Support Group Helps Cancer Patients, Family, Friends

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A diagnosis of cancer has a far-reaching impact. Everyone in the patient's life -- family, friends and co-workers -- is touched by it.

The American Cancer Society has developed a number of programs to help, not only cancer patients cope with their diagnosis and the effects of treatment, but also assist their family, friends and co-workers.

Beginning Oct. 2, the ACS "I Can Cope®" program will hold its first meeting.

The program has been helping cancer patients cope with their diagnosis, treatment and recovery for more than 25 years.

The group will meet the first Monday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at the Almost New Shop meeting building, 304 E. Aero Dr., west of the Payson Regional Medical Center.

The goal of the program is to provide support, information, education and help in finding the right resources to make the experience of cancer a little easier.

Everyone is welcome -- patients, their family, friends, caregivers and anyone who feels in need of support or is having trouble getting information or locating resources.

When you check out the support group, you will be given a free cancer survival tool kit from the Live Strong Foundation.

"I Can Cope®" is a free, educational program for people facing cancer -- either personally, or as a family member, friend or caregiver.

The sessions are designed to help dispel cancer myths by presenting straightforward facts and answers to cancer-related questions.

Topics to be included are: diagnosis and treatment, side effects of treatment, emotions and self-esteem, cancer and intimacy, communications skills, community resources, financial concerns, pain management, and nutrition and fatigue.

"Knowledge is power, and the more you know about what is happening during cancer diagnosis and treatment, the better equipped you will be to handle each step of the journey. And, of course, there is great comfort in the simple knowledge that you are not alone," said Amy Somogyi, a cancer survivor and "I Can Cope®" facilitator.

Additionally, the ACS "Reach to Recovery®" program is available in Payson, along with access to general cancer information and resources through (800) 227-2345 or online at www.cancer.org.

"Reach to Recovery®" is a one-on-one peer support program with breast cancer survivors trained to respond to concerns of people who are going through breast cancer or treatment.

The ACS is looking for volunteers to help implement other programs and services.

For details, contact Barbie Patterson at (520) 323-4210.

For more information about the "I Can Cope®" program starting Oct. 2, contact Somogyi at (928) 472-6268.

Funding for the program was made possible by the ACS Relay for Life, held in Payson June 2 and 3, which raised more than $40,000 to support the society's programs and services.

American Cancer Society "I Can Cope" program

When: 6:30 p.m. the first Monday of every month

Where: Almost New Shop meeting building, 304 E. Aero Drive

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