Seeking support

If you are someone who is affected by advanced cancer, read on to learn about the kind of support you can access.

Some of the different kinds of support are:

Emotional support

When you are referred to palliative care or while you are having palliative care, you may have a range of emotions. Many people feel shocked, fearful, sad, anxious or angry. Others feel relief or a sense of inner peace.

Some people have ongoing depression after receiving a diagnosis of advanced cancer. Signs of depression include trouble thinking clearly, losing interest in things you used to enjoy, or changes to sleep patterns and appetite. If you think you may be depressed, it is important to talk to your doctor, as counselling and medicines can help. For information about coping with depression and anxiety, call Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or visit For 24-hour crisis support, call Lifeline 13 11 14 or visit

You may find that while some people you know are supportive, others may avoid you or not know what to say. This can be difficult, and you could feel rejected, isolated or upset. Advanced cancer can mean changes to your lifestyle – at some point, you may need to leave work, stop driving or give up other activities that are important to you. These changes can cause further sadness or stress.

It will probably help to talk to someone. Your partner, family and close friends can offer support, or you might prefer to talk to:

Financial support

For many people, an illness can be a financial strain. This may be caused by extra out-of-pocket costs or from loss of income. For example, if you need to stay at home more, household bills may increase, or you may buy more prepackaged meals to save your time and energy for other tasks. You may need to pay for child care, transport, medicines and equipment.

If you live alone and have limited support from family or friends, you may need to pay for private services, such as nursing, cleaning or shopping. Research your options ahead of time so you know what assistance is available.

These extra costs can cause you and your family a lot of stress:

  • Ask your social worker about any financial or practical assistance available to you or your carer, and apply for it as soon as possible. You may be eligible for assistance from the government, volunteer bodies, church groups or your local council.
  • Call the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 for free, confidential and independent financial counselling.
  • Your local Cancer Council may be able to organise legal and financial advice. Contact Cancer Council 13 11 20 to find out what services are available in your area and whether you are eligible.
  • Talk to your superannuation fund about applying for an early release of your superannuation savings on the grounds of severe financial hardship or terminal illness.
  • Ask your utility company, loan provider or local council about how they might be able to help you manage payment of your bills or loans.
  • For more on this, see Cancer and your finances.

Practical assistance

  • Equipment and aids – Talk to your palliative care team about equipment and aids that will help you remain independent. Independent Living Centres Australia offers advice on a range of products and services to help with aspects of day-to-day living, including mobility, sleeping, eating and transport (call 1300 885 886). Depending on where you live and what your needs are, there may be funding available to help with these items.
  • Home help and transport – Contact your palliative care team, local council, My Aged Care or Cancer Council 13 11 20 to ask about help with meals, housework or transport. The availability and cost of services vary across Australia.

Other key services

Here are some other key services that may help:

  • My Aged Care – An Australian Government site with information about care options, available services including the Commonwealth Home Support Program, respite care, assessment and eligibility. Call 1800 200 422.
  • Carer Gateway – An Australian Government service providing practical information and resources for carers, information about respite care, and links with local support services. Call 1800 422 737.
  • Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres – Provide free, confidential information about carer respite and other services. Call 1800 052 222 to talk to an adviser.
  • Palliative Care Australia – This national peak body and its state and territory member organisations work to raise awareness of palliative and end-of-life care, and to improve the understanding and availability of services across Australia. It also provides information for people living with a life-limiting illness and their families, carers and health professionals. Visit to download resources and find links to state and territory organisations. You can also call the head office on 02 6232 0700.
To find other palliative care services and organisations in your area, search Palliative Care Australia’s National Palliative Care Service Directory at

Click on the icon below to download a PDF booklet on palliative care.

Printed copies are available for free - Call 13 11 20 to order

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:


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:

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:

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
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit

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.

This information was last reviewed in April 2019
View who reviewed this content
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Support services

Coping with cancer?
Speak to a health professional or to someone who has been there, or find a support group or forum

Need legal and financial assistance?
Pro bono services, financial and legal assistance, and no interest loans

Looking for transport, accommodation or home help?
Practical advice and support during and after treatment

Cancer information

Key questions about advanced cancer
Answers to questions people may have when they are first told they have advanced cancer

End of life
Information for people who have been told that the end of life is near

View our publications
Guides and fact sheets for people with cancer, their families and friends