Support groups

Bogue, Erna-Lynne, ACSW, and Barbara K. Chesney, MPH. Making Contact: A Parent-to-Parent Visitation Manual. The Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation, 1987. To obtain, call (800) 366-2223. Step-by-step guide on planning and running a parent-to-parent visitation program for parents of children with cancer. Includes guidelines for selection of parent visitors, training to improve parent-visitor contact, developing referral systems, and support resources.

Chesler, Mark A., PhD, and Barbara Chesney. Cancer and Self-Help: Bridging the Troubled Waters of Childhood Illness. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1995. Written for and about the parents of children with cancer, this book provides explanations of how self-help groups are formed, how they function and recruit, and why they are effective. The authors explain how, through self-help groups, parents improve their coping abilities and become better advocates for their child in an increasingly complex healthcare system.

National Cancer Institute. Taking Time: Support for People with Cancer and the People Who Care About Them. To obtain a free copy, call (800) 422-6237. Sixty-one-page booklet includes sections on sharing feelings, coping within the family, and what to do when you need assistance.

Pizzo, Philip A., MD, and David G. Poplack, MD. Principles and Practice of Pediatric Oncology. Philadelphia: Lippincott-Raven, 2002. Chapter 46, "Psychiatric and Psychosocial Support for the Child and Family." Chapter 47, "The Other of Side of the Bed: What Caregivers Can Learn from Listening to Patients and Their Families." Speigel, David, MD. Living Beyond Limits. New York: Random House, 1993. Dr. Speigel devised the landmark study that showed that support groups for women with breast cancer not only lowered rates of depression, but significantly increased their life spans. This book is an excellent guide for coping with cancer, strengthening family relationships, controlling pain, dealing with doctors, and evaluating alternative medicine claims. This book is out of print, but may be available from your local library.

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