Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is Cancer Support Community?
A: Cancer Support Community is a not-for-profit organization that provides social and emotional support for people with cancer and their families. Services are research-based, professionally-led, and free of charge, and include support groups, healthy lifestyle classes, educational programs, social activities, community resource referrals and treatment decision support.
In a nutshell, we provide support, education and hope:
Support for the emotional and social concerns through diagnosis, treatment, long-term recovery, survivorship, and advanced disease.
Education about what to expect with treatment and its side effects, how to cope and to navigate difficult decisions that often accompany cancer, and how to live well as a survivor.
Hope gained through being with others who are facing cancer survivorship together.
Q: Who uses Cancer Support Community?
A: CSC’s participants include:
Individuals who have cancer and the desire to improve the quality of their lives and be an active partner along with their physicians and healthcare team.
People who have had cancer, have completed medical treatments and who wish to maintain their health while focusing on survivorship issues.
Family and friends who are supporting a loved one facing cancer.
We are here for people newly diagnosed, during and after treatment, through long-term survivorship or advanced disease. No referral is needed.
Q: Can a family member or friend attend even if the person with cancer does not?
A: Yes! We have specific groups solely for family and friends of the person with cancer, where people share their experiences, learn how to best support the person with cancer, and also learn to take care of themselves. Also, support people are welcome to attend all other programs, such as educational workshops and healthy lifestyle classes.
Q: What is the best way to become involved at Cancer Support Community?
A: The best way to become involved is by attending a Newcomer Orientation Meetings which provides new community members with an introduction to all of the services and programs available at Cancer Support Community. Attending a Newcomer Orientation Meetings is not required, however, unless you would like to join one of the weekly support groups.
Q: When is the best time to become involved at Cancer Support Community?
Research shows that the longer people participate in CSC’s support and education programs, the more they improve their lives. So now that you know about CSC, now is the very best time to join!
Q: Do participants follow a specific program?
A: Community members decide for themselves which parts of the program that they believe will help them improve their own well-being, or that they feel most comfortable with. Some members participate in lots of programs; others find that a few programs meet their needs and schedules.
Q: What is the program philosophy?
A: At the center of Cancer Support Community’s program philosophy is the innovative Patient Active Concept developed in 1982 by Harold Benjamin, PhD, founder of Cancer Support Community. It says:
Cancer patients who participate in their fight for recovery—along with their physician and healthcare team—rather than being hopeless, helpless, passive victims of the illness, will improve the quality of their lives and may enhance the possibility of their recovery.
Q: Is there research to support what you do?
A: All the programs at Cancer Support Community are based on mind/body research that shows how you think and feel can have an effect on the immune system. Surveys of our participants consistently show that the men and women who participate in programs here feel their quality of life has improved, feel more in control, and feel more hopeful.
In 2007, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued a ground breaking report, Cancer Care for the Whole Patient: Meeting Psychosocial Health Needs, which declared psychosocial support an essential part of cancer care. The report goes on to state that community-based nonprofit organizations are crucial to delivering this support and need to be better incorporated into the continuum of care. This report validated what Cancer Support Community has known and worked hard to deliver for more than 25 years.
Q: Isn’t it depressing to be around so many other people with cancer?
A: Our participants consistently tell us otherwise – that they find their experience here to be uplifting and affirming. No one understands what it means to live with cancer better than another person with cancer. This is what makes interactions here so powerful. Participants don’t check their sense of humor at the front door, either. You’ll find the full range of emotions here, including tears and laughter.
Q: Are medical services or advice available?
A: Cancer Support Community does not have a medical staff. Individuals are encouraged to consult their healthcare providers for medical treatment or advice.
Q: Is Cancer Support Community’s program an alternative to medical treatment?
A: No. CSC offers emotional support and education designed to and support the treatment prescribed by an individual’s healthcare team and is not a substitute for conventional medical care. Many physicians, however, refer their patients to Cancer Support Community as a complement to their medical regimen.
Q: I really appreciate all the work that you do. How may I help?
A: Cancer Support Community has many opportunities to volunteer. While all of CSC’s programs are led by paid professionals, CSC relies heavily on volunteers to with administrative tasks, facilities maintenance projects and fundraising events.
Cancer Support Community is 100% privately funded and there is never a fee to participate in any program or service – so donations, large or small, will help CSC impact local families affected by cancer. Your gift is 100% tax-deductible and can be made online, through the mail, or through your estate.
You can also help by shopping at Legacies upscale furnishings/accessories resale shop in Hyde Park Plaza or by donating your quality furniture, household accessories, tabletop items, artwork or jewelry. Staffed primarily by volunteers, 100% of Legacies’ profits are given to CSC.
Q: Are there other Cancer Support Communities?
A: Cancer Support Community of Greater Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky is one of 50 local affiliates of Cancer Support Community, an international non-profit organization originally founded as The Wellness Community in 1982. In 2009, TWC joined forces with Gilda’s Club Worldwide and became Cancer Support Community, a global network bringing the highest quality cancer support to the millions of people touched by cancer. All CSC affiliates offer a consistent program of support, education, and hope free of charge and follow prescribed quality standards. However, each affiliate is financially independent and operates with its own Board of Trustees. The Cancer Support Community global network is headquartered in Washington, DC.