Living in the country

There are particular practical, emotional and financial challenges when navigating a metropolitan based treatment path and travelling long distances from home to access the right treatment. Cancer Council WA offers a number of support services that may be helpful to you. There may also be some government assistance with some of your practical and financial needs.

What assistance can I get with information and decision-making with my cancer treatment?

The Health Department WA provides Rural Cancer Nurse Coordinators to assist country patients and their families with treatment decisions and advice. It is recommended that you contact them soon after you have a diagnosis or even a suspected diagnosis as they can assist with communication and information.

The primary role of the Rural Cancer Nurse Coordinator is to improve the coordination of care between local and metropolitan services to ensure that patients have supported access to treatment options. They are the link in each region for the coordination of all services and are establishing strong links between all health professionals.

There is Rural Cancer Nurse Coordinator based in Perth who facilitates the transition of care for rural cancer patients with complex coordination needs. The Health Department WA website will provide you with further information on this service.

There are many decisions to make about the treatment and care offered to you. It often helps to find out more about your illness and what may happen to you. You might find the making decisions about your cancer treatment page helpful.

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What Cancer Council support is available in my region?

Cancer Council WA provide a range of supportive services in the rural communities across Western Australia. Our Cancer Support Coordinators are health professionals who have developed a good understanding of the cancer journey and have extensive knowledge of existing community services. They are based in regional centres and their key role is to assist you to access the support that you need following a cancer diagnosis. That may include appropriate information, emotional, social, or practical support. For the contact details of the Support Coordinator nearest to you go to Regional and Rural Services on the Contact us page. If you are living in either the Bunbury or Mandurah areas, we have Dot's Place, South West Support Centre and Dot's Place, Peel Support Centre that you can visit.

In addition, you can access information and support through  Cancer Council 13 11 20 for the cost of a local call from Mon – Fri 8am-6pm. Your questions can also be emailed to Cancer Council 13 11 20.

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What accommodation is available for country patients coming to the city for treatment?

Cancer Council provides quality subsidised accommodation for country cancer patients and their carers in Nedlands and Shenton Park.

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Is there assistance with travel and accommodation expenses?

Patients who live more than 100kms away from a metropolitan treatment centre are considered rural patients. For information on whether you may be eligible for assistance towards your travel and accommodation costs through the Patient Assisted Travel Scheme (PATS) see the patient factsheet (pdf, 237kb) or the Department of Health WA Country Health Service website. You can also call  Cancer Council 13 11 20 for a copy of the PATS information booklet.

People living within the town boundaries of Northam and York which are within the 100kms limit of Perth CBD may also be eligible for PATS assistance towards the cost of their travel and accommodation. To find out more you will need to speak to the social worker at your cancer treatment centre or call Cancer Council 13 11 20.

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Is there a support group I can join?

You may find a support group is of benefit to link you to other patients in your area. Groups often talk about their common issues, coping strategies and about the services available to you in your community. Cancer support groups generally meet regularly and are facilitated by a health professional or a person who has had a cancer experience and facilitation training.

Support groups meet in a range of ways. Some meet face to face, however there is a growing trend for people to meet via a telephone or as an online group.

For more information about groups available to you go to the Support Groups page.

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I’m a carer living in the country and it can sometimes be isolating. Is there any support for me?

Information may be helpful on our Caring for someone with cancer page.

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