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Psychosocial and supportive care

A diagnosis of breast cancer and its subsequent treatment causes changes in the life of the woman and how she thinks and feels about things. Changes and their effects will not be the same for all women. In addition, women and their families require information to assist them in making decisions about their treatment and in understanding their disease. There are a number of specially trained health professionals who can provide information and support to women and their families; whilst in hospital and after discharge. This may include:

  • a specialist breast nurse or breast care nurse, who specialises in caring for women with breast diseases
  • an oncology nurse, who specialises in caring for people with cancer

Additionally a number of psychology/counselling services may be provided through referral both whilst in hospital and after discharge.

  • a trained counsellor, psychologist who specialises in providing support, counselling and/or in managing anxiety and depression
  • a social worker, who specialises in providing support and information about practical assistance such as financial assistance, child care, and help in the home

Woman may also find it reassuring to know that other women may share some of the same feelings and experiences they are. There are many support groups

  • other women who have had breast cancer, such as the Breast Cancer Support Service or local support groups

Some women may need to access specialist psychiatric treatment to assist them in coping with their diagnosis of breast cancer.

It is important to be aware that depression and anxiety are common in people with cancer and many women may benefit from accessing specialist psychiatric services in addition to the supportive and information care already provided.

Information on whether or not a hospital provides access to specialist psychiatric care onsite or through referral is provided in the Directory.

Click here for more information on supportive care and the Psychosocial clinical practice guidelines.