Nurses provide support, information and dispel the myths

Tuesday 12 May, 2015

"I'm a single mother and have been diagnosed with cancer, how do I tell my kids?"

"Is it true that cannabis cures some cancers?"

"Where can I learn about the treatment for the cancer I have been diagnosed with?"

These are just a few of the thousands of inquiries put to the experienced oncology nurses who staff Cancer Council's information and support line 13 11 20.

Today is International Nurses Day and this service is a prime example of how nurses utilise their experience and expertise outside of hospital wards.

Cancer Council 13 11 20 nurses clarify medical terms, procedures and treatments, inform people about services available that may help or simply listen and talk with callers about their cancer experience.

Cancer Council Victoria's Nurse Manager Katherine Lane said because 13 11 20 nurses also work in hospital-based cancer services, they are able to combine their own wealth of clinical experience with a vast amount of information at their fingertips in order to address callers' needs.

"Our nurses understand the impact of cancer across the board and can assist callers whether they are someone with cancer, a family member, friend, work colleague or carer," Ms Lane said.

"There are also many enquiries from the public about the causes of cancer, how they can reduce their cancer risk or whether there is any basis to a story they have heard about how cancer can be cured.

"Our evidence-based approach addresses all of these queries and concerns."

Malinda-Ro Koehn said that the assistance provided by calling 13 11 20 during her experience with breast cancer provided a huge amount of relief during what was a very stressful time.

"I actually didn't know that the service existed, but once I rang, the nurses were just so helpful and re-assuring which was really important for me," Ms Koehn said.

"I would often go to the doctor and come home thinking about things I should have asked. I would then call Cancer Council who were able to clarify things.

"The nurses also helped me with the questions I should ask as well, because often I was in shock and it is a lot to take in when you're with the doctor or surgeon."

Cancer Council Victoria Support Services Director Nicola Quin said International Nurses Day was a great time to acknowledge the amazing work that nurses do outside of hospitals in supporting and assisting the community.

"Today, another 81 Victorians will be diagnosed with cancer and we are here to support them. Often people affected by cancer can feel upset, frightened and overwhelmed.

"Whether it is someone diagnosed with cancer, someone who has lost a loved one or someone simply requiring more information, our Cancer Council nurses are here to provide assistance."

For cancer information and support, please call our experienced nurses on 13 11 20, Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm.


Fact or Fiction?

These questions are typical of those asked via Cancer Council 13 11 20, and which are also addressed at Cancer Council's

Is it true that soft drinks can cause cancer?

I heard that deodorants or antiperspirants cause cancer

Does using a mobile phone increase my cancer risk?

If I dye my hair am I at greater risk of cancer?

Does SPF50+ sunscreen gives more protection than using SPF30+?

I was told that drinking water from plastic drink bottles can cause cancer