Living with cancer blog

Reach out to others to ward off isolation

By Sheryl M. Ness, R.N. February 27, 2010

If you've been diagnosed with a rare or unusual cancer, you know that one of the most difficult aspects is that it's really hard to find someone else who's had the same experience as you have as a cancer survivor. This can bring out feelings of isolation, fear and worry.

It's also difficult to understand that at times even your doctor may not have the answers to all of your questions about your cancer type. Over the years, I've met many people who were diagnosed with rare cancers, such as carcinoid, appendix, ocular melanoma and others. Finding educational resources can be challenging, not to mention finding treatment guidelines or research that has been published about the specific cancer type.

Cancer survivors find great support in each other; to share experiences, thoughts and feelings. Many times, the most value is in finding someone else to talk to who has experienced a similar situation. Reach out to others through social networks and general support groups. Look for opportunities to volunteer or be an advocate to other cancer survivors. In doing this, you may find the people you meet along the way become your personal support group, regardless of cancer type, and many times, friends for life.

Maybe you're more of an introvert and find that expressing your feelings by writing or other artistic/creative ways helps with the feelings of isolation. If you're someone who has been diagnosed with a rare or unusual cancer, please reach out through this blog to share your thoughts and feelings, as well as any resources or strategies that you found helpful in your experience as a cancer survivor.

With

Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.

Follow on Twitter: @SherylNess1

Feb. 27, 2010