Cancer affects many aspects of a person's life. This includes their family, their friends and the broader community. Receiving a cancer diagnosis and navigating treatment, along with managing home, family, work, finances and friends often means lots of new information, changes, decisions and adjustments.
Supportive Care aims to provide the right resources and information at the right time, so that people feel prepared in their cancer journey. Each person’s supportive care needs are different and will vary as time goes on.
A person’s supportive care team can be made up of a range of people and service providers.
Person centred treatment and supportive care are vital parts of comprehensive cancer care.
We offer a range of supportive care services for patients and their families at the Northern Cancer Service. There are also a range of useful community and internet resources available to people on their cancer journey.
If you are unsure about your plan of care or what is happening with your treatment, we have Cancer Care Coordinators to help. We also have specialist Breast Cancer and Prostate Cancer Nurses to support people living with these cancers. You can contact them by phoning your local cancer service or by asking to see a Cancer Care Coordinator at your next medical appointment.
The following video about supportive care has been produced by WeCan.
Many people's first thoughts of cancer are about the physical symptoms which might come with cancer or having cancer treatment.
Everyone will experience physical symptom’s differently, for example; some people can have very similar types of cancer and very similar treatment and still have quite different symptoms.
Before starting your cancer treatment at the Northern Cancer Service, you will have a pre-treatment appointment where you will discuss your treatment plan and any possible side effects or symptoms. At this appointment you will also meet some of our supportive care team including a Nurse, Social worker and Pharmacist.
Your symptom management plan will be made just for you. It will be based on the type and stage of your cancer, the treatment you are having, other health conditions you have and other factors like work, travel and family commitments.
There are a few general tips to reduce symptoms and side effects:
If you would like to see someone from our allied health team to help with diet and exercise, please phone your local cancer service or let one of our team members know at your next visit.
Other pages on our site:
There is no right or wrong way to feel when dealing with cancer, often these feelings will change over time with more information and support. Living with cancer can be tough. Be patient with yourself and those around you.
It’s good to talk about any concerns or feelings you are experiencing with your Oncologist and or GP, they will help make a plan that works for you.
While you are receiving treatment the Radiation Therapy and Chemotherapy Nurses can listen and link you with other services such as Social Workers, support groups and Cancer Care Coordinators.
Cancer Council Tasmania offers a range of support groups and services for people living with cancer in the North and North West Tasmania, via the website or by phoning 13 11 20.
Cancer Council Victoria has developed a useful patient and family information booklet about Emotions and Cancer. This includes information about talking to people who have cancer and guidance for talking to people about your cancer.
WeCan is an Australian Cancer Supportive Care website which is designed for patients, families and friends to access useful information about living with cancer.
There are a range of counselling and therapy techniques which can help people living with cancer, it’s good to talk to your Oncologist or local Social Worker about the best kind of support for you.
The practice of Mindfulness is often referenced when talking about managing stress and emotions related to cancer. The Cancer Council (NSW) have made a free Mindfulness Meditation CD which is also available online. For many people Mindfulness will come when they are doing something they enjoy. The practice of Mindfulness is about being present in the moment and acknowledging what is going on in your body and your thoughts.
There are a range of different group and one on one support programs available in the community, if you would like more information talk to one of our Social Work team at your next appointment.
Beyond Blue have a phone and online chat service available 24 hours a day.
'Beyond Blue provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health, whatever their age and wherever they live'.
Having cancer often involves rearranging your life. Navigating parking, clinics, hospitals, learning new information and medical terms and putting other parts of your life on hold. This can leave everyone feeling physically and emotionally drained. Having practical support can make a big difference in the experience of managing cancer.
Many patients and their carers suggest keeping a diary and writing down questions as they think of them or keeping resources they are given in a folder. There can be a lot of information provided in a short time and it’s often good to look back over this information later.
Talking about cancer with your family and friends is not always easy, especially around the time of diagnosis. Often you will know that you have cancer, but more tests and scans may need to be done to know what type and stage of cancer you have. It may also be difficult to talk about having advanced cancer and what that means.
Some people want to have these conversations with a Nurse, Doctor or Social Worker present and other people want to have these conversations privately. Our Doctors, Nurses and Social Workers are available to support your preferences.
If you are looking after or supporting someone with cancer or have cancer and would like more information for your friends and family these reliable online resources can be helpful:
Our Community Noticeboard also has a range of community services and activities including: cancer support groups, health and fitness programs available to support people affected by cancer.
Carers Australia - Tasmania also offers some support and services for carers, you will need to register as a carer to receive these services such as respite and in-home support.
Community Nursing, Home and Community Care services are available, you will need a referral to be assessed for eligibility for these services, our Nurses and Social Workers can help with these referrals. Your local GP practice can also link you with these services.
Aged care services, including home and community care, for people aged 65 years and over and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years and over are available via My Aged Care. Visit the My Aged Care website at or call 1800 200 422 to find our more information.
Many people who receive a cancer diagnosis or are living with cancer find themselves reflecting on their life and their beliefs. For many people their spirituality is a very important part of their cancer journey. A person’s spirituality can include their beliefs, values, faith and or their religious beliefs and practices. During your cancer journey we encourage people to continue the spiritual practices which are important to them, this may be things like:
Our Social Workers can support you to connect with a range of pastoral care, religious and spiritual resources.
We offer a range of quiet spaces and outside areas at the Northern Cancer Service. Patients and families are also welcome to visit our hospital chapels.
Receiving a cancer diagnosis can often feel like information overload. Getting quality information and support is important.
This website is a collection of the general information and resources we provide to people and their families. If you are a current patient and need more information about your specific care and treatment, please contact your local cancer service.
Our Cancer Care Coordinators are available to support you in navigating the health care system for treatment and support.
The Optimal Cancer Care Pathways can be helpful for patients and families with what to expect on your cancer journey.
If you are unable to speak for yourself or find it difficult, Advocacy Tasmania can provide support.They can also provide information about your rights and help you to deal with problems or complaints.
Content current as at 17 Feb 2020
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