Thanks to funding received by the Dry July Foundation almost 1,000 callers to the 13 11 20 cancer council helpline will receive advice free of charge.
Cancer is not an easy topic to talk about, and the word itself can invoke a range of feelings and emotions that are often challenging. Whether this is for a person diagnosed with cancer, a carer, family member, friend or colleague, we are all in some way affected by the impact of cancer. We also know of the information, emotional, practical and financial needs that can change over a cancer experience.
Cancer Council 13 11 20 complements health services and aims to alleviate unmet needs by helping people throughout the cancer trajectory. This can be from diagnosis to living with cancer and end of life care. Over the phone or via email, Cancer Council nurses act as navigators, educators and therapeutic communicators to enable callers to better understand their situation and the support options available to them. Research of the service has shown enhanced confidence and competence for the caller to manage their own health and get the most from the healthcare team.
Most importantly, experienced and understanding nurses manning the phone lines are available for anyone who has any question about cancer at any time of the day. It can sometimes be difficult for people to address their supportive care needs in the hospital setting when time-limited consultations often focus on medical treatment. Although Cancer Council nurses do not provide individual medical advice, they can talk about the effects of specific types of cancer and explain what will happen during processes like chemotherapy, radiotherapy or other cancer treatments.
In addition to funding for the helpline, Cancer Council Victoria also received funding to translate information and support resources into Plain English and seven other languages (Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Tagalog and Vietnamese). These will include the most-used information resources: What is cancer?; Coping with cancer fatigue; Caring for someone with cancer; and How we help to support.