If you or a loved one is dealing with a cancer diagnosis, it can be helpful to speak to others outside of your family who have experience or expertise in the area.
Whether it’s to express your fears or concerns or get helpful advice, knowing you’re not alone can make a huge difference to your experience.
We can connect you to groups and individuals who can support you.
I look forward to hearing where others are up to, and the different ways that people cope. We can have a laugh, or a cry, or ask the tough questions without fear of reactions.Anne, ovarian cancer survivor
Cancer Connect is a free and confidential telephone peer support service for people experiencing localised cancer (not advanced cancer).
It is a chance to talk to a specially trained volunteer who has been through a similar diagnosis and experiences. The service is also available for those experiencing survivorship issues.
Our trained volunteers understand what it’s like to have cancer. They can help identify some coping strategies, provide practical information and general emotional support.
Telephone support groups
Our telephone support groups are for people with advanced, metastatic and difficult to treat cancers. Carer and bereavement groups are also available.
In sharing experiences and information, participants support each other through the ups and downs of cancer and treatment. The big issues of facing end of life, dealing with difficult treatment, fears and uncertainties are spoken about with compassion and empathy.
Our carer and bereavement groups are places that offer comfort and understanding to one another.
Groups are run by trained facilitators and meet twice a month for one hour. Participation is flexible and you can skip sessions.
Cancer support groups
Cancer support groups are held in many city and rural communities. They are a safe place for people to support each other, develop friendships and share ideas and thoughts. Often cancer-specialist health professionals are invited to give talks and information.
We can help connect you to a local cancer support group.
You can access the Cancer Connect service when you are:
- diagnosed with localised cancer (cancer is limited to the place where it started)
- undertaking treatment for this cancer
- encountering cancer survivorship issues.
Volunteers are individuals who:
- have recovered from a similar cancer experience
- are specially trained to provide telephone peer support
- are supported by health professionals.
Topics you may wish to talk about include:
- coping with a cancer diagnosis
- surgery type
- treatment regimes and side effects
- physical changes and appearance
- fear of recurrence
- relationships and the perspectives of others
- financial and lifestyle changes
- talking with children about cancer.
- Advanced cancer: For people whose cancer has moved from its original site
- Metastatic breast cancer: For people whose breast cancer has moved from its original site
- Brain tumour: For people diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour
- Multiple myeloma: For people who living with multiple myeloma
- Pancreatic cancer: For people with a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer
- Metastatic melanoma: For people living with Stage 3 or 4 – on treatment or a trial
Groups for family and friends
- Carer: For people who are providing primary care for a family member, friend or loved one with a cancer diagnosis
- Life after loss: For people who’s loved one has died from a cancer-related illness. This is a ‘closed’ six-session format.
The bereavement groups are held several times a year and involve attending six weekly sessions.
To find out more, call us on 13 11 20 or 1300 755 632 or email email@example.com
There are many reasons to join and stay in a cancer support group.
Get a sense of belonging and be supported
People can often feel isolated and unsupported when they are diagnosed with cancer. By joining a support group, people can develop a sense of belonging and feel comfortable enough to share their feelings with those who have had similar experiences.
Many people who join support groups find that they give as much as they receive, which raises their confidence and their ability to cope.
People often feel that they must hide their feelings to protect others. In a support group, you can feel protected and safe to express your feelings.
People join support groups to not only look for encouragement and optimism but for inspiration, hope for survival and quality of life, and advice on how to get the best outcome.
Many support groups have a range of highly qualified speakers. Although many will be health professionals, other speakers include artists, writers, yoga instructors, welfare workers or massage therapists.
In a support group, people can feel empowered through their increased knowledge and understanding of cancer, research and treatments.
A place to relax
Support groups provide a safe place for people to relax and be at ease with others who understand what they are going through.
They can also allow an environment where people can feel comfortable to cry, laugh and joke – and just be themselves.
We are committed to ensuring that patients have access to high quality, community-based support groups. We do this in many ways.
We will help you:
- start your own group. If there isn’t a group nearby, contact Nikola Ellis on (02) 9308 0253
- identify the type of group that will best suit your interests and the needs of your local area
- give practical advice on how to start up and promote a support group
- link you with local health professionals and a Cancer Council regional office
- sending you information about starting a group, including Cancer Support Groups – A guide to setting up and maintaining a group and Cancer Support Group Leader Training Workshops
We support existing support groups by:
- promoting groups through 13 11 20 Cancer Information and Support
- providing Cancer Support Group Leader Training Workshops for group leaders
- providing information about cancer treatments and related issues
- providing support through the nearest Cancer Council regional office
- helping groups to apply for funding through councils, state and federal government and private organisations
- providing occasional group telephone supervision for support group leaders
- offering public liability insurance for support groups who meet in party premises. To enquire, contact Nikola Ellis on (02) 9308 0253.
Cancer Support group leader training workshops
We offer support, information, guidance and training to people involved in new or existing cancer support groups via the Cancer Support Group Leader Program.
The workshops are free of charge to attend. We offer three different workshops, each requires your commitment to attend a full day (9am to 4pm).
- General Leader Training (for new leaders)
- Grief, Loss and Change (for experienced leaders)