Family Focus: Virtual support group connects cancer patients, survivors

by: Erica Bryant Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Once a month, patients at Levine Cancer Center come together for a support system.
 
They listen, share and connect with other patients, doctors and survivors from all over.
 
“I saw blood in my urine,” Nancy Lindsey said.
 
That was Lindsey’s first clue something was wrong. Months later came a diagnosis of bladder cancer and a small tumor was removed.
 
“You have a level of anxiety that's always there, and you're always thinking it’s going to come back,” she said.
 
One thing that helps her cope is a virtual support group at Levine Cancer Institute.
 
Using new technology, bladder cancer patients at sites across the Carolinas link in to talk with physicians and each other.
 
“Educating the patients to different therapies, surgeries, what to expect,” social worker Julie Hill with Levine Cancer Center said.
 
Hill says it also allows patients to see survivors to know they can make it too.
 
“The mental health of a patient is just as important as the physical health because isolation can really hurt people,” Hill said.
 
Cancer-free for four years, Lindsey gets checkups every six months.
 
She said sharing her medical journey at these meetings lets others know it is life-changing, but manageable.
 
“That makes it so much more when you use your experience to help somebody else,” Lindsey said.

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