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  • Aids and Equipment
  • Allied Health
  • ATSI
  • Body Image
  • Complementary Therapies
  • Emotional Wellbeing
  • Financial / Legal
  • Home Support
  • Information and Education
  • Medical
  • Multicultural Services
  • Nursing / Nurse
  • Personal Support
  • Relaxation and Exercise
  • Transport and Accommodation

Supportive care services – what’s available in Melbourne’s north and east?

This website includes a wide range of services and support options available for people affected by cancer, under the following 14 categories:

Aids and Equipment

Includes practical items to buy or hire that help people manage from day to day, such as:

  • oxygen equipment, incontinence products, lymphoedema garments
  • aids to help with mobility (eg wheelchairs, walking frames)
  • specialised services such as telephone equipment for people with hearing problems

Allied Health

Allied health professionals assess the physical mental and emotional needs of people receiving cancer treatment. Depending on their area of expertise, they offer advice, physical or emotional therapy or support.

Allied health professionals are often employed by hospitals, rehabilitation centres, community health services or they may have their own private practice.

They include:

  • Art therapists
  • Chiropractors
  • Diabetes educators
  • Lymphoedema therapists
  • Music therapists
  • Dietitians
  • Occupational therapists
  • Osteopaths
  • Physiotherapists
  • Psychologists
  • Social workers
  • Speech pathologists

Body image

Changes in personal appearance following surgery or cancer treatment can affect people’s self esteem and confidence. Programs that help people manage hair and headwear, clothing and make up are available.

Complementary therapies

Often people with cancer seek ways to improve their wellbeing and to help manage symptoms and side effects caused by their cancer treatment.

Complementary therapies are also sometimes called holistic therapies or natural therapies. They can include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Traditional Chinese and herbal medicine
  • Homeopathy
  • Naturopathy
  • Reflexology
  • Meditation
  • Massage

Emotional wellbeing

Some people describe cancer as a ‘rollercoaster of emotions’.
Many people find it helps to speak to someone that specialises in emotionally helping people affected by cancer. This might be a:

  • social worker
  • psychologist
  • psychiatrist
  • genetic counsellor
  • counsellor specialising in children
  • local doctor
  • medical specialist
  • bereavement counsellor

Financial / legal

Some people living with cancer have financial or legal concerns due to a reduced income, extra bills and expenses, or planning for the future.

Financial and legal services offer advice on managing legal and money matters.

Home support

Local councils, palliative care services and community organisations provide services that help people manage at home. They include:

  • childcare
  • home help
  • home meals services
  • palliative care
  • respite care

Information and education

Information and support is available for people with specific types of cancer or for particular groups of people in the community. Support programs for those affected by cancer and reputable websites also provide information and education about living with cancer.


Specialist medical practitioners and services can offer additional options including:

  • doctors and other professionals specialising in palliative care
  • psychiatrists (doctors) who treat people with cancer
  • clinical research trials for new cancer treatments
  • screening services that help detect certain cancers early
  • diagnostic services for x-rays, blood tests, etc

Multicultural services

People affected by cancer who are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders, or speak a first language other than English can find help from:

  • hospital-based Aboriginal liaison staff
  • hospital and telephone-based Interpreters
  • organisations supporting people from specific cultures


Specialised nursing care is available from hospitals and community based organisations for:

  • people with specific types of breast cancer
  • those with incontinence, lymphoedema, a colostomy or wounds that require care
  • people with cancer nearing the end of life

Some nursing services are available in the home.

Personal support

Connecting with others through support groups, telephone or the internet enables people affected by cancer to share experiences and find support.

Relaxation and exercise

Relaxation and exercise can help improve physical and emotional wellbeing. Programs and services may include:

  • water-based and gentle exercise programs
  • yoga and tai chi
  • meditation classes
  • massage

Transport and accommodation

During and after cancer treatment, people may need:

  • help with transport to and from medical appointments
  • affordable accommodation close to treatment centres
  • time away at a retreat for people living with cancer