The main forms of treatment for cancer are:
Surgery – the tumour is surgically removed
Chemotherapy – the use of anti-cancer drugs are used to kill or slow the rate of growth in cancer cells. Click here for more information about what to expect during chemotherapy treatment at Western Health.
Radiation Therapy – the use of radiation (X-rays). Click here for more information about what to expect during radiation therapy treatment at Western Health.
Some patients may have one form of treatment, whereas others may have a combination of several types of treatment which may include participation in a clinical trial.
Treatment will be offered by a team of professionals. This may include:
Allied health professionals such as dietitians, physiotherapists, social workers, clinical psychologists. Click here for more information about the services provided by allied health at Western Health.
Clinical trial nurses
Palliative Care Physicians
Specialist nurse coordinators or practitioners
Specialist treatment nurses
Other support services
Cancer treatment can result in a range of side-effects. This is because the treatment not only kills cancer cells, but also healthy cells in your body. While some patients experience many side effects, others will experience none. The side effects experienced depends on the type and dose of drugs or radiation used and the individual patient. Common side effects can include:
Shortness of breath
Nausea and vomiting
Loss of appetite and weight loss
Please note that this information in general in nature. For further information abotu any speciifc side effects or concerns, please speak to your health care professional.
Western Health runs a specialist service called Symptom Urgent Review Clinic located in the Day Oncology Unit. This clinic is dedicated to supporting patients at home who are suffering from side-effects after receiving chemotherapy treatment at Western Health. Patients (or their support person) can call and get advice or support from an experienced cancer nurse if they have any concerns or are feeling unwell. There is also an oncology doctor at hand.
We can provide nursing support to patients in the Clinic itself. However, it is important to call us before attending the clinic as we can often help you manage and improve your symptoms in the comfort of your own home.
When you call the SURC Nurse and inform her of your concerns she might then:
Give advice over the phone about how to manage or improve your symptoms
Advise you to come into the SURC for review
Advise you to see your GP or attend the Emergency Department
The SURC Nurse will also:
Advise your Oncologist or Haematologist that you called
Call your GP if you have been advised to go there
Provide a follow up phone call if required.
If you have any non-urgent concerns you can visit your GP.
If you don't feel well or have a temperature of 38°C and above and SURC is closed then go directly to the Emergency Department or dial 000.
“Supportive care” describe services that may be required by those affected by cancer. It includes services for support with physical needs, psychological needs, social needs, information needs and spiritual needs. This support may take the form of:· self-help and support· information· psychological support· symptom control· social support· rehabilitation· spiritual support· palliative care· bereavement care. Resources to assist patients and their carers with supportive care can be found on the WeCan website.