Thanks to improvements in treatment, more people are surviving cancer. For some, life returns to familiar routines while for others there are new challenges. These may include physical, emotional, financial and social concerns.
Specialist cancer recovery and rehabilitation services exist to offer care and support as you move into wellness. There are many exercise and education programs available to aid recovery.
For some people side effects may continue for some time. For others they may start a long time after treatment ends (late effects); these may require specialist care at a late effects clinic.
Learn more about life after treatment
Ask your treatment team
Most cancer treatment centres will have a rehabilitation service or can refer you to a local community service. Once active treatment ends it is worth asking your treatment team for a referral to a specialist cancer recovery or rehabilitation service.
Managing your health and wellbeing after cancer
Finding the right health care and support is important to your recovery and ongoing health and wellbeing. Support can be sought from the following health services:
- Your family doctor (GP)
- Your local health service may run programs and services including support groups and wellness programs
- Your local Integrated Cancer Service
- The treatment centre that provided your treatment
The health and wellbeing management of cancer survivors is a developing field of healthcare. New services and programs are being implemented across Victoria. Speak with your treatment team, GP or one of our experienced and understanding cancer nurses for information on what is available in your area. Call 13 11 20 or email email@example.com; to speak with a nurse in your own language call 13 14 50.
Questions to ask about this service
When looking at a service it is important to ask questions about how the service works before you decide to engage with them. Below is a list of questions you might like to ask when enquiring about a service.
Am I eligible?
Some services have specific criteria that a person must meet before they are able to use a service, for example location, means testing or a specific cancer type. It is important to know if you are eligible to access a service right from the start.
Do I need a referral?
Some services require a referral from your specialist, GP or a social worker. This helps to make sure that the right patients are being connected with the right services. It’s a good idea to ask if a referral is needed and if so, exactly what type of referral the service requires.
How much will this cost me?
Some services are free, and some come at a cost. At a time when people should be focused on their treatment and recovery, the cost of cancer can be a source of stress and worry for many. It’s a good idea to ask about the fees attached to a service and if there are any subsidies or benefits you might be eligible for before committing to the service. It’s important to know that you are within your rights to ask about the cost of a service or treatment before agreeing to take part. For more information you can visit cancer and your finances.
Is there a wait time?
Sometimes demand for a service is high which can cause wait times. You might find it helpful to ask if there are any wait times for the services you are looking at, especially if you require support as soon as possible.
What services do you offer?
Some organisations provide a range of services for people affected by cancer, their family, friends and carers. It is a good idea to ask about exactly what services are available to you.
Will I be treated as an inpatient or an outpatient?
Depending on the type of treatment or care you are receiving you may be seen as an inpatient or an outpatient. You are considered an inpatient if you have been admitted to the hospital for treatment. Alternatively, you are considered an outpatient when you receive treatment at a hospital, but without being admitted. It’s important to know if you are going to be treated as an inpatient or an outpatient as this can impact the cost of treatment, and will help you to understand the amount of time you might need to spend at the hospital.
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