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Providing Group Programs for Cancer Patients and Carers




  • Identifies and explains the differing types of support groups for both cancer patient and carer
  • Examines the effectiveness of support groups
  • Guides reader with comprehensive lists on the considerations for planning a cancer support group
  • Provides cancer patient comments, stories and case studies
  • Describes the maintenance needed from group leaders of support groups
  • Lists considerations and questions for both co-facilitators and leaders of support groups
  • Explains common challenges within groups and ways to resolve them

This chapter outlines two peer support options available for cancer patients and their carers: peer group programs and support groups. It begins with a brief overview of peer support programs, although the majority of this chapter is dedicated to the more widely available group programs. Consideration is given to the different types of groups available, the practicalities of establishing a group, maintaining a group, challenges commonly faced in group settings and the evaluation of groups.


Contents include

  • Types of support groups
    • Peer support programs
    • Cancer support groups
    • Leadership and co-facilitation
    • 'Icebreakers' and group activities
    • 'The group agreement'
    • Dealing with difficult situations
    • Dealing with the death of a group member
    • Referring individuals for specialist intervention
    • The termination or ending of a group
  • Aims of support groups
  • How effective are support groups?
  • Planning and piloting a support group
    • Encouraging recruitment
  • Maintaining a support group
  • Group culture and process
    • Practical considerations when facilitating groups
    • Common challenges within groups
  • Debriefing and evaluation
  • Putting it all together
  • Resources for health professionals and references
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Author / Editor Biographies

Amanda holds a bachelor's degree and a post-graduate diploma in education as well as a post-graduate diploma in counselling. She continues professional development in advanced counselling skills at the Institute for Applied Psychology, Sydney. Amanda has worked in the health system for 20 years in genetic education, health promotion and cancer information and support. She currently manages Can Support, an organisation based at Royal North Shore Hospital, which offers referral, support and information to cancer patients, their families and support networks throughout the cancer journey. She als...
Laura is a clinical psychologist with both clinical and research experience in psycho-oncology. She currently works in a tertiary oncology service providing psychosocial care to adults with various types of cancer, as well as their families and carers. She holds a doctorate of (clinical) psychology as well as a doctorate focusing on support groups for people with cancer and their carers. Emerging from Laura's doctoral work have been two large projects; one exploring the needs of leaders of cancer support groups and the other the needs of carers of people with cancer. She has presented at numer...

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