History of Cancer Support Community

Cancer Support Community, formerly known as The Wellness Community founded by Dr. Harold Benjamin in 1982, is an international non-profit organization dedicated to providing free support, cancer education and hope. Through participation in professionally-led support groups, educational workshops, nutrition and exercise programs, and stress-reduction classes, cancer patients and their loved ones can learn vital skills that enable them to regain control, reduce isolation and restore hope.

Dr. Benjamin formulated the Patient Active Concept as a result of experience with his wife's breast cancer and through subsequent years of study on the psychological and social impact of cancer. This revolutionary idea was recognized years later at Walt Disney World EPCOT Metropolitan Life exhibit as one of the most significant developments in the evolution of modern health care. The validity of this core principal is further supported through evidence-based research.

The other significant cornerstone of our program is that all services are provided free of charge in a home-like, community setting. 'Community' is perhaps the most important aspect of Cancer Support Community model of care that differentiates the program from any other. Today, thousands of people with cancer and their loved ones unite together through our programs.  People at all stages of the disease come to learn that they are not alone in their fight--whether for physical, emotional or spiritual recovery. Together, they regain a sense of control over their lives and ultimately discover that hope is a valuable tool regardless of the stage of disease.

Cancer Support Community has grown to provide support, education and hope for people with cancer at over 100 locations worldwide including 24 U.S. based and 2 international centers with 73 satellite and off-site programs and online at cancersupportcommunity.org.  In addition, Cancer Support Community has two facilities abroad in Tel Aviv, Israel and Tokyo, Japan.  A significant factor in expansion can be directly attributed to Gilda Radner, a participant until her death from ovarian cancer in 1989.  In her book, It's Always Something, she shared extensively about her experience at the Santa Monica location. Many patients who have read her book have gone on to help bring a facility to their area.

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