Reach out for support

By David Rak

Cancer Council Victoria is urging people in Seymour and district affected by cancer to reach out for support and information.

Recent research has found Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 on-call nurses act as navigators and educators, enabling people to better understand their situation and the support options available to them.

On average, 221 people are diagnosed with cancer each year in Mitchell Shire, and last year, 46 locals contacted Cancer Council for information and support. 

The most common calls were 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). 

Head of cancer information and support services at Cancer Council Victoria Katherine Lane said the organisation received more than 11,000 requests for support from people around the state last year.

“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.

“Cancer Council nurses can help with a range of different questions and issues you may face — whether you are diagnosed with cancer yourself, are a loved one or carer, or if you just have 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 enquire 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.”

Ms Lane said Cancer Council provides several other cancer support services, available to people in Mitchell Shire and right across the state.

“There is the holiday-break program where families can access a short break free of charge, a wig service that can 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 you're going through,” she said.

“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 an experienced cancer nurse 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).