There are a lot of breast cancer support services via the public health system, Cancer Society and a range of other targeted cancer support organisations:
Directory of Cancer Support Services
Sweet Louise: Positive Lives with Breast Cancer
Sweet Louise supports women with secondary breast cancer. They provide information, practical help and therapies to assist in living a positive life with breast cancer. For help and more information, please contact http://www.sweetlouise.co.nz/ or call their free phone 0800 112277.
The Cancer Society’s Support Services
The Cancer Society has many roles and one of them is to provide a range of support services for people with cancer and their family/caregivers. The Cancer Society offers a number of excellent, free support services which give you:
- Cancer Information
- Support from cancer specialists
- Peer support and networking with others affected by cancer
- Practical support during treatment and
- Post-treatment support services
1. Cancer Information
The Cancer Society has New Zealand’s largest sources of information about cancer and its effects. They have a range of cancer resources including:
- Booklets and information sheets on cancer types, treatments, living with cancer etc.
- A library with the latest cancer related books, magazines, tapes, videos, DVDs and CDs.
- A Cancer Information Directory and recommendations to credible internet sites.
- A quarterly Cancer Society magazine (CanTalk) with articles on recent research and support services.
- An online forum (called CancerChat NZ http://www.cancerchatnz.org.nz/) and Facebook page(https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Cancer-Society-of-New-Zealand/174949225876112)
- Specialist advice from cancer nurses on-site.
- Workshops and courses on cancer and wellbeing e.g. A course on practical ways of living well, building self-knowledge, self-confidence and self-help skills for anyone affected by cancer or survivorship (the Living well education programme).
Information and resources are available:
- In person. Visit your local Cancer Society office, talk to a cancer nurse or participate in a workshop.
- Phone the Cancer Information Helpline 0800 CANCER (226 237) and/or talk to a nurse.
- On the website. Download resources on the Cancer Society website http://www.cancernz.org.nz/, visit the online forum Cancer Chat NZ http://www.cancerchatnz.org.nz/ or check out their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Cancer-Society-of-New-Zealand/174949225876112.
- Email the Cancer Society at email@example.com or a specialist nurse on firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Support from Cancer Specialists
It is really helpful to talk to people specialised in working with those affected by cancer and really understand your situation. The Cancer Society provides the following cancer specialists for you to talk to:
- Cancer Nurses. The Cancer Society provide a telephone support help line on 0800 CANCER (226 237) staffed by experienced cancer nurses. Or visit in person or email a nurse on email@example.com
- Counselling. The Cancer Society provides cancer specialised counsellors, psychologists and therapists at no cost. Phone the Cancer Society for an appointment.
3. Peer Support and Networking with Others Affected by Cancer
It can be great to talk someone going through a similar cancer experience to you. The Cancer Society provides a number of ways to do this e.g. support groups, courses, workshops, by phone and an online forum:
a) Support groups (called Can Support) provide the opportunity to discuss (in small groups) experiences and concerns with others who have cancer. All groups are facilitated, meet monthly and invite guest speakers at times.
b) Courses, programmes and workshops. The Cancer Society provides a number of courses and workshops for those affected by cancer. These are great for education and also allow you to meet others experiencing the cancer journey.
c) Telephone support. The Cancer Society has a peer networking service (called Cancer Connect NZhttp://www.cancernz.org.nz/support-services/cancer-connect-nz/) where you are linked to a person who has had a similar cancer type to you and can assist you in your cancer journey. If you or someone you care for has been diagnosed with cancer, and you’d like to talk to someone who has been through a similar experience, contact the Cancer Society 0800 CANCER (226 237).
d) An online forum. The Cancer Society has an online support forum (called CancerChat NZ http://www.cancerchatnz.org.nz/ ) where you can talk to people with similar experiences, ask questions, and share information anonymously. CancerChatNZ offers a safe and supportive on-line forum connecting people through their experience of cancer. If you or someone you care about has been diagnosed with cancer, please visit the forum. All posted messages are viewed by Cancer Society moderators.
Please contact your nearest Cancer Society for information, check the website or read the latest edition of CanTalk.
4. Practical Support During Treatment
The Cancer Society provides some fantastic practical support services for those affected by cancer. These include:
- Transport to hospital appointments with volunteer drivers
- Free car parking while at hospital appointments
- A place to wait and unwind between appointments in the Cancer Society rooms
- Accommodation during treatment
- Financial assistance (short term)
- Advocacy and help with work, budget, travel and family issues
- Coping with cancer side effects: Help with makeup, hats and wigs through Look Good Feel Better
- Massage (fees on a sliding scale)
- Lymphedema assessment and management clinic ($15 per session)
- Silky pillows to help make you comfortable after breast and underarm surgery and
- Hospital orientation/familiarisation tours
The Cancer Society also offers excellent educational and support programmes depending on where you are in New Zealand. These include:
- A course on practical ways of living well, building self-knowledge, self-confidence and self-help skills for anyone affected by cancer or survivorship. This course is called the Living Well education programme and includes information on cancer, nutrition, relaxation, stress and communication.
- Art therapy and writing
- Workshops on nutrition, medications, complimentary therapies etc.
- Dealing with fatigue, stress management, sleep and relaxation courses
- Exercise programmes such as:
- The Lebed Method (a programme called Healthy Steps)
- Tai Chi Qi Qong
- Nordic walking
5. Post-treatment Support Services
The Cancer Society provides a range of support services for those who have completed cancer treatment (cancer rehabilitation):
- The CanNow – Moving Forward programme is an end of treatment programme to promote improved wellbeing. The programme offers one on one cancer specialist advice provided by a cancer specialist nurse following treatment for early breast cancer. You are able to discuss your concerns and regain direction and energy for life after cancer. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone the Cancer Society.
- Counselling is also available from the Cancer Society.
Additional client services are available in some divisions and centres. Please call or email. To find out more about any of the services available in your area, contact your local Cancer Society or call the Cancer Information Helpline 0800 CANCER.