Emotional Support for Cancer Patients

Our One-on-One Cancer Support Page

Every cancer journey is unique. Your support should be too!

*If you are in need of financial support please see our resources. CanCare offers emotional support to cancer patients and their families.

One-on-One Cancer Support with CanCare

Whether you or a loved one is facing a cancer diagnosis, CanCare is here to help!

CanCare can connect you with a trained cancer survivor or cancer caregiver volunteer to listen, provide relatable experience, and offer empathy, encouragement, and guidance through your cancer journey. 

The Power of Peer Support in Cancer Care

Peer support, or one-on-one cancer support, is a powerful and effective way of helping people who face similar difficulties or challenges in life. It is based on the idea that people who have gone through or are going through similar situations can offer unique perspectives and understanding.

Benefits of Having a CanCare Volunteer by Your Side

Cancer survivors with similar experiences or challenges help each other cope, learn, and grow. Having a survivor by your side after you’ve heard the words, “You’ve got cancer” can offer benefits such as emotional validation, social connection, practical guidance, and role modeling. One-on-one cancer support from a CanCare volunteer can also empower people to take charge of their own well-being.

One-on-One Cancer Support, hands cupping a cloth heart

Impact of One-on-One Cancer Support on Volunteers and Clients

This kind of support can have positive impacts on both the person who gives and receives support. Volunteers who give support can gain a sense of purpose, self-esteem, and confidence by sharing their knowledge and skills with others. They can also learn from the clients who receive support and enhance their own coping strategies and resilience. 

Our clients who receive support can feel less isolated, stigmatized, and hopeless by connecting with others who understand their struggles. They can also access valuable resources and information that can help them overcome their challenges and achieve their goals. We know how important it is to have someone in your corner that has been where you are.

Requesting One-on-One Cancer Support

One-on-one cancer support begins with a request by a person with a cancer diagnosis, a cancer caregiver or loved one, or by a healthcare provider.

Once a request is submitted, a match is made within 3-4 business days after receipt of the request by CanCare staff. A CanCare team member will reach out to you if for any reason there is a delay in making a match.

Matching Process and Criteria for One-On-One Support Volunteers

If you are facing a cancer diagnosis, you will be matched with a CanCare survivor volunteer with a similar cancer type, stage, treatment method, age and gender. If there are other specifics you are seeking in your support volunteer, please note that on your request form and we will do our best to find the best match.

One-on-One Cancer Support, woman with cancer

The Unique Understanding of CanCare Survivor Volunteers

As survivors themselves, CanCare volunteers have the unique ability to relate to and empathize with clients currently undergoing their diagnosis. This bond gives clients an outlet to discuss their personal feelings and cancer experiences that might otherwise be hard to express.

Matching Caregivers with Caregiver Volunteers

If you love someone with cancer, CanCare will match you with a caregiver volunteer based on the nature of the relationship with the care receiver (ie. Husbands caring for wives are matched with other husbands, siblings caring for a parent are matched with other siblings), cancer type, stage, and age.

One-on-One Cancer Support, cancer support volunteer on phone with cancer patient

How is support received?

Most of our support volunteers provide support over the phone and/or through a combination of email and text. CanCare volunteers provide support to clients in all 50 states and we have volunteers in 27 different states. Though one-on-one cancer support often takes place over physical distance, the emotional connection experienced often creates a feeling of closeness. Some connections are more local. If you and your one-on-one cancer support volunteer want to meet in person, you can talk about it together.

How long does the support last?  

The length of time that a one-on-one support connection lasts, depends on the client and volunteer. We know that the cancer journey often happens in many different chapters and CanCare volunteers are available for the entire journey. We want you to have a survivors or caregiver by your side for however long you need us. We hope that at some point in your journey you, too, may consider becoming a CanCare volunteer.

CanCare Volunteers as Emotional Support Providers

CanCare volunteers are not licensed therapists, but regular people who have walked the cancer journey. Their purpose is to provide emotional support to clients during their cancer journey by meeting clients where they are, providing hope and encouragement, listening and comforting, helping to diminish fear and anxiety, helping the client (cancer patient or caregiver) ask more relevant questions of their healthcare team, helping clients communicate effectively with family and friends and embodying the values of CanCare to others– be supportive, courageous, compassionate and inclusive.

Topics for Discussion in One-on-One Cancer Support

  • Diagnosis, including what led up to the diagnosis. Feelings about the diagnosis, how the diagnosis has changed your life so far, how the people around you are responding, what does it mean for work, lifestyle, relationships, and faith
  • Forming a Healthcare Team and Addressing Concerns
    What’s important to you in a doctor, how much information do you want, what questions do you have, how comfortable are you asking questions of your doctor, what fears, concerns do you have?
    For caregivers – In addition to the above, do you have a different approach than your loved one, do you want more or less information than their loved ones, how are you dealing with that?
  • Making Treatment Decisions and Handling Differences
    What factors are you weighing up, what do you want to do, what do the people around you want you to do, are you in agreement or disagreement with your family, what are your fears, concerns?
  • Starting Treatment and Dealing with Side Effects
    How did it go, was it what you expected, how do you feel?
  • Navigating Treatment Journey and Changing Needs
    Be aware that often the effects of treatment are cumulative – you may need more support the further along your treatment path you get.  What’s changing? Are you dealing with any side effects?
    For caregivers — What are you noticing in your loved ones, how is that affecting you?
  • Emotional Challenges During Treatment Outcomes
    Typically, at various points in treatment there are checks to see if the treatment is being effective. This can be a highly anxiety-provoking process. Share your feelings with your volunteer.
  • Adapting to Changing Treatment Plans
    You may need to revisit the factors you considered in making treatment decisions.  In addition, share any feelings you may have about having to change course, expectations that weren’t realized, new hopes.
  • Emotional Journey at the End of Treatment
    What feelings do you have about the end of treatment?  Maybe you feel victorious, maybe you just feel tired.  Often the end of treatment is also the beginning of the emotional journey of feeling the impact of what has happened in the cancer journey.   Share whatever you are feeling with your volunteer.
  • Embracing the Caregiving Role and Addressing Fears
    Explore what being a survivor means, what does having had cancer mean.  Do you have any fear around recurrence, ongoing screenings, etc. and how are you dealing with those feelings?
One-on-One Cancer Support, cancare volunteer and cancer patient hugging
One-on-One Cancer Support, cancer caregiver

CanCare's Commitment to Providing Support

We are committed to providing you with the best possible support at CanCare.
CanCare's History and Dedication to Life-Changing Connections

CanCare has been creating life-changing connections for those facing cancer and their loved ones for more than 30 years. Wherever you are in your cancer journey, CanCare is committed to connecting you with a voice of hope.


Jessica G.

"Nargis has been a pleasure to talk to. She is so sweet and kind and I really enjoy hearing about her experience compared to mine."

Geanine M.

"My Cancare volunteer became my friend I love and appreciate Kim!"

Cheryle L.

"I deeply appreciate your help and talking with Wanda has really been helping me through this diagnosis and in sorting through my thoughts and feelings. She is kind, listens, is very comforting, and a wonderful person."

Katie S.

"This is a great program you have. Nothing like support from someone who really knows what you are going through."

Janice B.

"I am so grateful and thankful CanCare matched me with Claudette who had kidney cancer in 2001 and has been cancer free all these years. She gave me so much hope and assuaged all my fears about the surgery and outcome. We talked over an hour the first time and we have stayed in touch since my surgery Sept 20. Claudette and I continue in stay in touch and we hope to meet for lunch when I am feeling better. I have already referred a friend to CanCare. She is about to have a double masectomy. Thank You for your program. I am the first in my family to have cancer so had so many questions I forgot to ask the day I received the results of my CT scan."

Paul P.

"I am forever grateful for Anthony, Tom, and Greg. All have in their own special ways helped me deal with a very difficult situation. Anthony is my rock. Someone who stays in contact and always provides support and encouragement. Tom reaches out and listens to me, and talking helps tremendously. Amazingly, Greg and I share doctors and have the same cancer. Being able to talk with someone who is on a very similar journey brings me comfort and peace."

Cindy M.

"My volunteer met with me for several hours over coffee to talk about her fight and answered so many questions I had about my daughter's diagnosis."


"I thank you very much for offering this service. It help me when I was overwhelmed with my husband's cancer."

Vicki R.

"Brenda in Texas is kind and understanding. She gave freedom to contact her anytime. She always gets right back in touch with me. Thank you for having this service available to us cancer patients who live with the unknown. Brenda has wonderful faith that rubs off onto me. Thank you again."

Mariann M.

"I am just starting my journey with cancer. My volunteer has been great. Thanks for connecting us!"

Dan S.

"Wonderful organization and excellent and compassionate service for both staff and volunteers."

Dennis S.

"My volunteer has been a great help to my wife (tongue cancer)."

Dallas T.

"She’s been a huge blessing to my life, amongst this worldwide crisis. I can’t wait to meet her in person when this is all over (or passes us.)"

Lisa M.

"Trish was the best I couldn’t have gone through this without her!"

Melissa D.

"This is a must! So needed so valuable."


“Cancer gave me the compassion to support others with cancer, to listen to and talk about life’s journey with cancer.”

Ron & Ina

"One morning while in Houston Methodist Hospital for transplant, a CanCare volunteer knocked on the door. He sat and shared with Ron and Ina about his time not just in the same hospital, but in the very same room as Ron! That day they found a new best friend in this CanCare volunteer. Ron and Ina both took a deep breath, seeing a survivor walking and sharing his story and listening to theirs. It was uplifting for both and gave them a sense of hope."


"The fact that CanCare screens and trains their volunteers and that they can match a request from a patient or caregiver looking for support within 48 hours brings me so much peace. Cancer can be a serious problem and if I can be a part of helping someone’s cancer experience be a little bit easier or lighter, I feel like my own cancer had a purpose."


"The service CanCare provides in any community cannot be measured in hours or number of people affected. The goodness that pours out from volunteers and staff is so far reaching. It is not only the client who benefits by the support, but the client’s family can see the good it does for their loved one."


"CanCare provides me with a resource that I need. There are not enough adjectives to describe the professional dedication of this organization’s staff and volunteers. I am blessed to be a part of this."


"She was in a wheelchair and had just recently been diagnosed. She was slumped down in her wheelchair looking like she had lost her last friend. I introduced myself and told her that I was a stage 4 tongue cancer survivor. She got a big smile on her face, straightened up in her wheelchair, and asked, ”YOU ARE?” She was surprised. It was obvious I made a big impact on her but what she didn’t realize was how big an impact she made on me."


"I was very thankful that he took the time to visit patients goung through a rough time like myself. It made me feel like there was hope and that if he made, I could too."


"As a client of CanCare and as a caregiver, I felt witnessed and heard. My CanCare mentor-volunteer was actually an ovarian cancer survivor. Usually, CanCare ensures cancer patients are matched up with survivors and caregivers are matched with caregivers. I am grateful to this day for CanCare’s creativity in pairing up a volunteer survivor with a caregiver client." ...


"Her desire to 'give back' became stronger after she completed her treatment. Iris wanted to be available to other women who had just received news of their diagnosis. She wanted to offer hope and be a support to them."


"CanCare was instrumental in helping me discover how to walk side-by-side with my sister through her health event."


Working as a volunteer at my local hospital by offering emotional support has been a life-changing experience. I started my journey at North Cypress thinking that offering my “help” to cancer patients would be my way of giving back to the community and serve others that are just beginning their journey; however, I had no idea the blessings the Lord would put in front of me while I shared my story and reached out to give them hope. This is not a story of how I helped cancer patients; this is a story of how they helped me!!


"I contacted CanCare and spoke to a woman who had faced and won the battle I was fighting. I felt so uplifted and re-energized to continue fighting and accept what was happening."


"I am a proud supporter of CanCare! Without CanCare, I think I could still be searching for someone that understands my specific challenges and perhaps would still be struggling with how to move forward."


"I now have one CanCare client that had cancer in his tonsils just like I did. When we spoke the first time, he helped me as much as I helped him. It felt good and also reminded me what I endured and overcame. CanCare keeps me focused on my health and giving back to others. Giving back is a great reward."


On one of my “lower days” during my fight to prostate cancer, a customer of my business stopped by to solicit a donation for her child’s school fundraiser. I apologized to her for my lack of energy(we had already canceled the meeting once before) as I had just returned from a radiation session. Well, at that point the entire conversation changed. She shared with me her own cancer story. And also the role that CanCare played in helping her cope with the challenges she faced.

Patricia A.

"The response by your team when I reached out was immediate and amazing! I felt their interest and caring was totally sincere."

One on One Support FAQs

For whom does CanCare offer support?

CanCare support is available to anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer, as well as those who care for someone who loves someone affected by cancer. No matter if you need cancer support in Texas or if you're located anywhere else in the country, CanCare is here to help you!

Check out some of our specific support pages for more information:
Caregiver Support
Breast Cancer Support
Prostate Cancer Support
Texas Cancer Support
Brain Cancer Support
Texas Breast Cancer Support

Is there a cost for CanCare’s services?

All of CanCare’s support services are free to cancer patients and caregivers thanks to the generous support of our donors.

Who will I be paired with?

CanCare will match you with a cancer survivor or caregiver with similar cancer and treatment history. If there are other specifics you are seeking in your support volunteer, please note that on your request form and we will do our best to find the best match.

CanCare has volunteers who, combined, have experienced over 50 different types of cancer.

Some of our cancer survivors include:
Breast Cancer Volunteers
Colon Cancer Volunteers
Lung Cancer Volunteers
Pancreatic Cancer Volunteers
Texas Cancer Volunteer

How long does it take to be matched?

Matches are generally made within 2-3 business days after receipt of the request. A CanCare team member will reach out to you if for any reason there is a delay in making a match.

How do I request a match?

To request a match, complete our match request form. The more information you provide on the request form, the better match our CanCare team members will be able to make. If you have any difficulty completing the form or would like to speak to a CanCare team member, you can call us at 346-421-5777.

What information do you need to make a match?

For survivors, we match based on type and stage of cancer, treatment, and age.  For caregivers, we match based on the relationship to the care receiver (e.g., caregiver to spouse or caregiver to parent) and cancer type.  Providing us with this information enables us to find the closest match available.

Can my loved one be matched with a support volunteer?

Yes. We offer emotional support to both cancer patients and their loved ones.  Please have your loved one complete the request for support or call us at 346-421-5777.

Can I speak with my support volunteer in person?

Most of our support volunteers provide support over the phone or online.  If you and your support volunteer want to meet in person, you can talk about it together.

Can I have more than one volunteer?

Yes. This can be particularly helpful when you are trying to make decisions about treatment, e.g., a mastectomy vs lumpectomy + radiation.  In this situation, a person may request a volunteer who chose a mastectomy and a second volunteer who chose a lumpectomy with radiation. If you wish to request more than one volunteer, please call us at 346-421-5777.

Are there any other ways to receive support?

Yes, we offer online support groups for Survivors, Caregivers and Stage IV cancer patients. If you are interested in participating in one of these groups, email us here (and be sure to include which of the three groups you want to join) for the meeting information. You can also submit a prayer request by visiting our Prayer Request page or emailing us at prayer@cancare.org.

What is the difference between CanCare’s service and therapy?

CanCare stands apart from traditional psychotherapy or counseling by offering a sense of community. We have a passion for providing one-on-one emotional support with a carefully-matched volunteer caregiver or cancer survivor. These survivors are not licensed therapists, but regular people who have walked the cancer journey. We know how important it is to have someone in your corner that has been where you are.

Is this a confidential service?

Yes. Your information will only be shared with your support volunteer.

Who can I speak to if I have questions?

You may call the CanCare office at 346-421-5777 or email us at support@cancare.org. We know the toll the treatment process can take on a person physically, mentally, and emotionally. From phone calls and one-on-one visits to support groups, we are here for you. We’re so committed to assisting you every step of the way, CanCare offers emotional support even up to a year after your treatment is completed.

Join a Virtual Support Group

Cancer Caregiver Online Support Group

2nd Thursday of each month | 12PM Central

At our support group for cancer caregivers, you will hear from one of our CanCare volunteer caregivers and have an opportunity to share your journey with other caregivers – through listening and/or sharing.

Email us here to receive the zoom meeting link and passcode.

Stage 4 Cancer Online Support Group

3rd Friday of each month | 12PM Central

Join us to hear from one of our CanCare volunteer survivors of stage IV cancer and have an opportunity to share the journey with others living with a similar diagnosis.

Email us here to receive the zoom meeting link and passcode.

Cancer Survivors Online Support Group

2nd Tuesday of each month | 4PM Central

A support group for anyone living with a cancer diagnosis at any stage.

Email us here to receive the zoom meeting link and passcode.