Generous grant offers regional cancer patients additional support

Posted 16 Dec 2020.

Cancer Counselling service

Cancer patients in Regional Western Australia now have additional access to counselling services following a generous grant of $10,000 from HBF.

Our Cancer Information and Support Services Director Melanie Marsh said the funds from HBF would enable us to support approximately 30 additional regional West Australians living with cancer with critical psychosocial support to improve their mental health and wellbeing.

"We are so grateful to HBF for this grant," Ms Marsh said.

"A cancer diagnosis can mark the beginning of a journey full of emotional, psychological, physical and practical challenges and the inclusion of psychological support is becoming increasingly apparent.

"Counselling can help patients to explore how to cope with emotions such as fear and anxiety; and challenges such as communication issues, isolation and adjusting to changes in family dynamics.

"Evidence indicates that emotional distress should be a core indicator of health and wellbeing and that without appropriate psychosocial support, patients are less likely to adhere to their treatment, resulting in worse cancer outcomes."

Ms Marsh said regional Australians are up to 30 per cent more likely to die within five years of a cancer diagnosis than people from metropolitan areas.

"The unfortunate fact is that people living in regional Australia have worse cancer outcomes so any additional support for the Cancer Counselling Program in the regions is invaluable," she said.

"The Program connects cancer patients, their families and carers with our established network of 33 counsellors across WA either face-to-face via Telehealth or via telephone."

HBF Community Engagement Consultant Kristi Annear said she was pleased the $10,000 grant could be redirected from its initial purpose of a cancer research project given the impact of COVID-19.

"We awarded Cancer Council WA a $10,000 HBF Community Grant last year," she said.

"However, when it became obvious that COVID-19 was significantly affecting movement around the State, doctor visits and the mental health of our regional community, we determined the funds were better suited to allow regional patients the ability to receive their counselling locally via the Cancer Counselling Program," she said.

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