What is a cancer support group?

A cancer support group is one where its members share their feelings and experiences with others affected by cancer. Groups can be face to face, on-line or telephone.

Who runs a support group?

Many support groups are facilitated by someone affected by cancer, these are referred to as ‘peer support groups.’ A facilitator is responsible for leading or coordinating the group. Some support groups involve someone with a professional background who can add particular skills and information to the valuable experience of someone affected by cancer. They might be the facilitator or co-facilitator, or be a guest speaker.

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What do support groups offer?

Support groups offer a confidential, supportive place to share experience, learn from and connect with, others affected by cancer.  Some groups have a special focus like breast cancer or for couples or for people who care about someone with a cancer diagnosis. Support groups offer practical and emotional support. Many support groups offer guest speakers on topics of interest, social outings and companionship.

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Why should I consider joining a cancer support group?

Joining a cancer support group can be a helpful option if, for example, you feel alone and unable to talk to those close to you.  If you are experiencing side effects from treatment, want information about latest treatment, tips about talking to health professionals, or to express frustrations, fears and anxieties. You may also want to share your own tips for the benefit of others.

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How do I become a member?

Most groups operate on an ‘open membership’ policy, so people come and go as they choose. Groups are usually open to anyone affected by cancer, but not all groups are equipped or choose to discuss all aspects of managing cancer for example contemplating death and dying. There are groups that do and it is important to discuss your needs with the local Cancer Support Coordinator so that your particular needs can be considered and where possible, met appropriately. Call Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20 for your nearest coordinator.  If a particular support group will not meet your needs, there may be alternative options put forward for you to consider.

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What kind of topics do groups discuss?

  • Coping with a cancer diagnosis and treatment
  • Living with cancer and changes to every day life
  • Tips and information from those who’ve been through the same thing
  • Nutrition, exercise, complementary therapies and other strategies to sustain someone on their cancer journey
  • Some groups have a special focus and/or discuss issues about facing death and bereavement.

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Are all groups face to face?

If you are someone who finds it difficult to leave the house, to share intimate feelings face to face, or are simply very unwell and need to conserve your energy but would value contact with others, there are alternative forms of support that could be helpful.

  • Cancer Council Western Australia offers one to one counselling by phone and access to the expertise of people who staff the Helpline.
  • Cancer Connections is an online peer support program that links people with cancer, their carers and families.  It provides a moderated discussion board, the ability to create your own profile, and to find others who share a similar cancer journey to yours. It also runs some interesting forums for different groups of cancer patients on topics that may interest you.  If you need some help to access this program please call the Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20.
  • The Cancer Council offer a range of Internet support groups (ISGs), to allow people in specific situations to connect with each other in a private space. These groups are professionally facilitated. If you need some help to access these support groups please call the Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20.
  • Telephone support groups enable you to participate in a support group over the phone rather than face-to-face.  Some telephone support groups are available to people with a cancer diagnosis and those who care about them. They are facilitated by appropriately qualified professionals. Arrangements can be made through Cancer Council Helpline to link you to a suitable group so there is no charge.  For assistance please call the Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20.

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Is there a support group in my area?

Metropolitan - North

Metropolitan - South

Goldfields (Kalgoorlie, Esperance)

Great Southern (Albany)

Hills

Mid-West (Geraldton)

Peel

Pilbara

South West

Wheatbelt

Metropolitan - North

  • Shenton Park Head and Neck Cancer Support Group (CCWA)
    Call Cancer Council WA Helpline Ph: 13 11 20
  • East Perth - "Our Community, Our Cancer" Aboriginal Cancer Support Group
    Margarette or Dulcie Ph: (08) 9421 3888
  • Leederville Breast Cancer Care WA Young Women's Cancer Support Group
    Cathie Ph: (08) 9324 3703                                                                                .                        
  • Nedland Brain Tumour Support Group                                                                                   Louise Ph: 0413 044 275
  • Nedlands James Crofts Hope Foundation Brain Tumour Cancer Support Group
    John Ph: 0428 247 319
  • Nedlands Melanoma WA Cancer Support Group
    Julie or Clinton Ph: 0408 534 359
  • Perth Ovarian Cancer Support Group
    Lea Ph: 0413 602 478
  • Perth PYNKS Advanced Breast Cancer Support Group
    Marina Ph: (08) 9321 2354
  • Perth PYNKS Early Breast Cancer Support Group
    Marina Ph: (08) 9321 2354
  • Shenton Park Laryngectomy Cancer Support Group
    Deborah Ph: 9382 9328
  • Subiaco Kids Cancer Support
    Sue Ph: 0431 740 804
  • West Perth Melanoma WA Cancer Support Group
    Clinton Ph: 0408 534 359
  • Yanchep Two Rocks Cancer Support Group
    Meets monthly
    Jayne Ph: (08) 9561 1937

Metropolitan - South

  • Gosnells Amaroo Village Cancer Support Group
    Jane Ph: (08) 9490 3899

Goldfields

  • Kalgoorlie Women's Cancer Support Group
    3rd Friday of month
    Gloria Ph: 0407 711 445
  • Esperance Home Care - Carers' Support Group
    This group is not cancer specific however offers information, advocacy on available services and resources to help and support carers
    Ph: (08) 9083 1800

Great Southern

  • Albany Cancer Support Group (CCWA)
    1st Tuesday of month
    Anita Ph: (08) 9845 8748

Hills

  • Midland Cancer Support Group (CCWA)
    2nd Thursday of month
    Melanie Ph: (08) 9274 4748

Mid West

  • Geraldton Cancer Support Group (CCWA)
    2nd Tuesday of month
    Allison or April Ph: (08) 9956 2408
  • Geraldton Indigenous Women Breast Cancer Support Group
    Glenis Ph: (08) 9965 2945 or 0400 185 378

Peel

  • Rockingham Cancer Support Group (CCWA)
    2nd Monday of month
    Gail (Monday-Wednesday) Ph: (08) 9581 4059 or Di (Thursday-Friday) Ph: 0447 650 510

Pilbara

  • Currently none available in this area.

South West

  • Bunbury Cancer Support Group (CCWA)
    3rd Wednesday of month
    Hayley Ph: (08) 9721 9555 or (08) 9721 4655
  • Busselton Cancer Support Group (CCWA)
    4th Tuesday of month
    Yvonne Ph: 0427 990 134
  • Bunbury Melanoma WA Cancer Support Group
    Clinton Ph: (08) 9322 1908 or 0408 534 359

Wheatbelt

  • Chittering Cancer Support Group
    Marilyn Ph: (08) 9576 0090 or Vera Ph: (08) 9576 1083

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Are there groups with members who have the same type of cancer as I have?

  • Brain Tumour Association Western Australia
    Contact Louise Young Ph: 0413 044 275
  • Breast Cancer Care WA groups meet on a monthly basis, giving the opportunity for people to attend more than one group, if they feel the monthly contact is not enough.
  • Camp Quality
    For children and families affected by cancer
  • CanTeen - The Australian Organisation for Young People Living with Cancer. National support organisation for young people (aged 0-24) living with cancer. Proposed merger with Camp Quality.
  • GAIN - Gynaecological Awareness Information Network
  • Head & Neck Cancers (CCWA) Shenton Park
    2nd Monday of month (should the 2nd Monday fall on a public holidays, the groups meets the following Monday)
    Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20
  • Kids Cancer Support Group provide practical support to families in WA confronted with the challenge of children's cancer at the Princess Margaret Hospital.
  • Leukaemia Foundation patient support group is for people who have been diagnosed with a blood cancer or related blood disorder, their carers and partners.
  • Melanoma WA provides a support group for melanoma patients and their families to come together and network. Contact: Julie or Clinton on 9322 1908 or Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20.
  • Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia a statewide network of support groups for men and women who are affected by prostate cancer. Groups meet locally giving support during and after treatment.
  • Ovarian Cancer Australia support group offering a sense of belonging, a chance to share stories, gain more information, and assist in coping with diagnosis and treatment.
    Patient Programs Officer 1300 660 334 or Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20

Are there any groups that deal specifically with grief, loss and bereavement?

  • Life After Loss
    Telephone Cancer Support Group
    Contact Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20

  • Mandurah Bereavement Support Group (Solace)
    Currently in recess

For more information about any of the support groups please contact the Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20.

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and comprehensiveness of the information listed above. However, if you know of any services that have not been listed, or if the listing is no longer accurate, please call the Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20.

Inclusion of a service does not imply its endorsement by the Cancer Council.

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