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Healthcare research has shown that support groups often help individuals better cope with their conditions. Along with support groups, physicians are an important source of support and guidance. Finding a physician that can help with your unique needs is a valuable aspect of your care.

Studies show that people who participate in support groups live longer and experience a better quality of life. These participants learned coping skills and had an opportunity to share their feelings with others in the same situation. The emotional side of an illness can be just as difficult as the physical. Everyone deals with situations differently and how you cope and your attitude can greatly influence your well-being.

People diagnosed with cancer are dealing with many emotions and even the most supportive families may sometimes be unable to help. Cancer brings about many uncertainties and challenges which can make people feel lonely. In a support group, people are able to relate and speak more openly about their feelings and emotions and learn from others who are in the same situation. This confidential atmosphere is also a place to learn more about specific cancers and exchange information about their disease.

There are many types of support groups. Some groups are general cancer support groups. More specialized groups are available for teens or young adults, for family members or for a specific disease. There are many options available so, when seeking a support group, find one that makes you feel comfortable.

Selecting Your Doctor

A doctor can help ease your anxieties and answer many questions. Many factors must be considered before choosing a doctor. In order to make the most informed decision you may want to speak to many doctors before choosing one. The following questions may help you in deciding which doctor is best for you:

  • Does the doctor have the education and training to meet my needs?
  • Does the doctor use the hospital that I have chosen?
  • Does the doctor listen to me and treat me with respect?
  • Does the doctor explain things clearly and encourage me to ask questions?
  • What are the doctor’s office hours?
  • Who covers for the doctor when he or she is unavailable?
  • How long does it take to get an appointment with the doctor?

Additional questions can be asked when choosing a surgeon:

  • Is the surgeon board-certified?
  • Has the surgeon been evaluated by a national professional association?
  • At which treatment facility does the surgeon practice?
  • How often does the surgeon perform the surgery that I might need?
  • How many of these procedures has the surgeon performs? What was the success rate?

As with a support group it is important you choose a doctor with whom you feel comfortable.

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