Seeking support

Cancer may cause you to experience a range of emotions, such as fear, sadness, anxiety, anger or frustration. Coming into contact with other people who have had similar experiences to you can be beneficial. You may feel supported and relieved to know that others understand what you are going through and that you are not alone.

In these support settings, people often feel they can speak openly and share tips with other people who have gone through a similar experience.

You may find that you are comfortable talking about your diagnosis and treatment, relationships with friends and family, and hopes and fears for the future. Some people say they can be even more open and honest in these settings because they aren’t trying to protect their loved ones.

Ask your nurse or social worker about support groups that are available in your area, or call Cancer Council 13 11 20.

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Types of support services

There are many ways to connect with others for mutual support and to share information. These include:

  • face-to-face support groups – often held in community centres or hospitals
  • telephone support groups – facilitated by trained counsellors
  • peer support programs – match you with someone who has had similar cancer experience, e.g. Cancer Connect
  • online forums – such as the Cancer Council Online Community.

Cancer council resources

Many of the issues in this booklet are complex, and some of your rights will be governed by laws in your state or territory. For this reason, it’s best to contact your local Cancer Council to ask about the booklets and fact sheets relevant to your situation. Call Cancer Council 13 11 20 to talk to a consultant, who can send you free copies. Digital versions of these resources are also available from your local Cancer Council website, although availability may vary across states and territories.

Booklets and fact sheets cover issues such as:

  • emotions
  • workplace rights, discrimination and work-related cancers
  • treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy
  • complementary therapies
  • caring for someone with cancer
  • superannuation, insurance and financial issues
  • advanced  cancer
  • palliative care
  • end-of-life issues, such as getting your affairs in order and dealing with debts after death.

Cancer Council also produces booklets about more than 20 types of cancer. For copies, call Cancer Council 13 11 20 or find them online.

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This information was last reviewed in April 2016
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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

What is cancer?
How cancer starts and spreads

Dealing with the diagnosis
Common reactions to a cancer diagnosis and how to find hope

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