Baystate Mary Lane Hosts Series of Cancer Support Groups

WARE — Facing a cancer diagnosis can be a stressful life change and a daunting prospect.  During a cancer journey, patients and their families often benefit from the support of others.

“Our support groups are designed to help patients, their families, and caregivers cope with the challenges of a cancer diagnosis,” said Camille St. Onge, oncology social worker at the Baystate Regional Cancer program at Baystate Mary Lane. St. Onge provides counseling for patients and their families through all phases of their cancer care.

Support and self-help groups can vary greatly, but all groups share one thing in common: they are a place where people can share personal stories, express emotions, and be heard in an atmosphere of acceptance, understanding, and encouragement. 

“A diagnosis of cancer can bring many types of challenges and can affect each person in a different way,” said St. Onge.  “We offer a wide range of support-group meetings, and our oncology team works closely together to address the medical, emotional, and social needs of all our patients.”

The group schedules are as follows:

• Breast Cancer Support Group: open to all women with breast cancer regardless of stage of treatment. Meetings are held the fourth Wednesday of every month, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

• Circle of Angels, a Quilting Support Group for People Who Have Been Touched by Cancer: meets twice monthly on Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to noon.

• Expressive Writing Through Cancer: open to all cancer diagnoses. Meetings are held the third Wednesday of every month, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• General Cancer Support Group: open to all cancer diagnoses. Meetings are held the first Wednesday of the month, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

• Partners in Caregiving: an early-evening support group for caregivers of people with cancer. Meetings are held the second Tuesday of the month, 5-6:30 p.m.

All meetings are held at Baystate Mary Lane, 85 South St., Ware.  For more information, contact St. Onge at (413) 967-2245.