Cancer support groups – are they effective?



Cancer causes significatlt emotional distress to a considerable majority of patients. Many of these patients typically receive little formal psychological intervention. Support groups, however, have provided one forum from which patients can attempt to gain help and can use to overcome some psychological trauma that accompanies the cancer hagnosis, subsequent treatment and relapse. This article reviews past studies of professionally run cancer support groups as opposed to psychological intervention groups. These studies are considered in light of the proposed benefits and the methodological limitations frequently inherent in such studies.