The Power of a Community of Support When Fighting Breast Cancer

While women are exceptionally strong, powerful and driven, we’re not meant to do hard things alone. Fighting breast cancer is one of those things. 

We all know the importance of community for everything in our lives—from raising a family to creating a professional network. Yet, for some reason, when it comes to supporting our health or dealing with big things like a breast cancer diagnosis, we feel we need to go at it alone.

But, this is when you need a community of support the most. Interestingly, a study by  Psychooncology found that a women’s support network post-diagnosis impacts their survival rate. The study found that: 

“An increase in the amount of social contact, representing greater social support, may increase the likelihood of the women’s survival by enhancing their coping skills, providing emotional support, and expanding opportunities for information-sharing.”

Regardless of its impact on survival rate, there is so much power in building a supportive community around you post-breast cancer diagnosis.

community of support

The importance of building a community when fighting breast cancer

Communities are instrumental in getting people through anything in life. As humans, we’re stronger together, especially during a challenging experience.

Clea Shearer, founder of The Home Edit and co-host of the Netflix series, Get Organized with The Home Edit, who was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in April 2022. During her journey so far, she has regularly commented on the benefits of having support:

“I say it all the time, but thanks for being with me on this journey. Some days when it feels impossible, it’s what gets me through.” – Shearer mentioned in this Instagram post.

Support from your community is what will get you through the tough days. Here’s why you need to surround yourself with a supportive community while on your post-diagnosis journey.

You need a safe space

Fighting breast cancer is not easy. You need a safe space to vent your anger, frustrations and fears. People you trust and know that you can show up with as raw as you need.

You also need a safe space to be vulnerable. To be able to ask questions about your diagnosis or treatment and share your own experiences without fear of judgment.

You need encouragement and cheerleading

Hard things become more manageable when you have the right people rooting for you. It may seem small, but letters of encouragement, flower deliveries, social media posts of support and WhatsApp messages from loved ones can give you the strength to get through the day, week, or the next round of treatment.

When you have cheerleaders by your side, you start fighting cancer together. And that makes you so much stronger than doing it alone.

You need daily life support

Breast cancer treatment comes in waves. Some days you’ll be fine, fully capable of going about your usual daily routines. While other days might look a bit different. 

Chemo and radiation can knock you right off your feet. On those days, you need support. Whether it’s someone to pick your kids up from school, do a grocery run, get dinner on the table or take over an important meeting at work. 

Women tend to want to keep on doing it all. But doing it all won’t support your recovery. Try to let go and accept the support at home and work.

You need knowledgeable people in your corner

Your medical team forms a large part of your support community while fighting breast cancer. This includes your doctors, who will be there to advise you along your journey, along with the nurses and other staff at your treatment center.

It takes a whole team to fight cancer, and it’s important that you trust the medical team at your side.

You need to connect with people who can relate to your journey

Lastly, it helps to connect with others who have gone through or are going through similar experiences with breast cancer. People who you can share your experiences with and also learn about theirs. Simply hearing about their wins and struggles can give you information on how to deal with your own.

It also makes you feel less alone. While your friends and family will do their best to empathize with you, if they haven’t gone through a similar experience, it’s hard for them to truly understand the range and intensity of your emotions.

People who’ve been in your shoes can also share tips, insights and additional resources that you may not know about—whether it’s about new medication or different treatment options.

Who should be in your supportive community

The most obvious people to lean on are your friends and family. And while they will be the best people to have by your side, extending your community of support is also good.

A breast cancer support group is a great place to find more people to connect with. They’re there to share their experiences with you and for you to talk about your biggest fears, challenges and questions surrounding breast cancer and everything that comes with it. Plus, they act as a great resource and place to go for advice.

The American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen Foundation and the National Breast Cancer Foundation all provide extensive lists of support groups across the US. If you’re not in the US, simply Google “breast cancer support group and your area,” and you should find a few nearby. Facebook also has a wide variety of breast cancer support groups if you can’t find any local support groups in your area.

Then there comes your medical community. Cancer care can be complex, and you’ll likely need a multidisciplinary team of experts by your side—from your GP to your oncologist (medical, surgical, radiation), pathologist, radiologist and nurses. Build a cancer care team with which you can trust and feel genuinely cared for.

Lastly, your support network needs to extend to your professional world. It helps to have a team at work that you know you can rely on to step in when you can’t. It’s not always easy to get this structure in place—especially since cancer diagnosis always comes unexpected—but the sooner you do, the better you’ll be able to leave work stress behind and focus on your recovery.

Remember, you’re not alone in this

A breast cancer diagnosis is scary and even more so if you don’t have the necessary support around you. There is immense power in building a community of support when fighting breast cancer. From gathering the best medical team to building your personal cheer squad, the people you surround yourself with while fighting breast cancer are essential.

Find us here

2800 NW 105th Ave. Miami,

FL 33172 USA

© 2024 Celbrea® · All rights reserved · Privacy Policy · Terms of Service