Local Cancer Support Groups


Cancer Survivorship Resources

As a cancer survivor, you may find yourself in a new phase of life. This may feel like a time of transition as you begin continuous follow-up care for your health and emotional well-being. You may find having additional resources may be helpful when recovering from cancer treatment. Perhaps you will need information on cancer prevention and screening, exercise and nutrition, or support groups.

Emotional and Mental Health

Cancer survivors may experience anxiety, depression, fear, loss of self-esteem, mood changes, and even feelings of suicide which can affect mental and physical health, and quality of life. Counseling, psychotherapy, support groups, and sometimes medications can be beneficial in getting you through this difficult time. Talk to your health care provider about best options for you.

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Memory / Concentration Loss

Cancer survivors who have undergone chemotherapy may experience cognitive changes, also referred to as “chemo-brain” or “chemo-fog.” Symptoms include difficulties with short-term memory, concentration, multi-tasking, feeling disorganized, and slower thinking process. Things you can do are getting enough rest and sleep, exercise brain with puzzles, physical activity, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and establish a regular routine for yourself. Discuss your concerns and best ways to manage your symptoms with your health care provider.

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Fatigue

Fatigue is a common issue cancer survivors face even several years after completion of treatment. It can have a big impact on physical and mental health, family life, and financial well-being. Fatigue can be caused by side-effects of chemotherapy and radiation, difficulty sleeping, pain, feelings of depression or anxiety, not meeting nutritional needs, and loss of muscle mass. It is important that you discuss symptoms of fatigue with your health care providers so that treatable and reversible causes like anemia, hypothyroidism, depression, and insomnia can be managed. Regular physical exercise such as walking, cycling, swimming, along with strength training, has shown to help with fatigue and improve energy levels. Talk to your health care provider before starting any physical activity. Yoga, acupuncture, massage, and relaxation therapies may be also beneficial in managing fatigue.

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Sleep Problems

Some cancer survivors may experience difficulty sleeping. A variety of factors may contribute to your sleep difficulties, including side-effects from cancer treatment, underlying medical conditions, medications and psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety or PTSD. Getting adequate sleep is important for your physical and mental health. It is important to talk to your health care provider about your sleep problems. Keeping track of your sleep pattern with a sleep history log may give some insight about your sleep issues for you and your health care provider.

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Pain

Cancer survivors may experience pain related to cancer treatment. Pain is a complex, individual symptom that can be very distressing, and may affect the physical, psychological and emotional well-being of the survivor. It is important to talk to your health care provider about your pain, especially if pain is different or worsening.

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Sexual/Reproductive Health

Some cancer treatments may affect your sexual health or your ability to become pregnant. It is important to discuss any sexual health concerns with your health care provider. You should also consult with your health care provider if you wish to become pregnant.

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Family/Parenthood

A cancer diagnosis not only affects you but also your family members and loved ones. From diagnosis through the balance of life and survivorship, the complexity of cancer can be overwhelming and cause difficulties for you and your family to return to everyday life while adjusting to the changes that result from the disease and treatment. Every survivor has different experiences, concerns and challenges, but overall this can commonly cause stress physically, psychologically and emotionally. As a result, other areas of life may be negatively impacted. Cancer survivors with young children or teens can experience increased anxiety and stress. It is important to understand how your children are thinking and feeling during this time. Recognizing these changes, and knowing how and when to ask for support, can help you through this period of transition and adjustment. Talk to your health care provider about support and resources that are available to you and your family.

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School/Work

Many cancer survivors either need or want to return to work or school after completing cancer treatment. This can be an exciting and overwhelming decision. Doing so may help you regain a sense of purpose, build self-esteem, decrease feelings of loneliness, connect with colleagues and friends, focus on something other than cancer, and provide a financial benefit. However, when returning to work or school you may be faced with several challenges related to fatigue and managing side-effects. It is important to talk with your health care provider about whether or not you are ready to return back to work or school and discuss options that may be helpful such as decreasing hours, job duties, or the number of courses you are taking as you ease back into life after cancer.

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Insurance

After dealing with the emotional and physical impact of a cancer diagnosis and its treatment, insurance coverage and other related issues may seem overwhelming. Understanding expected expenses, insurance coverage and options that are available to you will help decrease anxiety. It is important to ask to speak with a social worker or financial counselor for help with your specific situation.

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Fiscal Well-Being

Everyday living expenses and the cost of medical services and treatments can be overwhelming and cause financial stress and anxiety for cancer survivors and their families. The stress can be so intense people can suffer from anxiety and depression. This can decrease your overall quality of life. It is important to talk with your provider or social worker about resources and organizations that offer assistance for cancer patients and survivors who are facing financial challenges.

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Cancer Support Resources

Cancer Lifeline

Cancer Lifeline offers a wide range of programs, support groups, classes, activities and presentations aimed at optimizing the quality of life for cancer patients and cancer survivors and their families. Please note: support group times and locations can change so please call or visit Cancer Lifeline for the most up-to-date information. 

All services are free of charge. Just a few examples of their many services include:

  • Defining your cancer survivorship program
  • When a parent has cancer
  • Men's groups
  • Artistic expression
  • Caregiver support
  • Alternative medicine
  • Nutrition

Cancer Lifeline is located at 6522 Fremont Ave N. in Seattle and provides services throughout the Puget Sound region. For more information on local resources, please call Cancer Lifeline at (206) 297-2500 or toll-free (800) 255-5505 or visit www.cancerlifeline.org.

Livestrong at the YMCA

Aiming to help cancer survivors begin the journey toward recovery, the Livestrong at the YMCA program offers adults affected by cancer a safe, supportive environment to participate in physical and social activities focused on strengthening the whole person. This 12-week program meets twice a week for 90 minutes, using traditional exercise methods to ease participants back into fitness and help maintain a healthy weight. Participants also learn about wellness, stress reduction techniques and how to continue healthful habits after the program has ended.

The YMCA understands that participants experience cancer in different ways and come to the program with different physical challenges and lifestyle goals. Livestrong provides individualized attention and an approach to recovery that focuses on physical activities tailored to each participant’s comfort and ability. Just as important is the warm spirit of community that shares stores and inspiration, and builds companionship with others affected by cancer.

The YMCA – Seattle is located at 909 Fourth Ave, with another 14 other locations in the Puget Sound area. For more information, call (206) 344-3181.

Gilda's Club

Gilda's ClubGilda's Club Seattle provides a warm meeting place where men, women and children living with cancer, along with their families, partners and friends, join with others to build social and emotional support.

A non-profit organization that provides services free of charge, Gilda's Club offers support and networking groups, lectures, workshops and social events in a nonresidential, home-like setting. Examples include:

  • Wellness group
  • Pilates and yoga
  • Time for tots
  • Music Mondays
  • Potluck brunches
  • Thursday lectures

Gilda's Club is located at 1400 Broadway in Seattle. For more information and a calendar of events, please call Gilda's Club at (206) 709-1400 or visit Gilda's Club.

Support for People with Oral and Head and Neck Cancer (SPOHNC), Seattle Chapter

The Seattle Chapter of SPOHNC meets every third Thursday of the month, 6-7:30 p.m., at Swedish Medical Center, First Hill Campus, 1 East Conference Room. This group offers support and information for patients, survivors, and their friends and families. There is no charge to attend these meetings. For more information, call (206) 341-1720 or Joanne Fenn, SLP at (206) 215-1770.

Team Survivor

Team Survivor Northwest provides a broad range of fitness and health education programs to enable women cancer survivors, in any stage of treatment or recovery and at any fitness level, to take an active role in their ongoing physical and emotional healing. 

Team Survivor Northwest is a fantastic group of supportive women bound by the common experience of a cancer diagnosis and an interest in living fit, healthy and active lifestyles. Their members are women who take proactive steps to improve their health and quality of life.

No matter what your health status or fitness level, Team Survivor Northwest can provide the support you need to succeed. For more information, please call (206) 732-8350 or visit Team Survivor NW.


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