anyone attend a support group ?

Just wondered what people's experience was .

I had my op at St Thomas's ,excellent nursing ,no experience of support group . They do offer a once monthly support group ,and I recently received a mail shot with flyer reminder about this which was useful .

I was considering going but felt ill on the day and was slighly put off by the catch all nature of the group ,as it includes cancer of the stomach ,bile duct and pancreas . I was thinking tat I'd feel more comfortable if they offered less frequent meetings but more targeted ,say quaretly but focussed on stomach and oesphagus .Or am I being a bit precious ?

7 Replies

  • Hi there is always oesopagus group or look up oesophagus groups on the web in your particular area you never know what it may turn up

  • Morning Violetqueen. Have you looked at the OPA website? This lists OPA groups and meetings. We'd be delighted to see you. There is a St Thomas OPA group.

  • Thanks for the email regarding the St Thomas's Group, you need to feedback any thoughts and suggestions to the OPA Group representative Mr Jay Shah, his email address is, who work along with the Group at St Thomas's.

  • In addition to the excellent support groups OPA runs (detailed here:, there is a support group specifically for oesophageal patients (be it Barrett's oesophagus or cancer) under the auspices of HCUK (detailed here:

    I attended their November meeting when there were about 10 of us and were entertained by a slide show by Dr Rehan Haidry.

  • A lot of people feel apprehensive about going to a patient support meeting, but the great majority feel very pleased afterwards that they did. The conversation is often not much about cancer at all; much more about problems with digestion, and asking others whether they have answers to issues that might be troubling them at the time.

    It can be a really beneficial thing to talk to people with whom you have an instant rapport because they have been through a similar experience.

  • I am the chairman of SPLASH our support group at the Queen Alexandra Hospital Portsmouth, we have quarterly meetings and as such all are well attended, with speakers giving talks on phycology, digestion, travel insurance, we provide tea coffee and a wonderful spread of cakes which is always well received ,approx 80 members, the group members are mainly post operative oesophageal with their carers ,but also their are members who have had bowel cancer and they also find benefit from attending, we also have the surgeons attend if available to answer any concerns the members may have. We also form groups to allow members to discuss their own concerns and get valuable feedback and support.

    We find that less is more in that meetings too frequently are less well attended but quarterly is about right, it enables us to structure the meetings and make them sufficiently interesting. If there are any patients past or present in the Portsmouth area who would like to attend please contact us, we have a link on the OPA web site.

    Best wishes

    Mike Cotton

  • I attend two or three meetings a year of a local support group run by the OPA and would strongly recommend them. You don't have to attend the group at the hospital where you had your operation - I go to one which is closer to where I live. If you have post-op problems, they are a good place to talk about them and possibly get helpful advice from fellow suffers. If you don't - and I have been very lucky in this respect - they act as a reminder of you how lucky you are. Give it a try!

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