Over 20,000 Australians living with lung cancer and their families will have access to a free Lung Cancer Social Work Service through Lung Foundation Australia from today.
The telephone service is an important step toward addressing the inequity of Australia’s number one cancer killer that claims 8,729 lives each year.
Lung Foundation Australia Social Worker Lilanie Dagg says the program will provide emotional, practical, and social support to patients and their carers that is otherwise out of reach for a lot of Australians.
“A lung cancer diagnosis impacts every aspect of a person’s life – not just their physical health, but their ability to work, plan for the future, and be involved in everyday activities and decision-making, which can lead to bigger challenges such as mental health burnout,” Lilanie says.
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“Lung cancer is highly stigmatised and can often leave people feeling embarrassed, isolated or like they have to face it alone, particularly for those patients and families living in rural and remote Australia.”
“The Social Work Service is a great support for people, at any stage, who need referring, are feeling confused or lost, or who are generally thinking, ‘what now?'”
Lung Foundation Australia CEO Mark Brooke emphasises the importance of bridging the gap in care for those living with lung cancer.
“Access to information support services is life-changing for patients with lung cancer, providing hope where it hasn’t existed before,” Mr Brooke said.
“Our free Social Work Service is one important step toward improving the quality of life of those living with lung cancer, who face an incredibly low 5-year survival rate of just 20%, but more still needs to be done.”
“We encourage all state Governments to increase the support for improved mental wellbeing of their community who are living with lung cancer and lung disease.”
The Lung Cancer Social Work Service, funded by Lung Foundation Australia and Global Lung Ambition Alliance, is the latest service in Lung Foundation Australia’s Connect to Care program, which includes access to free Lung Cancer Support Nurses and a confidential information and support hotline. Our Social Worker will partner with the Foundation’s Lung Cancer Specialist Nurses throughout Australia to address the considerable gaps in lung cancer patient care in many areas.
People living with lung cancer, their loved ones, and carers are encouraged to access these services via https://lungfoundation.com.au/patients-carers/support-services/support/, or by calling 1800 654 301.
Lung cancer is the country’s leading cause of death in both men and women, with over 13,250 Australians diagnosed each year.
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