General cancer information

English

General cancer information

English

The information on this website is to help people understand what happens if they have cancer. It is for anyone with cancer or the people supporting them.

Having cancer

Finding out you have cancer can be stressful. You will need to have a number of tests and see a specialist cancer doctor.

The test results give the doctor information about your cancer. Your doctor will explain what type of cancer you have and what you should know about it. You can also ask any questions you have about the cancer.

You can take family or friends to support you when you go to appointments.

Cancer treatment

Your specialist doctor works with a team of other doctors, nurses and health professionals. This is called a cancer care team. They will make a treatment plan for you, which your doctor will explain.

The main types of cancer treatment are:

  • surgery to remove the cancer from the body
  • radiotherapy to treat the cancer with radiation
  • medicines such as chemotherapy that kill or damage cancer cells.

Not all treatments are suitable for every type of cancer. Most people have a combination of treatments.

Ask the doctor to explain anything you don’t understand, and ask where you can get more information and support.

Using interpreters

When you go appointments, you have the right to have a health interpreter. You do not have to use family or friends to interpret for you.

When you book the appointment, say you need an interpreter and tell them which language you speak.

You can also use the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS). This service is free and is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Call 131 450 to get an interpreter who can help you by telephone.

Finding translated information

There are lots of things to understand and decisions to make when you have cancer. It may be hard to know what is happening if the language you usually speak is not English.

Click on the links on this page to find information about cancer in your language. The links take you to information from well-known cancer organisations in Australia.

Some hospitals also have translated information. Ask your doctors or nurses if there is any information in your language.

Talking about culture and beliefs

It is normal that your culture, religion and past experiences can affect how you feel about cancer and cancer treatment.

It is good to talk to your doctors and nurses about your culture and beliefs. It helps them understand the things that are important to you. 

Finding support

It is important to have the right information and support when you have cancer.

If you have any problems or questions, talk to the doctors and nurses looking after you.

You can also get help from the Cancer Council:

  • This is an organisation that provides support to people with cancer.
  • Their information and support line number is 13 11 20 Mon-Fri 9am-5pm.
  • You can use the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) 131 450 to contact them.

Checklists

Use our checklists to find helpful tips or questions to ask.

Where to get help

There are people you can talk to for more information or support.

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