifically for women with secondary breast cancer in Australia, there are some in most states that you may be able to connect with and attend either in person or by phone. There are also online support group communities that may meet your needs. Another option is to join a general support group that is made up of members with different types of cancers, not just breast cancer. These groups provide support for people who often share similar concerns and issues to those that women dealing with secondary breast cancer might face.
For information on search for cancer support groups and services:
- Go to BCNA’s Local Services and Support Directory
- Contact the Cancer Council Information and Support Service on 13 11 20
Keep in mind that each group has its own 'personality'. Some groups are run by people who have experienced breast cancer and others are professionally facilitated, usually by a health care professional such as a nurse or social worker. You may need to try a few different groups before you find one that suits your particular needs. If you are connected to a Breast Care Nurse, she may also be able to assist you to find a support group in your area.
Below is a list of secondary breast cancer specific support groups and services that are currently active. For information about each support group, select the link and you will be taken to the listing within BCNA’s Local Services and Support Directory.
- Secondary Cancer Group (Auchenflower, QLD)
- Advanced Breast Cancer Group (West End, QLD)
- Bethlehem Palliative Care Day Care Centre: Living with Advanced Cancer Program
- BreaCan Program of Events and Here and Now Group for Women Living with Advanced Breast & Gynaecological Cancer
- The Thursday Girls: Group for Metastatic Breast Cancer
- Advanced Breast Cancer Support Group (Melbourne, VIC)
- Young Advanced Breast Cancer Support Group (PYNKS)
- Advanced Breast Cancer Support Group (Cottosloe, WA)
If you live in an area that does not have a local support group listed, another option is to join our secondary breast cancer group within our online network.
This group has 300 online members and so you may find that you can connect with women who are of similar age to yourself with similar life interests and experiences.