Locals benefit from cancer support

Wednesday 9 April, 2008

Latest data released by The Cancer Council Victoria show that in 2007, 1910 calls to its Cancer Information and Support Service were from people living in Greater Geelong and 43 local residents utilised the Cancer Connect telephone peer support program.

Dr Amanda Hordern, Deputy Director of the Cancer Council’s Cancer Information and Support Service, is urging Greater Geelong residents to use their next coffee break to support neighbours undergoing a cancer experience by getting involved in Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea on 22 May.

"Operating a free telephone peer support service, such as Cancer Connect, is made possible by funds raised by our passionate supporters, as well as our dedicated team of Cancer Connect volunteers who generously give their time to be involved," Dr Horden said. "By asking friends and neighbours to join you for a cuppa, you can help ensure locals facing cancer have access to important support at the time when they need it most."

"Research shows that support from people who have experienced cancer themselves is incredibly beneficial to support recipients. Our Cancer Connect program operates on this model and links people affected by cancer with a specially trained volunteer who has been through a similar cancer experience," Dr Horden said.

Last year, over 900 Victorians were matched with Cancer Connect volunteers who provide both emotional and practical support. Most volunteers talk with each recipient on three to five occasions, and the most common topics discussed are about personal experiences and feelings.

"Our research indicates that people who use the service feel less anxious, sad and scared, and more reassured, supported and hopeful," Dr Horden said. "Cancer Connect can, and does, make huge improvements to the quality of life of people affected by cancer."

"With 66 Victorians diagnosed with cancer every day, there is a real need for our support services such as Cancer Connect. We hope to expand, particularly in the area of recruitment and training of volunteers, but with expansion comes increased costs."

"As always, we are depending on the funds raised by Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea to allow us to continue operating our cancer support services. I hope many Victorians get behind the campaign on May 22 and use their coffee breaks to make a difference to the cancer fight."

Anyone wishing to access the Cancer Council’s Cancer Information and Support Service should call our Helpline on 13 11 20.

For more information or to register for Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea call 1300 65 65 85 or visit www.biggestmorningtea.com.au