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, online or via 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 can 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, 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.

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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, are after 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?

Groups can operate on an ‘open membership’ policy, so people come and go as they choose. Groups might be open to anyone affected by cancer or they might be more specific. 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 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 everyday 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 peer support by phone and access to the expertise of cancer nurses who staff Cancer Council 13 11 20.
  • Cancer Council Online Community is an online 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 Cancer Council 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. To access this service, please call Cancer Council 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)


Mid-West (Geraldton)



South West


Metropolitan - North


East Perth

  • "Our Community, Our Cancer" Aboriginal Cancer Support Group - Margarette: (08) 9421 3888





  • James Crofts Hope Foundation Brain Tumour Cancer Support Group - John: 0428 247 319
  • Lymphoedema Cancer Support Group - Jenny: 0488 798 696

Osborne Park


Shenton Park

  • Laryngectomy Cancer Support Group - 13 11 20 or Melanie: (08) 6457 2044  


  • Kids Cancer Support - Richard: 0435 741 833


Metropolitan - South



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


Port Kennedy

Southern River



  • Women's Cancer Support Group - Gloria: (08) 9021 8266 

Great Southern





Mid West

  • Currently not available




South Hedland

  • Women's Cancer Support Group - Jill: (08) 9140 1124 

South West



  • Currently not available

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

  • Brain Tumour Alliance Australia
    Support phone line: 1900 857 221
  • 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
  • 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, network and learn about support services and treatments. Contact: Donna on 9322 1908 or Cancer Council 13 11 20.
  • Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia a state-wide 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 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 13 11 20

Setting up and managing a cancer support group

Interested in setting up a cancer support group or want help with the ongoing delivery of a current group? We have compiled a list of useful resources and information on setting up and managing a cancer support group.


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

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

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