- Getting support
Finding out that you or someone from your mob has cancer can be hard. You might have questions about cancer and wonder how you and your mob will cope. There are lots of ways that Cancer Council can help.
Click on the headings below to learn more.
We can answer your questions about cancer, and let you know about support services in your area.
You can call us on 13 11 20 Monday to Friday 9am–5pm, or send us a message anytime.
Talking to Cancer Council health professionals is safe and private. You can talk about anything to do with cancer:
- How you are feeling if you or someone from your mob has cancer
- What to do if you’re worried you might have cancer
- Any worries you have about cancer treatment and side effects
- What to do if you’re confused about what the doctors have said
- How to cope if you have to travel a long way from home for treatment
- Who can help if cancer has caused money troubles
- How to get all your paperwork sorted
- Ways to cope if the cancer won’t go away
- How to protect yourself from cancer.
Anyone can call 13 11 20: people living with cancer, anyone from their mob, people who are worried about getting cancer, and Aboriginal health workers and other health professionals.
If you need more support, we can connect you to the right Cancer Council services, such as our support groups, counsellors, financial assistance, and transport and accommodation service. You can ask us to send you printed books and fact sheets about cancer.
We can also connect you to other support services in your local area, from nursing services to wig libraries.
Find it hard to hear or speak? Contact the National Relay Service and give them the Cancer Council number 13 11 20.
Some people can get cancer treatment close to home, but others have to travel to get treatment, which takes times and costs money.
If you need to travel a long way from home to get cancer treatment, we may be able to help you and your mob to get help with transport and a place to stay.
Help with costs (IPTAAS)
In NSW, the Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS) may help with the cost of travelling to treatment and accommodation. You may be eligible if you have to travel more than 100 km each way for treatment or have several trips that add up to 200 km or more in a week.
The hospital social worker can help you apply for IPTAAS. You can find out more by visiting the IPTAAS website or calling 1800 478 227.
Help finding a place to stay
You might stay in hospital for treatment (inpatient) or come and go each day (outpatient). If you are an inpatient, someone from mob might want to stay nearby so they can support you. If you are an outpatient, you might need to stay near the hospital, and you might want someone from mob to stay there with you too.
Ask the social worker if there is accommodation near the hospital and if someone from mob can stay as well. You might be able to find a local hotel, motel or hostel, or Cancer Council might be able to help you find a place to stay.
Transport to treatment closer to home
If your treatment is closer to home, you may be able to use community transport services – visit to find your nearest service.
If you can’t use community transport, you might also be able to use Cancer Council’s free Transport to Treatment service. Call 13 11 20 to find out more.
If you are worried about money, we can put you in touch with someone to help you sort out bills. We can also help you to find a lawyer if you need help with legal issues. These services may be free if you can’t afford to pay. The hospital social worker can refer you to these services, or you can call Cancer Council 13 11 20 to find out more.
You might be worried about money now that you have cancer or if you’re looking after someone with cancer. If you are in financial hardship, Cancer Council might be able to help with:
- Financial counselling – Our financial counsellors are specially trained to help you sort out your bills and manage your money. They can explain your situation to places you owe money to, such as banks and electricity, gas and telephone companies, and might be able to arrange more time for you to pay or even reduce the amount you have to pay back. It is free to see a financial counsellor.
- Emergency financial assistance – If you are in financial hardship because of cancer, we may help you pay for some everyday expenses up to a total of $350, such as paying your bills or sending you emergency food and fuel vouchers. We only give this emergency assistance once.
- Home help payment assistance – If you are in financial hardship because of cancer, we may be able to help you pay for some help around the home, such as cleaning or gardening. We pay the cleaning or gardening bills directly, up to a total of $350.
- Financial planners and accountants – If you need to rearrange your finances, start using your superannuation, or get advice about small business accounting, we can connect you with professionals who can help, such as financial planners and accountants. These services may be free if you can’t afford to pay.
Legal and workplace assistance
We can put you in touch with a lawyer if cancer has caused legal worries for you like making a will or sorting out insurance disputes. If you need support managing issues at work before, during and after cancer treatment, we can connect you with an HR professional.
Usually you will meet the lawyer or HR professional at their office, but you might be able to talk to them via video, phone or email.
You might find it helpful to yarn to other people affected by cancer. Knowing you’re not alone can make a big difference.
There are lots of ways Cancer Council can help you connect with others. Call 13 11 20 to find out more.
Talk to someone on the phone who has been through a similar cancer experience. Our trained volunteers understand what it’s like to have cancer.
Cancer support groups
Some groups are open to anyone with cancer, others are for people with a particular type of cancer. There are some support groups for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people called yarning circles. Cancer support groups meet face to face so people can support each other, develop friendships and share ideas and feelings.
Telephone support groups
Our telephone support groups are for people with advanced or hard to treat cancers. We also have groups for carers. The people in a telephone support group support each other through the ups and downs of living with cancer and offer comfort and understanding.
It’s natural to have days when you feel sad or worried, but if you feel “stuck” and feel depressed or anxious, it’s important to seek help. We can connect you with a professional counsellor who understands how hard cancer can be and can help you work out ways to cope. You can see a counsellor face to face, by phone or online. There are fees, but Cancer Council may be able to help if you have money troubles.
Cancer Council Online Community
Visit cancercouncil.com.au/OC at any time of day or night and join our Online Community to chat with other people facing cancer.
These organisations can provide help with emotional and practical support.
Carer Gateway – get support and services in your area and online to help you care for others.
Services Australia – can provide help with money. Services Australia includes:
- Centrelink – ring the Centrelink Indigenous on 1800 136 380
- Medicare – ring the Medicare Indigenous access line on 1800 556 955
Our Mob and Cancer – information on cancer, including cancer types, treatment, living with cancer and finding support. Developed by Cancer Australia with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Yarn Safe – if you’re feeling sad, tired, stressed and angry, the organisation headspace says there is no shame in talking it out. They have centres where you can yarn to someone face-to-face, or you can contact their online service eheadspace.org.au or call 1800 650 890 for telephone support.