Getting support - Emotions and cancer
Even though family and friends can be there to help, many people still find it hard to ask for, and then accept, support. When you are dealing with treatment and side effects, your support network can make an enormous difference. Family and friends usually appreciate being allowed to provide support – it helps them feel useful. Some people don’t have family and friends who are willing or able to help, but there are also many sources of professional support.
Learn more about:
- Offers of help
- Ways family and friends can help
- Other sources of support
- When you need professional support
- Health professionals who can help
- Practical and financial help
- Finding useful contacts
People are often willing to help if they know what you need. Family and friends can support you in different ways. Some people will be able to talk about the cancer and comfort you if you are upset. Other people may prefer to offer practical support. If you have a partner or another person providing most of your care, an important role for other family members and friends may be to support that carer.
Some people like to use an app on their smartphone or computer, such as CanDo, or Caringbridge. These apps allow you to list tasks and set up a roster so people can choose activities that match their availability and interests. The apps can also be a convenient way to share updates with your social circle.
Talking to a counsellor made me realise I don’t have to go it alone. We have good friends and a great community who will support me. I just needed to be able to step back and see the possibilities.Kate
The suggestions below may be a useful prompt when people say, “Let me know if you need anything.”
Providing practical support
Keeping others informed
Keeping you involved
Podcast: How to Help Someone with Cancer
A/Prof Anne Burke, Co-Director, Psychology and Allied Health Lead, Cancer, Central Adelaide Local Health Network and The University of Adelaide, SA; Hannah Chen, Psychologist, Cancer Council Queensland; Hazel Everett, Clinical Nurse Consultant, Cancer Services, St John of God Subiaco Hospital, WA; Shona Gates, Senior Social Worker, North West Cancer Centre, TAS; Dr Jemma Gilchrist, Senior Clinical Psychologist, Mind My Health and Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre, Westmead, NSW; Sandra Hodge, Consumer; Dr Michael Murphy, Psychiatrist and Clinician Researcher, Prince of Wales Hospital, NSW; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Dr Alesha Thai, Medical Oncologist, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Alan White, Consumer.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
Coping with cancer?
Speak to a health professional or to someone who has been there, or find a support group or forum
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Practical advice and support during and after treatment
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