Practical stuff

Changes at home

Cancer not only affects your body and feelings; it can also mess with your day-to-day life and cause issues because of changes at home.

When you’re sick sometimes you lose your ability to do things independently and may have to rely on your family or friends to help you out. You may have even had to move back home with your parents.

You may need (and want) the support of your primary carers and key supporters. But it might not be easy to have them so involved in your day-to-day life.

On top of this, cancer treatment can be expensive and you might need help with the financial costs. You might really miss the independence that came with having your own money, particularly if your friends and siblings can still go out and buy their own things.

Dealing with all these changes can be really hard. If you’re feeling frustrated, guilty or overwhelmed by it all, talk to your family or someone in your YCS team who can give you advice about coping.


Money and legal

On top of the physical and emotional impacts of having cancer and cancer treatment, there may be some financial or legal issues you need to deal with.

The costs of your treatment depend on where you are treated, and if you have private health insurance. There may be some financial help available. You may also be able to get help with the costs of transport and accommodation if you live in a regional or rural area and have to travel long distances to get treatment. Read more in Money matters.

It’s important that you understand your legal rights – like your right to make treatment decisions, and not to be discriminated against because of cancer or any side effects – and get advice on making a Will. See Legal issues.


School, study and work

While it’s not always easy during cancer treatment, continuing your education or work can help you maintain a sense of ‘normality’ and give you something else to focus on.

This section provides some advice about dealing with school, study (at Uni or TAFE) or work while you are living with cancer. There are tips for managing your return if you’ve had time away from school, study or work while having cancer treatment, and advice about not putting pressure on yourself.

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Support available

There are all kinds of financial and practical assistance available – you just need to know who and what to ask.

The best place to start is your Cancer Care Coordinator or social worker or another member of your team. They can tell you about services, groups and individuals that can help you – within the hospital, in your community and online.

You can also get contact details and link to websites of the many organisations and services that provide help and support to young people affected by cancer in Support services.


If you live in a regional area

Youth Cancer Services (YCSs) have been developed across Australia to ensure all young people with cancer can access the best, age-appropriate care and support – regardless of where they live.

YCSs are based in five major (lead) hospitals (in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide), but also work with hospitals and health services across Australia to deliver specialised care and support to all young people with cancer.

Depending on your cancer type and your situation, you might go to a lead hospital for treatment, or the YCS team can work with your local doctor/s to plan and provide the best treatment for you closer to where you live.

No matter where you have your treatment, you can access the resources and support of a YCS team.

To find out the best options for you, contact your nearest YCS.

If you have to travel to have your treatment in a hospital in a capital or major city, read tips from young people who’ve done it for making it as stress-free as possible and info about help with costs.