Volunteer applicants are screened by police checks before registration as a volunteer. Upon admission, they become a volunteer staff member and receive regular supervision and peer support. CCSV is committed to ensure that all our volunteers receive comprehensive induction training and ongoing in-service training so that they are provided with the skills and knowledge to carry out their jobs. Volunteers also attend external training and grants may be offered to volunteers who are interested to pursue further study in higher education institutions.
Q1 What should I do if I think I have cancer?
A: The provision of cancer care requires a multidisciplinary approach which involves working as a team. If you think you have cancer, see your local medical officer (LMO)/general practitioner (GP) who will examine you and conduct some investigations. After reviewing the results with you, your LMO may refer you to a special clinic in a Public or a Private Hospital. The waiting period for an appointment to see the specialist may depend on the seriousness of your condition. Patients with private health insurance may be able to get an earlier appointment. Your GP will discuss which hospital you may need to attend.
Q2 If I have cancer, how serious will it be? How long can I expect to live?
A After examining you and conducting further tests, the specialist will discuss that with you.
Q3 If I need admission to a hospital what are the available options?
A There are 3 options:
1) Attend as a public patient ie in a public hospital where you
will be treated by doctors nominated by the hospital
cannot choose a specific doctor to provide his/her medical treatment and
will not be charged for medical or hospital expenses
You may not always see the same doctor at subsequent visits
2) Attend as a private patient (you need to have private health insurance) where you
will be treated by a doctor of your choice, provided the doctor(s) has the right to practise at the hospital
will be responsible for the payment of the hospital accommodation fees, as well as charges for all other medical fees.
3) Attend as Semi- private patient where you
Can nominate your own doctor BUT be treated in a public hospital in a public ward.
Footnote: Check with your Private Health Fund to see how much the Fund will pay for option 1 and 2. In any case you will have to pay some of the fees incurred
Q4 What treatments may I need for my condition?
A: You may need one or a combination or all of the following
Q5 How will I feel during and after my treatment?
A: You may feel some pain/numbness at the operation site
With chemo therapy and radiotherapy, the following are examples of what you may feel
-vomiting, hair loss, discomfort, tiredness, pain, loss of appetite
Q6 How long will my treatment last?
A: It would depend on your condition. Discuss with your treating specialist
Q7 Whom should I contact if side effects occur and who can I speak to alleviate concerns regarding my treatment?
A: Before your discharge from the hospital, you would have been given the name of a contact person and telephone number.
Get in touch with the contact person at the hospital. Counselling with a psychologist may be recommended and the hospital may also direct you to a local support group.
You can ring the Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20. Monday to Friday 8.30am to 6pm
Confidential cancer information and support from an experienced nurse in a language other than English is also available from the Cancer Council Multilingual Helpline where you can listen to cancer information recorded in your language. You can also be connected to a cancer nurse, assisted by an interpreter.
03 9209 0161 Cantonese
03 9209 0164 Mandarin
Call Monday to Friday 8.30am to 6pm (cost of a local call)
Q9 Will I need follow up care after my initial treatment/surgery?
A: Yes. Before discharge you would be given a follow up appointment, either at the hospital clinic or at home by a visiting nurse. .It is important to attend all appointments and have tests done as outlined by your doctor for reasons listed in Q/A 10
Q10 How do I know my treatment has worked?
A: Unfortunately there are no tests to determine whether there are any cancer cells left in your body on completion of treatment.
Even the best scans available do not detect small numbers of cancer cells. Your doctor will recommend regular check ups, so that if your cancer should come back, it would be attended to as early as possible. So it is important to attend all appointments and have tests done as outlined by your doctor. .Discuss with you doctor as every individual is different.
It is very important to finish your recommended treatment and to have a positive attitude and a healthy lifestyle as well as a healthy diet.
There are many and varied myths about what you should or should not eat during and after your treatment.
It is vital to eat a healthy, nutritious diet with reduced fat intake and to try to keep your weight in the healthy range. You can be referred to a dietician if if you have any dietary concerns or a reduced appetite.
Q11 What if I decide to seek alternative and/or complementary treatment?
A: Before you take any alternative therapy that is NOT part of the treatment ordered by your doctor, consult and discuss with your doctor
Q12 How can I lessen any emotional or mental stress?
A: It is quite common to feel emotionally low during and after your treatment. This will improve with time. Some people may feel counselling helpful to deal with the many emotions that follow a cancer diagnosis. It is important to discuss your feelings with your doctors as well as those close to you. In some cases doctors may consider anti depressant treatment if appropriate.
Q13 Can I talk to someone who has been in my situation and who has had similar treatment to mine?
A: Yes. Contact Cancer Connect through the Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20; They can put you in touch with Support Groups.
The Chinese Cancer Society of Victoria (CCSV) on 03 9898 9575, also runs Cancer Support Groups in English, Mandarin and Cantonese
Financial and social information
Q14 Can I get financial help?
A: Talk to the social worker at the hospital
If you are working and have an Income Protection Policy- contact your insurance company
If in the workforce, with superannuation, contact your super board; you may have “disability cover”
Contact Centrelink if you have financial difficulties.
Q15 Will I still be able to work?
A: That will depend on your condition and the recommendation from your doctor
Q16 How long do I need to take time off work?
A: Depending on how you feel in yourself-physically, mentally and emotionally. Discuss with your doctor then speak to the Human Resources of your workplace regarding sick leave and any other relevant leave that you may be entitled to.
Q17 With my condition, what facilities can I access to promote my general wellbeing and to help myself recover after treatment?
A: Many physical changes occur following your diagnosis and treatment of your cancer, whether you had surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or a combination of the above. It is important to exercise once you are able to-gently at first, then gradually increasing the intensity over time-because physical fitness is important for recovery.
You may want to enlist a professional to devise an exercise plan that is right for you or join an exercise program eg gym, tai chi, yoga, Pilates etc.
See your LMO to discuss the Health Care Plan for complimentary therapy such as physiotherapy, dental care, dietary advice.
Please go to our website links for additional information. Eg. Cancer Council Victoria
People at your hospital who can help
* Oncology nurse- information regarding treatment management and its side effects
* Pharmacist- information about chemotherapy treatment and management of its side effects
* Psychologist- assists in dealing with anxiety and family issues
* Occupational therapist- home equipment
* Social worker- issues regarding work, finance and Social security (Centrelink)
* Dietician- advice on healthy diet, sore mouth, from treatment, vomiting, poor appetite
* Spiritual/religious care- psychological, religious and community support
* Physiotherapist- teaches exercises for reduced movement and any stiffness after treatment
* Remember your local doctors (GPs)