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Support Groups and Workshops

Females at support group

The Abramson Cancer Center offers a variety of cancer support groups and workshops for you and your family at several locations. Led by trained professionals, these groups offer emotional support, educational resources and a chance to meet others who may face similar issues.

Currently, some of our groups and workshops are being held virtually to support patients at home. Additionally, the staff are available for support through telemedicine visits.

Make sure to view the events calendar to confirm specific support group dates and times.

Amyloidosis Support Group

This group, held twice per year, is for patients and families coping with amyloidosis. Register and find out more here, or call Peg Rummel, RN at 215-605-0535.

  • Date/Time: This group meets once in the Fall and again in the Spring of each year.
  • Location: Patient & Family Services Conference Room, Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine, 1st Floor South Pavilion
  • Led by: The Amyloidosis Support Groups Organization

Bladder Cancer Support Group (Not currently offered)

This support group is open to bladder cancer patients and their loved ones.

For dates and more information, please call 215-360-0583.

  • Date/Time: Quarterly 6:30pm - 8pm
  • Location: Patient and Family Services Conference Room, 1st Floor South Pavilion, Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine
  • Led By: Sue Sweeney, MS, BSN, RN, CRN

Brain Tumor Support Group (Virtual)

This group provides an opportunity for brain tumor patients, caregivers, and families to support, share and educate each other.

To register, please call 215-615-5240 or 215-349-5426.

  • Date/Time: Second Wednesday of the month from 6 to 7:30 pm
  • Location: BlueJeans
  • Led By: Arbena Merolli, MSW

Breakthrough Exercise Challenge for Breast Cancer Survivors (Virtual)

This group meets virtually each Tuesday morning and helps to inspire breast cancer survivors to move. The group will culminate with the Penn-sponsored Breakthrough Challenge on September 13, 2020 for a virtual exercise event.

For more information and to register, contact Doris Piccinin MS, RD, CDE, LDN at Doris.Piccinin@pennmedicine.upenn.edu or 215.360.0581.

  • Date/Time: Tuesday mornings at 8am
  • Location: BlueJeans
  • Led By: Doris Piccinin MS, RD, CDE, LDN

Breast and Gynecological Cancers Support Group (Not currently offered)

This group provides an opportunity to network with other women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. It offers education and peer support to enhance coping with your breast cancer diagnosis.

Interested patients should contact 215-605-5046.

  • Date/Time: Second Tuesday of every month from 12 to 1:30 pm
  • Location: Patient and Family Services Conference Room, 1st Floor South Pavilion, Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine
  • Led by: Laura Kotler-Klein, DSW

Caregiver Support Group (Virtual)

Caring for a person with a cancer diagnosis? We welcome caregivers, family members and friends (age 18+) to join us for this supportive group just for you. Oncology social workers will facilitate this group for discussion, support and resources.

Contact Sandy Blackburn, LSW at Sandy.Blackburn@pennmedicine.upenn.edu or 215.360.0580 for more information.

  • Date/Time: First Monday of the month, 1pm to 2pm
  • Location: BlueJeans - bluejeans.com/450778055. To join by telephone, dial: 408-419-1715 and enter the meeting ID number: 450 77 8055, followed by #
  • Led By: Sandy Blackburn, LSW

Chemo Companion Program

Chemo companions are trained volunteer cancer survivors who offer in-person companionship, support, and conversation to patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment at the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine. Patients can be matched with a companion by asking the chemotherapy nurse to request a companion come to the infusion suite. The companions are available on a limited basis.

Talking with someone who has lived with cancer can often be comforting and can reduce the sense of anxiety and isolation. The Chemo Companion volunteers provide compassion, understanding, and practical advice to those who are diagnosed with cancer or facing new decisions about their cancer. For more information or if interested in volunteering, please call 215-615-0534.

Esophagectomy Support Group (Virtual)

For patients and caregivers who have undergone an esophagectomy, this group was created by the nurses of the thoracic surgery department with the mission to be a source of information and support for patients and their families as they navigate the recovery process.

For more information or to register, please email thoracicnursing@uphs.upenn.edu or call 215-662-3878.

  • Date/Time: This group meets quarterly. Next meeting date is TBA.
  • Location: BlueJeans
  • Led by: Guest Speakers and nursing staff

Head and Neck Cancer Survivor’s Group (Not currently offered)

All patients, in any phase of treatment or recovery, are welcome to this group.

To register or learn more, call 215-662-6193 or email Tracy Lautenbach-Hynes, MSW, LCSW at Lautenbach-Hynes@pennmedicine.upenn.edu .

  • Date/Time: 9:45 to 11:15 am on the first Wednesday of the month (except July & August)
  • Location: Patient and Family Services Conference Room, 1st Floor South Pavilion, Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine

I Wish I Knew—6 Week Series (Not currently offered)

This six week series was created for patients and caregivers to connect, share and learn about coping strategies to deal with cancer treatments and side effects. Each session is facilitated by an oncology specialist offering education on the following topics: Navigating the System, Nutrition, Exercise/Sleep, Coping with Emotions, Financial Nuts and Bolts, and Communication. Spaces are limited and you must register for this free program. Parking will be provided. 

Please reach out to Laura Galindez, LSW, at 215-360-0580 for more information.

Life After a Bone Marrow Transplant (Virtual)

This is a virtual group offering a safe and supportive place to discuss insights and challenges about life after bone marrow transplant.

For more information or to register for this monthly session, please contact Tiffany Raroha, LSW at Tiffany.Raroha@pennmedicine.upenn.edu or 215.360.0585

  • Date/Time: Monthly, date varies.
  • Location: BlueJeans
  • Led By: Tiffany Raroha, LSW

Living with Breast Cancer (Virtual)

This virtual group is open to all individuals with a breast cancer diagnosis and will serve as a supportive gathering space for patients to share their experiences and connect with others navigating life with breast cancer. This group will be led by oncology social workers and will serve to provide practical support, resources, and encouragement for coping with diagnosis and treatment.

For more information or to register, please contact Ashley Adams, LCSW at Ashley.Adams@pennmedicine.upenn.edu or 215-360-0576.

  • Date/Time: Second Tuesday of each month, 12 to 1 pm
  • Location: BlueJeans
  • Led by: Ashley Adams, LCSW

Men’s Cancer Support Group (Virtual)

This is a group for men with cancer; a safe space for men to congregate and provide and receive support. Topics range from relationship issues, coping with disease and symptoms, intimacy concerns, work/life balance and more. Free parking and refreshments provided.

To register, please email Craig.Heiler@pennmedicine.upenn.edu or call 215-662-8785.

  • Date/Time: Fourth Thursday of each month from 11 am to 12:30 pm
  • Location: BlueJeans
  • Led By: Craig Heiler

Mesothelioma Support Group (Virtual)

This support group offers a positive space for patients with a Mesothelioma diagnosis. Meeting via a secure telecommunication platform, this group is a safe space for patients to congregate and provide and receive support. Topics range from family and relationships issues, coping with the disease and symptoms, resources, work/life balance, and more.

  • Date/Time: Second Thursday of every month at 11am
  • Location: BlueJeans
  • Led By: Kayla Hilliard, LSW

Neuroendocrine Support Group (Virtual)

This is a virtual group open to any person that has been diagnosed with a Neuroendocrine Tumor and their adult caregivers. This group generally runs 2 hours, offering a 1-hour educational presentation followed by a 1-hour networking session. Education topics are chosen by the group participants and members of the Neuroendocrine Multidisciplinary Care Team provide the educational presentation, followed by a brief Q&A session. The networking session is led by an oncology social worker and participants are free to share their experiences with others. Other leaders of the group are an oncology dietitian and nurse navigator who are available to provide support from their areas of expertise.

To register for this monthly session, please contact Diann Boyd BSN, RN, OCN at Diann.boyd@pennmedicine.upenn.edu or 215.614.1863

  • Date/Time: Monthly, date varies.
  • Location: BlueJeans
  • Led By: Diann Boyd BSN, RN, OCN

Newly Diagnosed Patient Support Group (Virtual)

This virtual group will offer patients who are new to cancer treatment a safe, supportive space to connect and share on the changes and adjustments they are experiencing related to diagnosis and treatment. The group will be led by oncology social workers to provide emotional and practical support.

To register, please contact Ashley Adams, LCSW at Ashley.Adams@pennmedicine.upenn.edu or 215-360-0576.

  • Date/Time: Every other Thursday, 11 am to 12 pm
  • Location: BlueJeans
  • Led by: Ashley Adams, LCSW

Prostate Cancer Support Group (Virtual)

This support group is open to all patients and their caregivers. All aspects of prostate cancer, both pre and post treatment, are discussed.

To register for the Prostate Cancer Support Group, please contact Neal Niznan at 215-349-8183 or Neal.Niznan@uphs.upenn.edu.

  • Date/Time: Third Thursday of every month from 4 to 5:30 pm
  • Location: BlueJeans
  • Led by: Neal Niznan, MSW, LCSW

Scanxiety Workshop (Not currently offered)

Learn coping techniques to help manage the anticipation and anxiety around scans.

For more information call Sandy Blackburn, LSW at 215-662-6968.

  • Date/Time: Fourth Wednesday of every month from 10 to 11:30 am
  • Location: Patient & Family Services Conference Room, Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine, 1st Floor South Pavilion
  • Led by: Sandy Blackburn, LSW

What's On Your Mind (Virtual)

This virtual gathering welcomes patients of the Abramson Cancer Center (ACC), their family, caregivers, support persons and friends (age 18+). Connect with ACC social workers in a safe, supportive space to share what’s on your mind. Topics include: your cancer journey, anxiety about coronavirus, how you’ve been coping, family life, personal growth and challenges.

To register, please contact Sandy Blackburn, LSW at Sandy.Blackburn@pennmedicine.upenn.edu or 215-360-0580.

  • Date/Time: Every other Wednesday, 12pm to 1pm
  • Location: BlueJeans
  • Led by: Sandy Blackburn, LSW

What's the Meaning of This? (Virtual)

We welcome and invite anyone diagnosed with advanced cancer (metastatic cancer, recurrence, or disease progression) to a supportive group focused on meaning. The need to find meaning is a defining human characteristic that can help with coping. We will explore possible sources and definitions of meaning, based on Meaning-Centered concepts. Oncology social workers will facilitate an open discussion in a supportive setting.

To register, please contact Megan Melick, MSW at Megan.Melick@pennmedicine.upenn.edu or 215-459-4728.

  • Date/Time: Thursdays at 11am
  • Location: BlueJeans
  • Led by: Oncology social workers

Young Adults with Advanced Cancer Support Group (Virtual)

Finding out you have cancer at a young age is hard. You are not alone. Please join our young adults with cancer networking virtual group to meet other young adults, ages 18-45 who are coping with advanced-stage cancer. The group is led by oncology social workers and provides a safe space to network with others, to exchange support, and to learn practical information and helpful resources.

For more information or to register please contact Ashley Adams, LCSW at Ashley.Adams@pennmedicine.upenn.edu or 215-360-0576.

  • Date/Time: Second Tuesday of each month from 4 to 5:30 pm
  • Location: BlueJeans
  • Led by: Ashley Adams, LCSW