Identify your support network

Being diagnosed with breast cancer may produce a variety of responses. Shock, denial, fear, sadness and anger are all common. In time these feelings can ease,
however when going through these stages of emotional responses, a support network can assist in addressing and dealing with the psychosocial issues that impact on
you when receiving a breast cancer diagnosis. Although you can’t always get rid of these issues, there are ways to manage them and you’re likely to feel more in control
if you address some of your concerns.

Understanding the breadth of resources available

There are a wide range of resources and types of support available that can support people in coping with these issues. They key is to identify the available resources, tap into them, find who and what works and ask for advice/assistance: 

Let them make a difference!

Support services in your community

  • Breast Care Nurse
  • Family and friends
  • Peer Support
  • Counsellors
  • Pamper Days
  • Faith/religion/belief system or Chaplaincy
  • Support Groups – local and online
  • 24 hour telephone support – Crisis care and Lifeline
  • GP and primary health care team
  • Radiation, Oncology and Surgical team, Oncology Nurses
  • Pharmacist (local or in the hospital)
  • Physiotherapist
  • After school clubs & children’s parents at school
  • Schools: teachers, principal and school nurse
  • Exercise programs - Encore &
  • Cancer Council:life Now Exercise Programs
  • Dietician
  • Social Worker
  • SolarisCare: Complementary therapies
  • Identify local shire supports through websites/library
  • Hospital transport/ Volunteer transport
  • Financial assistance program
  • Legal Aid

Tips on how to maximise your support network

Expressive Writing or Journaling
  • Get it ‘Down and Out’ by reflecting and putting your thoughts on paper. Use a diary to write your treatment experiences concerns and questions so you can ask appropriate people in your network.
Experiential Support
  • This is a relationship with someone who has gone through a similar illness and can give support, firsthand information, insight and hope. This can make you feel less isolated. Peer support programs are based on the notion that shared experience is a valuable resource that assists individuals to adjust to and cope effectively with stressful events.
Practical Support
  • Gaining practical help can make a huge difference. Meal prep by friends, transport to appointments or assistance with child care, can improve feeling of control of treatment and reduce anxiety.
Appointment Support
  • Have someone with you at appointments to hear what you might miss. Allow family, friends or health professionals to be with you to advocate for you, seek out information, ask key questions and help formulate the questions together.
Medical Team
  • At the outset of treatment and onwards, utilise the medical and psychosocial team in your hospital and local community. Find a GP you have a rapport with and keep him/her in the loop. Your GP may have knowledge of your family, medical and social history and awareness of local community facilities that can help.
Telephone Support
  • If you are socially or geographically isolated telephone support can help. Breast Cancer Care WA has nurses and counsellors who can talk through the issues you are facing.
Emotional Support
  • The feeling of someone ‘being there” for you, makes us feel more secure and understood, valued and loved. Find those people who do this for you. This might be a new friend too.
Be Informed
  • It is important to get the right information about your type of cancer and how it is best treated. People who are well informed about their illness and treatment are more able to make decisions and cope with what happens.
Organisations such as Breast Cancer Care WA can assist in strengthening your resources by giving emotional, practical and financial support and assist in promoting hope and optimism.
For any further information, please contact us on 9324 3703 via email info@breastcancer.org.au or visit our website.