Riding is good for your soul and for making friends = = = = http://www.news-mail.com.au/news/studies-show-benefits-non-traditional-cancer-suppo/1946953/ Studies show benefits of non-traditional cancer support 16th Jul 2013 1:40 PM NON-TRADITIONAL peer support groups involving exercise or challenge-based activities could significantly improve the wellbeing of cancer survivors, new research shows. A study co-authored by Cancer Council Queensland* followed 51 female breast cancer survivors on a 1600km group motorcycle ride - an alternative program to traditional support groups. Pre and post-ride surveys were conducted, revealing cancer-related distress significantly decreased after the experience. The study also showed identifying with positive role models and connecting with other breast cancer survivors in the peer group contributed to participants perceiving that positive life changes had occurred since their diagnosis of breast cancer. Cancer Council Queensland spokeswoman Katie Clift said the research would help inform future initiatives to assist cancer survivors experiencing distress. "This study has made a powerful statement about the way people handle distress, and the potential for perceiving positive life changes - and it's not necessarily in the form of traditional support groups," Ms Clift said. "Cancer Council Queensland hosts a range of support groups to cater to a variety of people - from walking groups to interactive workshops and phone discussions. "Seeing such positive results from women connecting over a challenge-based activity is encouraging. "We hope the research will encourage other cancer survivors to try something new and reap the benefits of relationship offered by a peer support group, not necessarily in a traditional format." Cancer Council Queensland research shows up to one-third of all cancer patients experience clinically significant distress, yet few seek treatment. Information on current support groups offered by Cancer Council Queensland is available via the Need Support tab on the homepage at www.cancerqld.org.au. People affected by cancer are invited to contact Cancer Council Helpline for information and advice Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm on 13 11 20. More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at www.cancerqld.org.au.