Supportive Care over the years

Over the last four decades the Supportive Care area of Cancer Council NSW has developed programs to assist cancer patients and their loved ones to deal with the impact of cancer in their lives.

You can read more about how each of these programs help beat cancer online at Practical Support services .

A short history of practical support offered by Cancer Council NSW.

1984 – Cancer Connect

When you have cancer, talking to someone who has been through a similar cancer experience can be helpful, reassuring and encouraging. The Cancer Connect program provides telephone peer support for people affected by cancer through matched connections with a trained volunteer with similar experiences. This year we celebrate our 60th Anniversary and acknowledge 31years of collaboration with our fabulous team of Cancer Connect Volunteers, who listen to the needs of people affected by cancer and provide unique understanding, reassurance, practical information and emotional support.

1985 – Cancer Council 13 11 20 for Information and Support

In 1985, Cancer Council launched its 13 11 20 Information and Support service staffed by two oncology nurses. Since 1985, we have over 160,000 conversations around cancer.

Cancer Council 13 11 20 Information and Support is a confidential service where you can speak to a specialist cancer professional about anything to do with cancer, including questions about a cancer diagnosis, early detection, emotional support, practical support or how to cope with treatment and side effects.

The essence of why Cancer Council established 13 11 20 Information and Support continues today; the service strives to address the confidential needs of all calls, that is for the caller to be heard, understood and to go away with support, comfort, information and a sense of hope.

1992 – Understanding Cancer Resources

The Cancer Information Unit produces the Understanding Cancer series, which comprises more than 60 free resources for people with cancer, their families, carers and friends. Easy-to-read booklets and fact sheets provide information about specific types of cancer, treatments, and emotional and practical issues. The series also includes DVDs, CDs and Ebooks.

Every year more than 240,000 Understanding Cancer booklets are distributed throughout NSW, and many more are accessed online.

Each resource is reviewed by an external panel of health professionals and consumers, who generously give their time and expertise to help us ensure that the content is accurate and up to date.

1993 – Transport to Treatment

Travelling to and from medical appointments is difficult for many people affected by cancer. Cancer treatment usually occurs over an extended period of time and requires repeated attendance at facilities which may be far from home. Radiotherapy, in particular, requires daily attendance for up to six weeks and a common side effect is fatigue.

Cancer Council NSW helps in different ways; by operating services, by providing funding support to external services, and training Volunteers that wish to use their own vehicles.

Last financial year, Cancer Council supported 14 patient transport services and helped volunteers transport almost 6,000 patients and their carers over 630,000 kilometres to treatment. This equals a total of 5,550 volunteer hours!

2003 – Telephone Support Groups

Telephone support groups offer support and information to adults affected by cancer, reaching rural or unwell participants unable to attend any face-to-face support. We’ve run groups for over a decade, connecting hundreds of people. Wherever you are in Australia, you can talk with people who are in a similar situation, share experiences and information, give and receive support, and share practical tips, tools and strategies.

2004 – Cancer Support Group Leader Program

Cancer Council NSW Cancer Support Group Leader Program assists community volunteer and health professionals to start-up and run a support group. If you’re thinking of starting a group the most important rule is bring a working party together and don’t try to do it all yourself.

The program offers support, information, guidance and training involved in new or existing cancer support groups via the Cancer Support Group Leader Program. Benefits of joining the free membership include free support and access to our expertise, a support group guide, other promotional material, training, workshops and promotion in our directory.

Quote: “We’ve talked about death. You can’t talk about that anywhere else.”

2005 – Call Back

The Call Back program was developed in 2005 and uses specially trained volunteers to make outgoing calls to people affected by cancer and their family and friends. Volunteers are integrated into a team of healthcare professionals to support callers and deliver cancer support services. This service is 100% volunteer led. The importance of the Information and Support volunteers is to ensure that program clients feel connected to Cancer Council.

2006 onwards – Financial Assistance

The Financial Assistance Programs consist of one-off emergency assistance grants (2006 onwards), Financial Counselling (2010 onwards) and No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS)(2011 onwards).

2006 – The Financial Assistance program has been specifically designed to provide emergency financial assistance to people who have been affected by cancer for unpaid utility bills or essentials to help them manage their immediate financial crisis, reduce their short-term financial burden, and to reduce stress and worry, improving their wellbeing.

2010 – Financial counselling is a free community service provided by financial counsellors working in non-profit organisations that assist consumers who are experiencing financial problems. A financial counsellor is a worker who acts without a conflict of interest as a negotiator and an advocate on behalf of people who are at financial risk.

2011 – The No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) can provide a loan of up to $1,000 to some people who are affected by cancer and are financially disadvantaged. Fees and interest are not charged, and repayments can be arranged to suit the borrowers’ needs. Strict eligibility and assessment criteria apply, and loans can only be used to pay for eligible items.

2007 – Home Help

Cancer treatment is an incredibly difficult and exhausting process, and can sometimes cause the day to day tasks of living to become difficult. For people who may not have a lot of family and friends around, it adds enormous stress when there are bills to pay, jobs to be done, and appointments to keep.

Cancer Council NSW operates volunteer-run programs in communities across New South Wales to help. Home Help programs help people deal with everyday household tasks such as light housework, dog walking, light cooking, transport to treatment or shopping, carer respite, or simply providing some friendly company.

Last financial year Cancer Council NSW supported and operated eight home help programs across NSW, helping 284 clients with more than 500 services. Volunteers contributed more than 1,800 hours to support these programs.

2007 – Cancer Connections

Online since 2007 and revised in 2009, Cancer Connections is a moderated, online peer-support community where patients, partners, family and friends, young adults and survivors can share their story, meet and connect with others, discuss tips and experiences and find, give and receive support.

2008 – Living Well After Cancer

Beginning in 2008, the Living Well After Cancer program is open to all cancer survivors, their carers, family, and friends who are seeking practical information, discussion and ideas about how to adjust to the changes following cancer treatment. Including changes, challenges and opportunities you may face after completing treatment, connecting with other survivors and sharing tips, ideas and activities. Now in its seventh successful year, the program has reached over 3,500 participants. All programs are delivered by trained volunteer facilitators, who give almost 600 hours per year to the program.

2010 – Legal and Financial

We can help you if you or someone in your family has cancer and you need legal, financial, workplace or small business advice. Assistance is free for eligible clients. We can help with things like drafting wills, early access to superannuation, managing workplace issues before, during and after treatment, and insurance claims, among others.

Cancer Council will connect you with a lawyer, financial planner, accountant or HR/recruitment professional, who volunteer their time to assist people affected by cancer through the program.

To date, over 400 professionals have helped almost 3,200 patients and their families in NSW.

2010 – ENRICH (Exercise and Nutrition Routine Improving Cancer Health)

Over the years, evidence has strengthened about the benefits for cancer survivors of consuming a healthy diet and participating in physical activity. This program brings together strategies to help participants improve their quality of life and self-esteem, and reduce fatigue and the risk of recurrence.

Carers and partners will also benefit from attending this program. ENRICH originated as randomised controlled trials, and resulted in several positive behaviour changes. It therefore became a permanent offering at Cancer Council NSW and has helped 500 people.

2014 – Webinars

In 2014, Cancer Council NSW introduced a Webinar (live online seminar) series to provide information to people aged 18 to 45 years, and also people facing concerns in a workplace setting about emotional and practical issues that may affect them; to provide strategies to deal with these issues; and to offer opportunities for engagement with others who have been through similar experiences.

All webinars make use of a panel of three volunteer presenters, and have reached over 2,000 participants thus far. Topics covered have been: Returning to Work, Legal and Financial issues, Work life balance, Fear of Recurrence, Unexpected issues for Women, Surviving the Festive season, Sex and Sexuality, and the upcoming Late effects of Cancer treatment.

2014 Rekindle

One of our latest offerings, Rekindle was launched in 2014 and is a private, personalised online resource that addresses sexual concerns for all adults affected by cancer. Cancer survivors, whether in a relationship or single, heterosexuals and homosexuals, and their partners, are invited to use Rekindle, as it is personally tailored to meet your specific needs.

Featuring such things as bedroom activities to regain your spark, you can use it with or without a partner. Rekindle can be used on any device, including laptops, tablets and smart phones.

It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

You can have a fulfilling sex life after cancer.

2015 – Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Intersex (LGBTI) Support

Cancer Council NSW aims to improve the way the LGBTI Communities affected by cancer accesses support through the adoption of a more inclusive approach to the development and implementation of supportive care programs. Unique barriers to care, and specific issues and concerns, have been identified. This may facilitate fairer access to health services and improved health outcomes for LGBTI communities across NSW.