Top Resources for Colon Cancer Support
Bethany Kandel | March 29, 2018
Colon cancer can be an unwelcome shock, usually discovered during a routine colonoscopy. The good news is it can also be highly treatable: The American Cancer Society reports that the five-year relative survival rate is about 90 percent. If you’ve been diagnosed with colon cancer, help is widely available. Read on to learn how to find support, emotional and otherwise, and other resources.
Colon cancer vs. colorectal cancer
When looking for information and support for colon cancer, you may notice that it is often referred to as colorectal cancer. The colon and the rectum are both parts of the large intestine. They are often grouped together because the two diseases have many features in common, including many of the same symptoms. Many support organizations group them together as well.
What kind of support are you looking for?
Once diagnosed with cancer, many people seek out education on the hard facts of their illness in addition to information about getting support for the emotional side of things. If you have colon cancer, you should know that there are many disease-specific support programs, peer counseling, and other resources available to provide whatever kind of help you need, both online and in person.
Ask your local hospital whether they have a colon cancer support group or other cancer-specific programs. The American Cancer Society can also offer local recommendations. Call 800-227-2345 or go to the “About Us” page on their website and select your state to find local resources, events, and groups near you.
One of the first steps after diagnosis is doing research to figure out your treatment options, learn the lingo, and get help making informed decisions about your health. Fight Colorectal Cancer is there to help you from diagnosis to survivorship. They provide medically reviewed resources, guides, magazines, podcasts, and webinars. Get information on financial issues, clinical trials, nutrition, and lots more in their library.
Resources for the whole family
A cancer diagnosis affects the entire family, not just the person diagnosed. The Children’s Treehouse Foundation offers emotional support for children of parents with cancer. They can also equip parents with the tools to talk to their children about the disease. For the partners of those with a chronic illness or long-term disability, the Well Spouse Association offers peer support, education, and a social community.
Help through the whole journey
Colorectal Cancer Alliance has an array of patient empowerment programs including a free helpline and a patient and family support navigator program to guide you through your screening, treatment, and survivorship. They also offer group chats, an online community, a buddy program, and other assistance.
Find your people
Even if you have supportive family and friends, it helps to talk to others who have “been there, done that.” Colontown is an online community of “secret” Facebook groups for colorectal patients, survivors, and caregivers. There are separate “neighborhoods” focused on patients with different stages of the disease, different treatment, and other special interests.
Get help day or night
A caring community is there for you even in the middle of the night. The best thing about the Internet is that there is always someone to listen, 24/7. Message boards are a great place to vent, connect, and get your questions answered. Join the conversation in the Colon Club’s forum and chat with others in your shoes.
An important way to support colorectal health is through a wholesome diet. Cook for Your Life is a free online resource teaching cancer patients and survivors how to create healthy, nutritious, delicious meals at home. Check out their videos and recipes organized by specific stage of treatment and dietary needs to improve your digestive health.
Financial assistance is available, too
Cancer is expensive, but there is aid available. As part of the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, Blue Hope Financial Assistance will help patients with stipends to cover screening and treatment related expenses. Call 877-422-2030 or go to their website to learn more.
You are not alone
Just remember: You do not have to go through this alone. Whether you are looking for emotional support or other information about living with colon cancer, there is an abundance of help out there. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of it.