Living with a cancer diagnosis, or supporting someone along the way, is rarely easy. Understandably, you may find yourself feeling stressed, overwhelmed or just not like your usual self. Sometimes talking things through with your loved ones isn’t enough.
Cancer Council Queensland’s Cancer Counselling Service offers an opportunity to talk with nurse counsellors and psychologists who can help you with cancer-related challenges.
To discuss a referral or your support options call Cancer Council 13 11 20.
Support during COVID-19
Cancer Council Queensland values the safety of our employees, volunteers, and especially those living with cancer. We are focused on doing what we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Queensland.
Our Cancer Counselling Service is continuing to provide telephone counselling to people affected by cancer, their family and friends.
Clients can self-refer by calling 13 11 20 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Health professionals can make a referral on their clients behalf, with the clients consent, by completing the Request for Cancer Support online form.
We have resources you may find helpful during this time
Coping Strategies for dealing with uncertainty
List of activities for distraction
Additional supportive resources can be found at the bottom of the page.
On this page you will find information on:
What is the Cancer Counselling Service?
The Cancer Counselling Service is Queensland’s leading cancer specific counselling service. This service is staffed by nurse counsellors and registered psychologists, all with training and experience in helping people affected by cancer.
Counselling can assist you at any stage of your journey, from diagnosis through to living with or having survived cancer. You can also benefit from this support if you are grieving.
What services are available?
Because we realise people’s support needs vary, we provide counselling within a stepped model of care. This means, where possible, we start with guided self-help delivered by our nurse counsellors.
Our service is provided via Telephone and Video conferencing, with face-to-face appointments available in some locations.
Nurse counsellor service
Our nurse counsellors provide guided self-help, in the form of a single telephone session and a follow up contact. They offer guidance and tips on coping with the effects of cancer or adjusting to life with or after cancer. They also provide support with making decisions related to treatment and addressing treatment concerns.
Where guided self-help does not address your concerns, we will link you in to our psychology service.
Those experiencing high levels of distress will bypass guided self-help and be linked into our psychology service. Our psychologists provide more intensive support in the form of therapy which involves a number of one-on-one counselling sessions.
Group programs and Workshops
Group programs are conducted over the telephone as well as face-to-face in Brisbane and selected regional offices. These programs will enable you to learn new skills in assisting you to cope with cancer and its related challenges. Our workshops, focusing on specific coping skills, such as relaxation and mindfulness, are usually delivered face-to-face in locations around the state.
What support does the Cancer Counselling Service provide?
We can assist with a range of cancer concerns including:
- Adjusting to life with cancer
- Stress and difficulty coping
- Sleep difficulties
- Family or relationship problems
- Treatment side-effects
- Sexual problems
- Uncertainty about the future
- Fear of recurrence
- Therapy related to end of life
- Bereavement support
Are there fees for the service?
Cancer Council Queensland is supported by the generosity of the community to provide our services at no cost to our clients.
We ask clients referred to our psychology service to consider getting a referral from their GP with a Mental Health Care Plan. A Mental Health Care Plan allows us to communicate directly with your GP about your care. It also supports costs associated with providing the service.
Sessions with a Mental Health Care Plan will be bulk billed to Medicare so you will not have any out of pocket expenses.
Who can access the Cancer Counselling Service?
The Cancer Counselling Service is available to anyone who is distressed by cancer, including family and friends. We offer individual and couple counselling, as well as the opportunity to participate in our group programs.
How do I request a referral?
Call Cancer Council 13 11 20 to speak to one of the team who can refer you to the Cancer Counselling Service. You can call Cancer Council 13 11 20 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).
How do I make an appointment?
Upon receiving your referral, our Cancer Counselling Team will contact you within two business days to make an appointment.
Appointments are available Monday to Friday during business hours, with limited after-hours appointments available by arrangement.
Please note – we are currently experiencing an increased wait time for initial psychology appointments of up to 8 weeks
Some resources you may find helpful are:
Understanding your reactions
Emotions and Cancer
Talking to Kids about Cancer
A Guide to Relaxation
Learning to Relax