Across Australia The Cancer Council offers a broad and far-reaching range of support services, aimed at helping all people affected by cancer. While these services and resources are not specifically tailored to people experiencing mental illness, they may be of help.
For example, some feedback about the benefits of receiving Cancer Connect peer support (through their professionally moderated and managed peer support programs) indicates their experience was reassuring, they were better informed, more able to cope and felt less isolated.
Cancer Information Support Services Director at The Cancer Council Western Australia, Melanie Marsh, says, “Psychiatric patients are more likely to have metastases at diagnosis and less likely to receive specialised interventions. This may explain their poorer outcomes and highlights the need for improved cancer screening and detection. Possible explanations might be delayed diagnosis or lack of access to screening, leading to more advanced staging at diagnosis, and reduced access to or use of appropriate treatments after diagnosis. We are cognisant of these issues for people suffering a mental illness, and advocacy is a strong position we take at the Cancer Council.
Accessing psychosocial and a range of other resources generally starts by a call to the Cancer Helpline (13 11 20) or by visiting cancer support services information.
Watch a short video (“Why we need to improve the mental health care of cancer patients“) to see eminent breast cancer surgeon, Professor Christobel Saunders, explain why mental health care is vital to supporting people affected by cancer.