13 11 20: Support is just a phone call away

From dealing with a cancer diagnosis and treatment to supporting a loved one through their experience, Cancer Council’s information and support phone service helps anyone impacted by cancer. Skilled health professionals and cancer nurses provide vital practical and emotional support that’s often not readily available to the wider community.

Invaluable one-on-one emotional and practical support

At the core of Cancer Council’s vital support services is its 13 11 20 information and support line, which connects those affected by cancer with an experienced cancer nurse or health professional. Anyone can use the service – not just people who have been diagnosed with cancer – from a member of the general public with a concern about cancer risk, someone who has recently been diagnosed, to family members, colleagues and health professionals.

Our 13 11 20 service runs thanks to the generous support of our donors and aims to provide crucial support that may not exist in hospitals or be available to the wider community.

Cancer Council plays a really important role. It’s about providing that support that might not exist at the hospital, to make sure they have the time to ask all their questions to make informed decisions...part of our role is really just to listen.

Katherine
13 11 20 Cancer Nurse, Cancer Council Victoria

As well as providing direct support, our 13 11 20 nurses can link callers to Cancer Council’s wider network of services around the country. Last year, over 37,000 callers, including those with cancer, as well as carers, loved ones and health professionals received support and information from our 13 11 20 service.

Experienced cancer nurses and health professionals standing by

Katherine is one of the friendly voices at the other end of our support and information line. With over a decade of experience as an oncology nurse and eight years working with Cancer Council Victoria, Katherine is well-equipped to help – whatever the situation. For Katherine, working as a 13 11 20 nurse presented a new opportunity to use her nursing skills:

I’m what we might call an all-rounder, there’s not one type of cancer or one area of cancer nursing that I specialise in, it’s really something that you need to know a little bit about everything and I think that’s where some of the skills are in this job.

Katherine
13 11 20 Cancer Nurse, Cancer Council Victoria

All of our staff are trained to provide tailored emotional and practical support, as well as information about our wider range of support programs. Although we can't give individual medical advice, we can talk about the effects of specific types of cancer and explain what will happen during and after treatment.

If I had to pick an average call that we get via 13 11 20, generally it will be from patients who are at some point in their cancer experience and are needing some kind of information about where they’re currently at. So it might be following up with a patient who’s just been diagnosed or someone who’s coming to the end of their treatment.

Katherine
13 11 20 Cancer Nurse, Cancer Council Victoria

Thanks to donations from people like you, CancerCouncil can operate its invaluable 13 11 20 information and support line, so that people like Katherine can continue to help anyone affected by cancer when they need it most.

Availability of our services varies around the country. To find out about support services for people affected by cancer in your local area, get in touch with your local Cancer Council or call 13 11 20.

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