Seeking support when living with advanced cancer

A-Z of practical and support services

Accommodation

Cancer patients and carers who travel a long way for treatment can often get accommodation at or near the treatment centre. Facilities may be self-contained or shared, and the cost is sometimes subsidised.

  • Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20
  • Contact the hospital social worker

Patient Assisted Travel Scheme (PATS) – all states and territories operate a PATS.These schemes provide a subsidy to help with travel, escort and accommodation expenses incurred when rural and remote Australians travel to access specialised health care not available within a specified distance from where they live.

Carer services

 

Carers Australia – national body representing Australia’s carers, which can direct you to your state
or territory carer association.

Counselling and mentoring services

beyondblue – 24 hour telephone counselling service (online or email is also available 7 days a week)
Better Acces Initiative – Medicare-subsidised referral to counselling through your GP
LifeCircle ­- provides mentoring, telephone support and other support resources for carers.
Lifeline – 24 hour telephone and online support, information and referral service to help men with relationship issues.
Mensline Australia – 24 hour telephone and online support, information and referral service to help men with relationship issues.
National Association for Loss and Grief – 24 hour telephone support service to help those suffering from loss.
National Carer Counselling Program ­ ­ ­(NCCP) – offers short-term counselling to carers.
  • 1800 242 636

Equipment and aids

Independent Living Centres Australia – provides information on a range of products and services to help people remain independent and improve their quality of life.

Financial Assistance

Centrelink – offers financial support for people with a long-term illness and for primary carers.

Funerals

Australian Funeral Directors Association – provides a listing of funeral directors and estimates of costs. It also has information on pre-paying for a funeral and planning for a funeral.

Home help

Support is available for people being cared for at home and their carers. Services vary from area to area. Some local councils provide a range of community and in-home services, such as Meals on Wheels or respite care. If you have a palliative care team, they can organise home help for you.  

Home nursing

Free home nursing can be organised as part of your palliative care. Private services are also available. If you have private health insurance, your policy may cover home nursing.
  • Talk to your palliative care team and/or your private health fund.
  • Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20.

Legal advice and information

A solicitor is the best person to ask about any legal matters. If you do not have a solicitor, contact Law Access NSW, which is a free government telephone service that provides legal information, advice and referrals.  

Palliative care

Palliative Care Australia provides information about palliative care services and facilities, and can link you to your local palliative care office.
Care Search – online palliative care resources, services, and evidence for patients, carers and families.
Australian Government Department of Health – responsible for cancer and palliative care information.

Pastoral care

Most large hospitals have a pastoral worker who can talk to you about practical and spiritual concerns (from all religious and non-religious viewpoints).
  • Contact your hospital.

Respite care

Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres – can organise respite care for you, that is, when a patient is looked after by someone other than their usual carer. This gives their regular carer a break and time to attend to their own personal needs. Respite care can be for a few hours, overnight or for blocks of time.
  • 1800 052 222 (business hours)
  •  www.health.gov.au
  • Your palliative care team or social worker can advise.

Social worker

The hospital social worker offers a range of services for you and your family, such as counselling and debriefing. They can provide a link between you and the hospital system.
  • Contact your hospital or local community health centre.

Support groups

Many people find joining a support group helpful. Support groups allow people with cancer to talk about their experiences, hopes and fears in a non-judgmental, caring environment.

Face-to-face groups - meeting with others who understand what it is like to have cancer can be helpful. You may be reluctant to share your story or listen to other people’s, but most people find they benefit from the close bonds formed with other members.
  • Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20
  • Contact your hospital social worker to see if they run any support groups.
Telephone support groups – if getting together with others in person isn’t possible, you can join a telephone support group run by Cancer Council. There are groups for advanced cancer, carers and different cancer types.
  • Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20
Online discussion forums – people can connect with each other at any time, ask or answer questions or write a blog of their experiences.
This information was last reviewed in December 2013

This information has been reviewed by: Dr Kathy Pope, Radiation Oncologist, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Jessica Abbott, Cancer Care Dietitian, Alexandra Hospital, QLD; Frances Bellemore, Clinical Care Nurse, St Vincent’s Hospital, NSW; Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar, Telephone Support Group Facilitator, Cancer Council NSW; Helpline and Cancer Counselling Service staff, Cancer Council QLD; Di Richardson, Consumer; Dr Mary Brooksbank, Philip Plummer and Claire Maskell Gibson on behalf of Palliative Care Australia. 

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Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4059

Kobo

To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit: http://www.kobo.com/help/koboaura/response/?id=3784&type=3

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit: https://au.readerstore.sony.com/apps_and_devices/

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-1?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200767340&qid=1395967989&sr=1-1
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200375630

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.