Moira locals urged to reach out to ‘cancer navigators’ for information and support

By Cobram Courier

Cancer Council Victoria is urging Moira locals affected by cancer to reach out for support and information, with research finding that the nurses who answer calls to Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 number act as navigators and educators, enabling people to better understand their situation and the support options available to them.

On average, 230 people are diagnosed with cancer each year in Moira, and last year, 54 locals contacted Cancer Council for information and support.

Cancer Council Victoria's Cancer Information and Support Services head Katherine Lane said the organisation received more than 11,000 requests for support from people around the state last year, with the most common calls about practical issues (31 per cent), cancer treatment and management (18 per cent), early detection, screening and symptoms (17 per cent) and psychological or emotional support (15 per cent).

“Our 13 11 20 Information and Support service is staffed by experienced cancer nurses who can be contacted in a way that is convenient for you — either by phoning 13 11 20 or by emailing a question to [email protected]” Ms Lane said.

She said Cancer Council nurses could help with a range of different questions and issues people might face — whether they were diagnosed with cancer themselves, were a loved one or carer of someone with cancer, or if they just had a general query.

“Last year, 45 per cent of people who contacted 13 11 20 had cancer themselves, but many people who used our service did not, with 26 per cent being a carer or family member of someone with cancer, and 21 per cent general members of the public. We also have many health professionals who contact us for information or to inquire about support for their patients.

“Whatever your situation, our nurses can provide emotional and practical support, can talk about the effects of specific types of cancer and explain what will happen during processes like chemotherapy, radiotherapy or other cancer treatments, or can link you with our wider range of support programs.

``You may like someone to simply have a chat with and to listen — that can be just as helpful as anything.”

Ms Lane said Cancer Council provided a number of other cancer support services, available to people in Moira and right across the state, including a Holiday Break Program where families could access a short break free of charge; a wig service that could send out wigs to people in regional areas; and Cancer Connect, which is a phone-based peer support program that matches people with someone who understands what people are going through and knows what it's like to have cancer affect their life and their loved ones.

“Cancer Council also has many information resources that can be accessed online or sent to you by post, and support groups that operate in communities across Victoria.

“I would encourage anyone needing cancer information and support to contact our 13 11 20 nurses who can listen and help with your specific needs.”

 To speak to experienced cancer nurses call Cancer Council on 13 11 20 or email [email protected]

This is a confidential service for anyone looking for cancer information or support. The line is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm (cost of a local call, except from mobiles).