Program profile: Cancer Support Groups

Support groups

Research has shown that peer support can improve quality of life by reducing feelings of isolation and psychological distress in people affected by cancer (Gottlieb and Wachala 2007). Cancer Council Victoria recognises 124 community-led groups, of which 52 have health professional facilitators. These groups help foster better two-way communication between patients and their health care teams and connect people to others with a similar cancer experience. 

Cancer support groups (CSGs) provide an opportunity for people affected by cancer to meet for discussions in an emotionally supportive environment. The aims of a CSG are that:

  1. a group member can access emotional and practical support from others with a similar lived experience of cancer
  2. through the experience of speaking with peers, they will be empowered to seek the information and support they need, and will feel less alone and isolated.

Cancer Council Victoria’s CSG leaders receive training in communication skills, empathic understanding, and dealing with confronting situations such as grief, loss, anger and difficult group dynamics.

If you’d like to find out more about becoming a CSG leader or connect your patients into existing groups, call us on 13 11 20 or email


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Updated: 26 Nov, 2015