It is predicted that in 2023 over 53,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer in NSW alone, yet a new study by us shows that a significant number of these people are not getting the vital information and support they need.
The study found that just 30% of those who had been diagnosed, or knew someone diagnosed with cancer, were told about the free information and support services available to them, their families and carers.
This data comes as Cancer Council NSW launch their ‘Here for Life’ campaign, designed to raise awareness of their 13 11 20 Information and Support line that is available to anyone affected by cancer before, during and after treatment.
There is always help available
Manager of Cancer Council NSW’s Direct Cancer Support, Kashka Bochynska, says she wants people affected by cancer to know there is always help available. “We receive around 730 calls and emails to 13 11 20 a month, but we know there are many more people in our community who have been impacted by cancer and might need us.
“Our 13 11 20 Information and Support line is delivered by healthcare professionals who are experienced in providing emotional support and evidence-based information to anyone who contacts us.”
Whilst 65% of people who participated in the research had either been affected by cancer or knew someone who was, only 30% of those surveyed knew help was just a call or email away. 13 11 20 Information and Support is the first port of call for all Cancer Council services.
13 11 20 is the gateway to our services
Our 13 11 20 healthcare professionals can connect people with many services including:
· Emotional and practical support such as counselling or transport to treatment.
· Information about prevention, risk factors, screening, early detection and diagnosis.
· General information about cancer treatment, side effects management, including relevant publications.
· Information about palliative care and survivorship.
“These services are not only available to those who are diagnosed with cancer but also their carers, families and anyone with any questions about cancer,” Ms Bochynska explains. 13 11 20 is the gateway to many Cancer Council services, including practical support.
“All the fears I had were no longer present”
When a trip to the dentist led to Terry Malone being diagnosed with bone cancer in his jaw, he was overwhelmed and unsure how he was going to get to a hospital for surgery over seven hours away by car. “There were forms to be filled out. How was I going to get to Newcastle?” were just some of the questions in Mr Malone’s mind. Then someone gave him a phone number for Cancer Council NSW.
“After some procrastination, having no knowledge of what they could do to help me, I made the call.”
Mr Malone was put at ease knowing that he had someone to help with all of the pressure that was put on him, “As time progressed, everything started to fall into place and I felt like all the fears I had were no longer present.” He explains.
Through Cancer Council NSW’s Transport to Treatment service, a volunteer driver took Mr Malone to hospital in Newcastle and back to his hotel for the duration of his treatment.
“The Cancer Council team took an incredible amount of pressure off me and left me with the responsibility of being a good patient and recovering as quickly as possible.”
“Cancer can be a lonely journey; when anyone needs to talk about cancer we want them to know 13 11 20 is here for them.” Ms Bochynska concludes.