Updated ‘Understanding Cancer’ publications

Cancer information is a key priority of Cancer Council NSW, along with support, advocacy, research and prevention.

Our ‘Understanding Cancer’ series provides easy-to-read, evidence-based information about cancer, its treatment, and the many issues faced by people with cancer, their families and friends. The booklets are regularly updated.


Managing your working life after a diagnosis of cancer – new booklet and workplace factsheets now available.

Cancer and its treatment can affect many aspects of a person’s life, including work. Cancer Council has recently revised its information for workers and employers about managing work after a cancer diagnosis.

UC work 1

For workers The Cancer, Work & You booklet has been designed to help people affected by cancer find a working arrangement that suits their situation – from the time of diagnosis to their return to work after treatment. It includes:

  • general information about how treatment for cancer can affect people’s ability to work, and factors to consider when making a decision about continuing to work
  • tips about approaching conversations with employers, combining work and treatment, and coping with side effects while working
  • factors to consider when returning to work after a break due to treatment
  • information for self-employed people and working carers
  • an overview of people’s workplace rights and entitlements after a cancer diagnosis.

Reviewed by a multidisciplinary panel of experts, the resource is now available as a printed booklet. It can also be downloaded from the Cancer Council NSW website as either a PDF or ebook.


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For employers: Workplaces are an important source of support for many people with cancer. This series of 10 workplace fact sheets provides managers and human resource professionals with clear and concise information about aspects of managing cancer in the workplace. As well as providing tips and practical strategies for talking with employees about cancer, the factsheets also include information about creating cancer-friendly workplaces, managing the effects of treatment in the workplace, supporting colleagues affected by their own or a loved one’s cancer, and bereavement.

Please take a look and help spread the word about these resources for employees and workplaces, which are available to download from the Cancer Council NSW website.


Exercise and cancer – new booklet and videos available

exercise and cancer

There is now clear evidence that regular exercise benefits most people both during and after cancer treatment. It can help people manage some of the common side effects of treatment, speed up a return to usual activities, and improve overall quality of life. For some cancers, exercise may even improve treatment outcomes.

The evidence also shows there is little risk of exercise causing harm if care is taken and professional exercise advice is followed closely.
For these reasons, people with cancer should be as physically active as their abilities and condition allow, and Cancer Council’s Exercise for People Living with Cancer booklet provides a guide to help people get started.

It includes:

• general information on safely starting an exercise program after a cancer diagnosis, including questions to ask your doctors and exercise professionals
• information on popular forms of aerobic, strength-training and flexibility exercises, and examples of exercise techniques you can do at home
• step-by-step instructions and illustrations for 20 simple exercises.
Reviewed by a panel of exercise physiologists, other experts and consumers, the resource is now available as a printed booklet and on the Cancer Council NSW website.

New videos demonstrating each exercise complement the information in the written resource.

These videos are available to watch on the Exercise and Cancer section of the Cancer Council NSW website. Please take a look and help spread the word about these excellent new resources.


Looking for information on blood cancers?

Understanding Cancer blood related

Each year over 12,000 Australians are diagnosed with blood cancers, including leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. The Cancer Information Unit produces a range of resources to help people understand how blood cancers develop, how they are diagnosed and how they are treated.

Cancer Council NSW recently published new editions of three booklets about specific blood cancers: Understanding Myeloma, Understanding Chronic Leukaemia and Understanding Acute Leukaemia.

Print copies can be ordered using the Publications Order Form. All three booklets are also available as ebooks on our website and from iTunes. Please take a look and help spread the word about these important resources.


Two recently updated booklets address the question, “How does cancer affect sexuality and fertility?”

Sex and fertility may not be the first things to come to mind when you think about cancer, but they can be significant concerns for people during and after cancer treatment.

Cancer Council NSW has produced new editions of two national booklets that explore these issues: Sexuality, Intimacy and Cancer, and Fertility and Cancer.

two bookletsPrint copies can be ordered using the Publications Order Form on our website.

Sexuality, Intimacy and Cancer is also available as an e-book on our website and from iTunes. Please take a look and help spread the word about these important resources!


New booklet editions

Exercise  COVERSeveral Understanding Cancer information resources have recently been clinically reviewed and updated, and new editions of the following titles are now available:  

  • Understanding Bladder Cancer
  • Understanding Anal Cancer
  • Understanding Chronic Leukaemia
  • Understanding Surgery
  • Exercise for People Living with Cancer
  • Cancer of the Unknown Primary
  • Cancer Care and Your Rights
  • Sexuality, Intimacy and Cancer
  • Fertility and Cancer

Latest eBook titles

In addition, new eBook editions are now available to download to read on your iPad, tablet or eReader, including:

Understanding Skin Cancer, Understanding Chronic Leukaemia, Understanding Surgery, Emotions and Cancer, and Sexuality, Intimacy and Cancer.


Here are some recently reviewed and updated editions from the series.

Cancer and Your Finances

finances coverA cancer diagnosis can turn your life upside down. Facing a serious illness and a long treatment journey is daunting enough, but what about the financial impact? How can this be managed?

There are many types of medical expenses that can add up during treatment and recovery, such as medicines, equipment and specialist fees.

There may also be other, less obvious, costs associated with the practical aspects of treatment, including transport, accommodation or child care.

If the person diagnosed or their partner has to take time off work, household income may also be significantly affected.

“My income was reduced when I cut back my working hours, but I was able to scrape by. I saved up some money during my paid sick leave.” – Sarah

It’s natural to feel overwhelmed at times while juggling treatment and everyday life, but finding reliable information and the right kinds of support can help.

Cancer Council’s new edition of Cancer and Your Finances explains how people can keep track of their finances, reduce their expenses and access other income and resources.

Previously published as When cancer changes your financial plans, this national booklet has been updated and expanded to include new sections such as preparing a budget, how to manage stress, the difference between a financial planner and financial counsellor, reducing debt and expenses, finding other income, and the recent changes to the law regarding early access of superannuation and terminal illness. It also personal insights from people who have had first-hand experience.

Cancer and Your Finances is available to from Cancer Council Information Centres, display stands in treatment centres, or by calling 13 11 20. It is also available as a downloadable PDF file from the Cancer Council NSW website at: www.cancercouncil.com.au/cancer-information/when-you-are-first-diagnosed/finances

There are also updated PDF files available for the following updated booklets, Understanding Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, Emotions and Cancer and Understanding Radiotherapy.


Understanding Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Understanding Non Hodgkin Lymphoma coverThis booklet has been clinically reviewed and updated.

Key changes include: a revision of the ‘What is cancer?’ section to make it more relevant to this cancer and better describe how blood and lymphatic cancers spread; removal of information about Gallium scans from the Diagnosis chapter, as these are no longer common in the diagnosis of this cancer; and reduced emphasis on the terms ‘indolent’ and ‘aggressive’ to describe low-grade and high-grade disease respectively.

There have also been several changes to the Treatment chapter including relocation of information about heart scans to the chemotherapy section; removal of immunotherapy information as it’s not commonly used; and incorporation of the information about G-CSF into the stem cell transplant section.

A new case study describes a woman’s experience of being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and receiving chemotherapy as treatment, including four sessions as part of a clinical trial.

Available in print, online and now as an e-book.


Emotions and Cancer

emotions UC cover This national booklet has recently been reviewed and updated.

Like the previous edition, it aims to assist people with the emotional impacts of cancer. It includes information on adjusting to a diagnosis and offers suggestions about gathering information, looking after yourself, dealing with unhelpful thoughts and making decisions.

With permission from the US National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), the Distress Thermometer has been included in this edition to help people determine whether the level of distress they are feeling is a typical reaction or something more serious. People who identify with more serious distress are advised to see their doctor.

The Others is your life chapter includes tips on talking to family and friends about the diagnosis, and how to talk to children and help them adjust. A new section on worrying about the cancer coming back discusses managing anxiety about recurrence. 

Available in print, online and now as an e-book.


Understanding Radiotherapy

radiotherapy UC coverThis national booklet has recently been clinically reviewed and expanded to include new  information in the Key Questions chapter about radiotherapy and pregnancy and working during treatment; additional information about planning external radiotherapy treatment, and internal radiotherapy generally; and a new After treatment chapter.

The Managing side effects chapter has been restructured to make it easier to reference the relevant tips for managing each side effect.

In addition, a new case study describes the story of a woman who had external radiotherapy treatment for breast cancer.

Available in print, online and as an e-book.