If you or someone you love is diagnosed with multiple myeloma, the journey ahead may seem confusing. Fortunately, there are people who can help you understand what you are facing; many of those people are attendees of IMF support groups.

IMF support groups are groups held for patients to learn about multiple myeloma, its treatments, and research from both peers and from experienced myeloma experts. Improving your understanding of multiple myeloma is the best way to communicate with doctors efficiently, find the best treatment plan for you, and achieve peace of mind.

 Here are 10 Reasons to Join a Support Group:

  1. Support groups are easily accessible. With 150 myeloma support groups in the United States and more around the world, it is easy for you to find one in your area and meet multiple myeloma patients near you.

  2. Support group leaders have expertise to share. Some IMF support group leaders have been attendees of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) annual conference, the largest collaborative research event focused on blood diseases. Others are experienced leaders of their local support groups. For these reasons, support group leaders will likely be familiar with any questions, concerns, or comments you have about myeloma.

  3. Support groups provide the newest information regarding multiple myeloma. Vetted by the IMF, the first and largest organization focusing specifically on multiple myeloma, these leaders are armed with some of the most up-to-date knowledge about the disease and its treatments.

  4. You can learn a lot from fellow support group members. Their personal stories about treatments or side effects may help guide conversations with your personal healthcare team. In addition, hearing successful stories may make you more hopeful in regards to your diagnosis.

  5. IMF support groups are equipped with the latest technology. Support group leaders received “Technology Toolkits” in 2018, courtesy of the IMF, to provide more data and access to multiple myeloma information.

  6. Support groups provide a community. A support group provides a network separate from your healthcare team, family, and friends. The peer-to-peer sharing that takes place at support groups may help you feel less alone when facing myeloma. Support groups provide a safe and comfortable environment for open discussions about your hopes, fears, and trials as a patient, family member, and/or caregiver.

  7. Find a possible passion. The IMF has trained many people, from caregivers to dedicated patients, to lead support groups in their communities. If you find that you would like to become more involved, the IMF can prepare you too, to help facilitate a support group.

  8. Feel in charge of your situation. By taking the time to be with others at a support group, you will feel more in control emotionally, mentally, and physically. The IMF emphasizes that “Knowledge is power.” In general, patients who are more involved with their own healthcare decisions, tend to have better outcomes.

  9. Being a part of one support group connects you to a world outside your own. By joining your local support group, you become connected to many more IMF support groups around the world. One such way is being able to see updates of support group leaders around the country while they are at large events like ASH.

  10. Support groups are not only meetings; they create change. Being part of a support group gives you an opportunity to bring change to the world around you. For example, many support groups have helped initiate the IMF’s goal to make March “Myeloma Action Month” in the U.S. and worldwide.

These are just 10 Reasons to Join a Support Group. You may find more on your journey with multiple myeloma. You may become able to navigate the course of your treatment better by joining a support group, which for many, serves as a backbone for a sense of empowerment.


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