Helping people with cancer through COVID-19: how Cancer Council Victoria is responding

Even in challenging times like these, cancer never rests. For that reason, neither do we.

The recent outbreak of COVID-19 has been difficult for everybody, but it’s particularly challenging for those who are affected by cancer.

Cancer treatment weakens the immune system, meaning that people going through treatment are more vulnerable to coronavirus than those who are healthy and well.

This can be a serious cause of concern and anxiety for people who are recovering from or going through cancer treatment. But at Cancer Council Victoria, we don’t believe anybody should need to go through cancer alone, particularly at a time like this.

That’s why we’re doing all we can to support people affected by cancer.

Supporting people with cancer

In compliance with the Victorian Government’s COVID-19 advice, Cancer Council Victoria has closed our physical office – but that doesn’t mean we’re not doing all we can to help the people who need our services.

Our amazing cancer nurses are still working hard to provide information and support services through the 13 11 20 line to patients, carers, family, friends, workplaces and health professionals. They’re also available via

They’re well-placed to support people with general concerns around COVID-19, as well as link people up with the wide range of services still available during this time, including:

  • Wig Service is being delivered by post to make sure cancer patients with treatment-related hair loss can still receive a free wig while it’s not possible to provide face-to-face appointments
  • Group telephone support to provide people affected by cancer to connect with others – just like being in a face-to-face support group, but from the comfort, privacy, and safety of their own homes. These are professionally facilitated, and participation is free right throughout Australia
  • Cancer Connect, confidentially linking people currently receiving cancer treatment to somebody who knows what it’s like to have cancer. At a time like this, Cancer Connect gives people vital interaction and emotional support with trained volunteers
  • Our online community which gives cancer patients another place to find support from others who have had similar experiences and continue important interaction with the world outside home and work
  • Our Financial Assistance Package providing up to $300 of financial support for basic needs, such as groceries, to cancer patients who are experiencing financial hardship

Our cancer nurses also act as navigators, directing you to the right support services for you, delivered by more than 470 healthcare providers, non-profit organisations and governments across Victoria.

We’re also providing helpful and comprehensive answers to frequently asked questions about cancer and COVID-19, as well as COVID-19 Fact Sheets in 12 different languages, so people can care for themselves and others as well as possible.  Additionally, given the likelihood that people who smoke are more vulnerable to complications due to COVID-19, our Quitline is still operating on 13 78 48, providing a tailored counselling service to support people in giving up smoking.

Staying safe while we continue our work

Many of our much-loved fundraising events, such as Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea in May and June, are based around bringing the community together. This year, we’re looking at how we can do things a little differently to keep the community spirit alive while keeping people safe.

The safety and wellbeing of our supporters, volunteers, staff and all people affected by cancer is always of paramount importance.

But this doesn’t mean our work is stopping. The life-saving cancer research, prevention programs and support services our wonderful supporters help fund are continuing to operate, helping more people survive a cancer diagnosis.

How you can help

None of this crucial work would be possible without Cancer Council Victoria’s generous supporters. Even in these difficult times, there’s a lot you can do to help people affected by cancer:

  • Stay at home as much as you can and practise physical distancing to stop the spread of COVID-19. As mentioned, people receiving cancer treatment are even more at risk of infection, so it’s important to do all we can to keep them safe.
  • Donate to Cancer Council Victoria if you are able to do so. We know times are tough, but anything you can give helps ensure no one has to face cancer alone and will help more people survive cancer in the future.
  • Get involved in our fundraising events, like Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea. Check out our website for how you can connect with the community while making a difference from the comfort of your own home!

Thank you for supporting people impacted by cancer during this difficult time. Cancer never rests, so neither do we, but none of our work would be possible without your help.

For more information on cancer and COVID-19, and what we’re doing to help, contact Eddie Skelic on