If you’re affected by cancer, it can be a stressful and lonely experience. But talking to others who have or are going through a similar situation can make a significant difference to your quality of life and emotional wellbeing.
We can connect you to individuals and groups who can support you.
Cancer Connect is a free and confidential telephone peer support service where you can talk to a person who has had a similar cancer experience with an early localised cancer, undertaking treatments or encountering survivorship issues.
Our trained volunteers can listen to you with a unique understanding and share their experiences and ways of coping. They can also offer practical information and emotional support for your individual needs.
Telephone support groups
In a telephone support group, you can talk with people who are in a similar situation, share your experiences, and learn practical tips and tools for coping with cancer. These groups are specifically for people experiencing metastatic and poor prognosis cancers, their carers and for bereaved carers.
Groups meet twice a month and each session lasts an hour.
Cancer support groups
Cancer support groups are community based and provide a safe place for people to come together to support each other, share ideas and thoughts, receive information from health professionals and each other, and learn coping skills in a non-judgmental and caring environment.
Most groups are run by community members and regularly invite guest speakers such as doctors, nurses, psychologists, dietitians, naturopaths and pharmacists.
Why connect with others
There are many benefits to connecting with people, including:
- Safety and security – Whether you speak to someone individually or in a group, you have a confidential and caring environment to be yourself and share your feelings free of judgement.
- Empowerment – Talking with someone who has been in your shoes can assist with developing confidence and a sense of control in coping with cancer.
- A sense of belonging and being supported – In a support group you can connect to, and be supported by, others in a similar situation. Groups create a sense of community, which can help you cope with cancer.
John Daven is a prostate cancer survivor and a Cancer Connect Peer Support volunteer who helps others going through a similar situation.
“I didn’t know peer support existed when I was going through my treatment,” he says. “Having cancer can be quite lonely – some friends quietly disappeared.”
John has been a Cancer Connect volunteer with Cancer Council NSW for seven years.
“They connect me with people who are contemplating the same treatment I’ve had, and we have about three chats over the phone across four months,” he says.
“There was a bit of trepidation before my first call, but the guy told me he was so glad he talked to me because his urologist didn’t have time and his family were on edge.”
“There are often difficult side effects to prostate cancer treatment. If guys are unaware of the help that’s out there, the road ahead can look pretty grim. I can reassure people that help is available and they’re not alone.”
John says volunteering has been highly rewarding.
“I’ve gotten a great deal out of it. It’s the change in the person’s demeanour after having a chat,” he says. “I come away and think, gee, I think I’ve really helped that guy.”