Skip to main content

Who to talk to about cancer


There are several members of the treatment team who can support a person through their cancer journey. Many people with cancer find it very comforting to talk to someone who is interested in their concerns and who can help them express their concerns and fears and explore new ways of coping. Some of the health professionals who may be helpful in providing support for people with cancer are listed below:

  • General practitioners (GPs) provide ongoing care and work with a range of other health professionals who can assist with emotional care and practical support services.
  • Nurses provide ongoing support throughout your cancer journey. They can provide advice about other health professionals who can help you with challenges along the way. Nurses are usually very experienced in helping people cope with physical symptoms and are familiar with the emotional issues faced by people with cancer.
  • Social workers provide advice about finances and practical support. They can also provide counselling, which can include other family members if needed.
  • Psychologists provide counselling and can offer specific therapies.
  • Psychiatrists are doctors who specialise in mental health and the way the brain functions. In addition to counselling, they can treat conditions such as depression and anxiety and prescribe medication if necessary.
  • Counsellors listen and can help a person work out exactly what issues they are facing and what they would like to do next.
  • Occupational therapists provide practical support to help overcome physical problems or barriers at home or work. Some occupational therapists are qualified to provide specific treatments such as lymphoedema massage.
  • Physiotherapists provide physical support, massage and manipulation to help with mobility, reduce pain and assist with problems such as lymphoedema.
  • Speech therapists help with speech, eating and swallowing difficulties.
  • Dietitians or nutritionists help with eating difficulties and provide advice about diet.
  • Spiritual advisors can discuss matters of faith.