Treatments and tests

WA psycho-oncology service

What is the WA psycho-oncology service?

We provide clinical psychology care to adult Western Australians who are affected by cancer.

Specialist education, consultancy and research services are also provided to health workers and organisations.

Understanding distress in cancer

Everyone’s experience of and response to cancer is unique. It is common to experience feelings (e.g. fear, sadness and anger), worries, and temporary changes in appetite, sleeping and motivation. This can be a normal and healthy response to the stressful aspects of cancer.

About a third of people experience distress and suffering that is more intense, persistent and overwhelms their coping strategies. This may disrupt relationships, activities, and cancer treatment. Cancer-related issues such as fatigue, pain and nausea may also be affected by distress. People in this situation may benefit from working with a Clinical Psychologist to get unstuck and back on track.

How can a clinical psychologist help?

A clinical psychologist, as a member of your cancer care team, can assist with a broad range of cancer-related difficulties. Some examples include:

  • physical concerns such as pain, nausea and eating difficulties
  • tiredness and sleep problems
  • adjusting to body changes e.g. speech, thinking, sexuality
  • depression and anxiety
  • disruptive fears about cancer coming back or about dying
  • relationship challenges
  • coming to terms with prognosis
  • goal setting and recovery plans.

The clinical psychologist will be nonjudgmental, work at your pace, and help you with your priorities.

Evidence-based care strategies are tailored to your unique situation.

Appointments are confidential.

Who can use this service?

Adult Western Australians diagnosed with cancer and immediate, care-giving adult family members can use this service.

People affected by breast cancer should contact:

  • the Breast Cancer Clinical Psychology Service Royal Perth Hospital on 9224 1629 or
  • Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital Breast Centre on 9346 4590.

Is there a cost?

The service is provided free of charge to Medicare eligible Western Australians.

Do I need a referral?

Yes – Any health worker (public or private) can refer you.

If your health worker is not aware of our service, or you do not have a health worker who can refer you, please contact us so we can help you with your referral.

Where are the services provided?

Clinical services are provided statewide. Telehealth and phone services are available for people living outside Perth.

People living in or temporarily based in Perth may attend our community clinic Royal Perth Hospital Shenton Park Campus.

Hospital-based services are also provided at:

  • Royal Perth Hospital Wellington Street
  • Campus – Perth, Sir Charles Gairdner
  • Hospital – Nedlands, and Fremantle Hospital.

WA psycho-oncology service – community clinic

Where to get help

  • See your doctor.
  • Visit a GP after hours.
  • Ring healthdirect Australia on 1800 022 222.
  • Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20.
  • Cancer Nurse Coordination Service on 9222 0202.
  • Crisis Care on 9223 1111 or 1800 199 008 (freecall).
  • Mental Health Emergency Response Line:
    • Perth Metro Area on 1300 555 788.
    • Peel Region on 1800 676 822.
    • RuralLink WA on 1800 552 002.

Acknowledgements
WA Cancer and Palliative Care Network
Link to HealthyWA Facebook page