Demand for cancer support reaches record high

Monday 5 May, 2014

With cancer diagnoses at an all-time high, the demand for cancer support and information in Victoria increased by almost 13 per cent in the past two years, according to Cancer Council Victoria Helpline figures.

Victorians connected with the Helpline service a record 23,100 times last year, up from 21,700 in 2012 and 20,500 in 2011.

Cancer Council Victoria CEO Todd Harper said the need for cancer support had never been greater.

"As our population is growing and ageing, the number of people diagnosed with cancer also increases. Thankfully, survival continues to improve due to early detection and improved treatments but that also increases the demand for high-quality cancer support and information.

"In order to provide such free support, we do rely on the generosity of Victorians through events like Australia's Biggest Morning Tea, coming up in May. Cancer Council Victoria aims to provide the 156,000 Victorians who are living with cancer, as well as their loved ones, with reliable information and practical support," Mr Harper said.

Katherine Lane, Helpline Manager for Cancer Council Victoria, said calls to the Helpline could cover everything from talking about cancer prevention to dealing with a new diagnosis.

"Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be a scary and overwhelming experience. Our Helpline nurses can provide strategies to help you cope, referrals to specialised services such as support groups and face to face counselling, or to just be there when you need to talk," Ms Lane added.

Ms Lane said the top three reasons for calling the Helpline last year were:

  1. Advice on early detection or symptoms
  2. Questions on practical issues
  3. Psychological or emotional support

The Helpline service, offered over phone, via email and in person, is staffed by 5-6 nurses per shift.

Paul, a prostate cancer survivor, found the Helpline rewarding after he took that first step and made a phone call.

"At first, I was hesitant to call but the nurse was so friendly and the help she gave me was invaluable. I wish I had called earlier," he said.

To host an Australia's Biggest Morning Tea event and fundraise for cancer support services simply register, set a date and invite your friends to morning tea. In return, guests make a donation. 

While the official date for Australia's Biggest Morning Tea is Thursday 22 May, hosts can hold an event anytime during May or June.

Join Australia's Biggest Morning Tea and help beat cancer. To register, visit www.biggestmorningtea.com.au or call 1300 65 65 85.

For more information on the Cancer Council Helpline call 13 11 20.