The Psycho-oncology Service
The Psycho-oncology service is based at the Illawarra Cancer Care Centre at the Wollongong Hospital and is available to oncology patients, carers and loved ones being treated in the Illawarra Shoalhaven area or being treated out of area, Sydney for example, but living in the Illawarra Shoalhaven area. This is a free service.
A diagnosis of cancer can be a devastating experience. Common reactions include: shock, fear, denial, panic, anger, & uncertainty. This distress may improve with time but can become chronic. If this happens to you it is important to avoid telling yourself “I should be able to cope”. Experiencing distress is not a sign of weakness or a failure to “be positive”.
Most people can benefit from support during difficult times. Our psychologists can help you address for example:
- Sleeping/eating issues
- Body image issues
- Sexual difficulties
- Loss & bereavement
- Adjustment issues
- Getting back on track after treatment
- Coming to terms with a poor prognosis
- Other chronic psychological issues
To make an appointment ask a member of the treatment team to make a referral to the service for you. Alternatively you can ask your GP for a referral.
Useful on-line resources for patients, family members and carers
For General Practitioners
When should I refer a patient?
- Is experiencing chronic elevated distress that is impacting on pain or symptom control, or their ability to complete cancer treatment
- Is experiencing chronic elevated distress to the extent that resumption of activities of daily living or important relationships are threatened
- Has a past history of mental health concerns
- Is experiencing severe anxiety or depression
- Is hyper vigilant, experiencing panic attacks or is highly irritable
- Is describing illness specific phobias (such as needle phobia)
- Is exhibiting behaviours that are difficult to manage
- Is reporting issues with body image or sexuality concerns
- Is concerned by chronic disruption to sleep, appetite and/or concentration.
What are the inclusion and exclusion criteria for referral?
Referrals are accepted for adults and young persons (15 years and over) living with cancer, residing/working/or being treated in the Illawarra or Shoalhaven.
Family members or carers of an adults or young person (15 years and over) living with cancer, residing/working/or being treated in the Illawarra or Shoalhaven.
Clients and family members of the Genetics Service
Children and adolescents under the age of 15 years (parents may be seen by the service to discuss appropriate strategies to help the young individual).
Appointments can be made by calling Illawarra Cancer Care reception, specifying the required appointment is for the psycho-oncology service. Patients should bring their referral letter with them to the first appointment. Contact Us
For further information or to discuss a specific referral ask to speak to the psycho-oncology service.