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Support Groups

Support groups offer a unique opportunity for current patients and long-term survivors alike to get to know others who have undergone cancer experiences similar to their own. In a safe and confidential environment, participants may share details of their experience, ask questions, and offer knowledge and insights that doctors usually cannot provide. True support, encouragement, and uplifting energy are the norm. 

Sometimes a doctor or specialist is invited to give information on treatments and self-care and to answer questions; but the heart of the group is always patients talking to patients. Generally what is gained in these groups can seldom be found elsewhere.

  • Groups are open to anyone with cancer, regardless of when and where they may have been treated.
  • Registration is not required, but it's best to call ahead to inform the staff and to obtain any additional information.
  • Family members and friends are welcome (though men only to the men's groups, women only to the women's groups).
  • Most groups meet monthly.
  • Food, free parking, and limited transportation home are provided.

Participating by Phone

There is a speakerphone on the conference table where most of the support groups meet. Those who cannot make it to a meeting but would like to participate, even if just briefly, can let a staff member know ahead of time and the facilitator will call them during the meeting. Or if it’s a last-minute decision, participants can call in directly at 617.638.6447.

1-1 Support

For survivors who would like to speak one-to-one with someone who has or has had a similar cancer experience, Cancer Support Programs staff can likely find someone who will be happy to speak with them. Please contact the office at 617.638.7540 or [email protected]

Support Groups by Cancer Type

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2nd Wednesday of the month, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Moakley 3rd Floor Conference Room

All cancers that originate in the blood or bone marrow—leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, and their various types and subtypes—are included in this support group. It is open to adult patients who have or have had acute and chronic leukemia, Hodgkin's disease, Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, multiple myeloma, myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), and myeloproliferative disorders. While these diseases affect the blood cells in different ways, there are similarities in how they cause one to feel and how they are treated. The group provides participants with the opportunity to share and compare their experiences. As blood cancers affect a wide range of ages, the group is open to adult survivors of any age and their family members and supporters. Typically 6 to 12 participate in any given meeting, and there tends to be a family-type camaraderie. Lunch and parking validation are provided.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, MA Chapter, helps BMC promote this group, as it is the only blood cancer support group in the immediate Boston area. Those treated at any institution are welcome to attend.

1st Tuesday of the month, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Moakley 3rd Floor Conference Room

Open to women who have ever been diagnosed with breast cancer, regardless of when and where they may have been treated. Female family and supporters are welcome. Generally a diverse group of 10 to 16 women gather to share their experiences and concerns, ask questions, laugh, support, and encourage one another. Sometimes a doctor or specialist is invited in to present and reply to questions. The manager of Cancer Support Programs comes in for the final minutes of the meeting to discuss upcoming program offerings, as members of this group also tend to involve themselves in other support activities. Dinner is provided, as well as parking validation and limited assistance with transportation home.

1st Thursday of the month, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Moakley 3rd Floor Conference Room

A support group for people who have experienced cancer in one of the organs involved in the digestion and elimination of food—the esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, large intestine (colon), small intestine, rectum, or anus. Participants share experiences and information and offer hope, encouragement, and support to one another. Family and supporters are welcome. Lunch and parking validation are provided. Generally 6 to 12 people attend the meeting.

3rd Wednesday of the month, 1:00-2:30 p.m.
Moakley 3rd Floor Conference Room

This is a monthly, women-only meeting to discuss issues relating to gynecological (GYN) cancers. It is an opportunity to share experiences, ask questions, and encourage and support one another. Medical personnel and other professionals also visit the group periodically to give presentations and respond to questions. Lunch and free parking are provided.

The main gynecological cancers include cervical, endometrial, ovarian, uterine, vaginal, and vulvar cancers.

1st Wednesday of the month, 12:00-2:00 p.m.
Moakley Lower Level Conference Room

Survivors up to 15 years past treatment, as well as those facing or currently in treatment for any type of cancer of the head or neck, attend this very supportive group. A strong core group of attendees continue to exchange information, thoughts, and feelings around the cancer they have experienced and offer counsel and support to those early in their journey. Participants find this meeting the one place others fully understand the long-lasting side effects they must often contend with on a daily basis. Doctors and other specialists periodically give presentations and answer questions. Lunch and parking validation are provided. Open to those diagnosed or treated at any institution. Group size is usually 6 to 12.

2nd Thursday of the month, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Moakley 3rd Floor Conference Room

Open to men and women who have been diagnosed with lung cancer and are facing treatment, receiving treatment, or in remission. Family and supporters are welcome. Usually 6 to 12 attend to update one another on their conditions and share information, hope, and encouragement. Lunch and parking validation are provided.

2nd Tuesday of the month, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Moakley 3rd Floor Conference Room

A group for men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, are in or past treatment for it, or just want to learn more about this common cancer. For patients whose prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level is high or rising, or for those who are facing a biopsy or recently had one done, this is a great opportunity to hear survivors speak frankly about their experiences with the various treatment options and the side effects these treatments may cause. The conversation is informal and confidential. Periodically a physician comes to present information and answer questions, but mostly it is men talking candidly to one another. Generally 10 to 15 attend the meeting. Male family and supporters are welcome. Dinner and parking validation are provided.

Support Groups by Patient Population

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2nd Friday of the month, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Moakley 3rd Floor Conference Room

Open to Cape Verdean and Portuguese men and women who have experienced any type of cancer and their family members and supporters. It's an opportunity to meet, discuss common issues around cancer and its effects, and gain strength from one another as survivors living in the Boston area. Dinner, parking validation, and limited assistance with transportation home are provided.

Last Monday of the month, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Moakley 3rd Floor Conference Room

Open to Haitian men and women who have experienced any type of cancer and their family members and supporters. It's an opportunity to meet, discuss common issues around cancer and its effects, and gain strength from one another as survivors living in the Boston area. Generally 10 to 16 attend the meeting. Dinner, parking validation, and limited assistance with transportation home are provided.

Last Tuesday of the month, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Moakley 3rd Floor Conference Room

Open to Latino men and women who have experienced any type of cancer and their family members and supporters. It's an opportunity to meet, discuss common issues around cancer and its effects, and gain strength from one another as survivors living in the Boston area. Generally 6 to 12 attend the meeting. Dinner, parking validation, and limited assistance with transportation home are provided.

Last Monday of the month, 12:00-2:00 p.m.
Moakley 3rd Floor Conference Room

Open to men who have experienced any type of cancer and their male family members and supporters. The group provides an opportunity to discuss cancer diagnoses, treatment, post-treatment, and lifestyle concerns. There is always an adjustment to this new terrain, and it's good to talk about it. Participants learn from one another and help one another in the process. Generally 6 to 10 attend the meeting. Lunch and parking validation are provided.

2nd Monday of the month, 10:00-11:00 a.m.
Moakley 3rd Floor Conference Room

A small group for women who have experienced any type of cancer. Female family members and supporters are welcome. The group provides an opportunity to check in with one another and discuss cancer diagnoses, treatment, post-treatment, and lifestyle concerns. Participants learn from, support, and encourage each other. Generally 4 to 6 attend the meeting. Continental breakfast and parking validation are provided.

For information on a peer mentoring program for young adults (ages 18-39), contact the office at 617-638-7540 or [email protected].

Additional Support

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Please call 617-638-7540 to request a convenient telephone or in-person appointment. Generally the waiting time will be short.

The role of caregiver to a cancer patient can be very challenging, especially when the patient is in treatment. Cancer Support Programs staff are available to speak with any caregivers who are feeling stressed, have questions, or would just like to talk about the situation.

1st Tuesday of the month, 3:00-4:30 p.m.
Moakley 3rd Floor Conference Room

Open to all cancer survivors and their supporters, regardless of spiritual or religious orientation. The group provides an opportunity to examine and discuss the cancer journey, as well as other significant life issues, from a spiritual perspective. Participants often share experiences and pose questions for reflection and feedback. Generally 8 to 12 attend. Snacks and parking validation are provided.

BMC does its best to help sustain the lives of all those who enter its doors afflicted with cancer. The battle is often long and hard, sometimes successful and sometimes not. The BMC cancer care team recognizes the significant burden of grief that family members are left to carry when their loved ones pass. This grief can take twists and turns and affect people in different ways at different times. Everyone copes in his or her own way, yet it is often helpful to hear and share with others who have also been through this difficult journey. BMC offers a Bereavement Group to provide certain support to those who would like help in coping with their loss.

For more information, contact the office at 617.638.7540 or [email protected].

Related Support

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Tuesdays, 12:00-1:00 p.m.
Moakley 3rd Floor Conference Room

Amyloidosis is a protein disease similar in effect and treatment to cancer. This group provides a forum for discussion and information-sharing on the challenges that accompany amyloidosis diagnosis and treatment. It is an opportunity for patients and family members to share experiences, hear from other amyloidosis patients, ask questions, and gain some insight and help on navigating the logistics and the physical and emotional effects of the disease and its treatment.

3rd Thursday of the month, 2:00-3:30 p.m.
Moakley 3rd Floor Conference Room

Help with the daily logistics and lifestyle concerns of dealing with a colostomy, ileostomy, or urostomy. Gain confidence and mutual support as professionals and peers share personal experience and practical information. 

3rd Thursday of the month, 6:30-8:00 p.m.
FGH Building, Ground Floor Conference Room

The New England Sarcoidosis Support Group provides a safe and supportive environment for those suffering from sarcoidosis as well as for family members and close friends impacted by the disease. The goals of the group are to offer support, education, and encouragement to all in a relaxed atmosphere. Light refreshments and snacks are provided along with literature from the Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research.