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Psychological and Social Support for patients, their families and carers.

Being diagnosed and living with cancer is often a time associated with a variety of emotional, spiritual and psychological changes. These changes can affect the person who has cancer, and their families and carers in different ways. There are lots of practical difficulties that can also arise.  Family members and carers may feel under lots of pressure, or that they have no one to turn to for support, advice or even just clear information.  About a third of cancer patients have psychological difficulties at some point in the cancer journey.

People tend to be more vulnerable when things change and they have to adapt to a new situation. Often, there are sudden changes in a person’s circumstances, making it more difficult for them to cope.

Dr Catherine Mason - Psycho-Oncologist

From time to time your treating team will ask you how you are coping– please let them know if you are having difficulties, have concerns or if you need help.  Your nurse or doctor can often provide useful information or help you work out what to do. They can also talk with you about referring you to see one of the psychological and social support team, which includes specialist social workers, clinical psychologists and a psychiatrist.  A Pastoral Care team is also available to discuss any spiritual issues that you may wish to explore.

** New **  Patient Education Video:

Support Services – Many people find that cancer presents a lot of challenges, bringing changes to relationships, daily routines, every aspect of life.  Some time you need a bit of help. Click here to watch

Social Workers

Social workers are available to support and assist people with the practical, emotional and social issues that can arise when living with cancer.   They can provide counselling as well as information on (or link up to) a range of services and resources within the hospital and your local community.  Social workers can also help advocate for you or your rights (both with the health care team and other community organisations).

Clinical Psychologist

Talking with a clinical psychologist  may help you find ways to cope better, deal with worry, learn to relax or communicate better. Clinical psychologists can offer counselling or specific psychological therapy, and if you would like to learn to meditate, they can help with that too.


A psychiatrist is a medical doctor with further specialty training in psychological medicine. They can help with mood problems (like depression), work out the right medication for depression or anxiety, and help when there are problems with memory, confusion or changes in behaviour.

We are all part of the larger multi-disciplinary teams of health professionals in the cancer service. Our notes, letters and forms are kept in the patient’s cancer centre file.

More information on our services – click on any of the following links:
Services at Westmead
Services at Blacktown Cancer Care Centre
Services at Mt Druitt

Exercise and Cancer

Exercise and diet and now recognised as important factors in the general well-being of cancer patients.

Westmead Hospital has produced two informational videos on exercise and diet for patients and their carers:

  1.  Nutrition Information for Cancer Patients:  Education information for cancer patients on maintaining a healthy diet during cancer treatment
  2. Exercise During Cancer Treatment:  This video shows essential exercises for patients during their cancer treatment.



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