What are the cancer support services available to me?

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Getting support

Getting the right sort of support when you’re living with cancer is very important. While there may be lots of people looking after the physical side of things, it is just as important to look after the emotional stuff.

Your cancer experience may last for a long time and the kind of support you need may change. It’s important to find people who will:

  • Listen to you
  • Not judge you
  • Be there when you need them
  • Keep things private (if you ask)
  • Be honest with you
  • Have a sense of humour
  • Not tell you that they know how you feel.

There was no one my age in the adult oncology unit where I received treatment. As an 18-year-old, I thought I had to be brave because I was young, fit and healthy and that I should be able to handle cancer. But I couldn’t, especially not alone. So please reach out for support and don’t feel pressure to handle everything by yourself. Fiona, 22

Support organisations

It's likely your treating team may tell you about different organisations, like Canteen, that support people facing a similar cancer experience to you. That might include services specific to the type of cancer (e.g. Leukaemia Foundation), or local charities and groups. Different organisations offer different things, like accommodation, financial support, wish-granting and information. Depending on what you need right now, there may be a place to access the support you need, which can make all the difference.

Cancer Hub – an initiative by Canteen, Camp Quality and Redkite – is a one-stop shop to help you access all the different practical and emotional support you and your family needs, regardless of which organisation is providing the service. Head to cancerhub.org.au or call 1800 945 215.

Online support

There are lots of online support groups, blogs and forums for people who have been diagnosed with cancer, such as Canteen Connect.

It can be helpful to read other people’s stories and know that you’re not alone in what you are feeling or experiencing. Being anonymous and not actually having to talk to anyone may be easier for you.

How Canteen can support you

Getting the right information, advice and support can really help. Canteen is in your corner. We can put you in touch with a counsellor, help you access a clinical trial and help you connect with other young people going through cancer.

Canteen can help you in other ways, including:

  • Robots Service: stay connected to your school and friends even if you’re stuck in hospital or at home.
  • SPACE program: connect with other young cancer patients and develop coping skills to manage the impact of cancer on your life.
  • Education and Career Service: get expert advice on keeping up with study or work as well as improving your job readiness skills.
  • Questions to ask: ask the questions that matter to you on topics from diagnosis to treatment and more.

Find out more at canteen.org.au/youngpatients

Youth Cancer Services

Cancer is tough for everyone to deal with, but especially for young people who have unique and complex medical and support needs.

Youth Cancer Services provide specialist treatment and support for young people with cancer aged 15 to 25 in major hospitals throughout Australia.

To find a service near you, visit youthcancer.com.au


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