Hearing the words, “You have cancer” is often accompanied by a series of emotions, questions, and challenges.
And with 10,000 South Australians diagnosed every year, this is the reality for many in our community. As social workers, we see how a cancer diagnosis can impact not only the person diagnosed, but also their partner, family, loved ones and carers.
Every day, we discuss practical issues including Patient Assistance Transport Scheme (PATS) and Centrelink, provide information about services, and offer a safe and confidential space to talk about some of the emotions people may be experiencing.
By offering a holistic approach to support, we will walk beside you as you navigate your cancer journey. Our philosophy is that no one needs to go through cancer alone.
13 11 20: a gateway to information and support
Cancer Council 13 11 20 provides invaluable assistance to more than 5,000 people each year.
When you call 13 11 20, you will speak to an experienced cancer nurse who can listen to what you’re going through, provide answers to your questions, and refer you on to a range of services that can provide further assistance.
The support services offered reflect the changing needs of the South Australian community. Cancer Council SA continually launches new services, and improves existing services—based on both feedback from the community and the latest research insights.
This year, new programs such as Finding My Way and Rural Cancer Stories were launched, and existing programs like Healthy Living after Cancer were continued, to help survivors get back on track to a healthy lifestyle once treatment is finished.
Providing a home away from home
Every South Australian deserves access to the most appropriate treatment, regardless of their geographical location or financial situation. But for people living in rural areas, travelling to Adelaide for treatment can compound the challenges of an already difficult time.
To address these issues, Cancer Council SA operates two supportive accommodation Lodges—Greenhill and Flinders. Located in Adelaide, the Lodges are subsidised accommodation settings for people with cancer and their carers to stay during treatment. More than just a bed to sleep in, they provide a welcoming community where guests can share experiences, access social worker support, and access free transport to and from major treatment centres during core treatment times.
We are continually working to improve our lodge facilities at Flinders and Greenhill thanks to the generous donations from the South Australian community.
Financial, legal and practical support
Cancer diagnosis and treatment can be a costly experience. On top of treatment fees, a loss of income can make paying everyday bills like utilities and household expenses a struggle. The Financial Assistance Program offers one-off grants to individuals in these situations, and our Pro Bono Program offers access to legal help and financial planning services.
We also run a Practical Assistance Program, helping out around the house with tasks such as gardening or cleaning. We want to ensure that all people experiencing the impact of cancer have access to our support services whether you are the person with a diagnosis, or you want to be there for someone you know. We encourage anyone impacted by cancer to reach out to 13 11 20—you are not alone.
Joanna Lill and Michelle Ruchin
Cancer Council SA