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What we do

The Cancer Support Team is a team of psychologists and social workers who provide free support to people and their whānau, to help them cope with some of the difficulties of having cancer.

What can psychologists help with?

Psychologists help people find ways to cope when they are feeling down, stressed, upset or worried.  They can also help with making decisions, coping with change and loss, and pain and low energy.

What can social workers help with?

Social workers provide support to help people with difficult feelings and situations. They can talk to people about work, finances, childcare, transport and planning for the future.  They can help link people with community agencies, and support them to understand and get through the health system.

What if I have a concern that isn’t related to cancer?

We are unable to see people whose issues do not relate to cancer. Your psychological or social issue must be resulting from your cancer, or having an impact on your cancer treatment. If we can’t see you in our service, we will help you find appropriate support.

Who do we see?

The Cancer Support Team see people who are 16 years and older, who have been told they might have cancer, people who have a new diagnosis or recurrence of cancer, and people who are having cancer treatment.

Patients can be referred by a health professional if they are: 

  • Over 16 years of age and being treated in adult services
  • Receiving cancer care from within Capital & Coast DHB, Hutt Valley DHB or Wairarapa DHB
  • Have a high suspicion of cancer, or a new diagnosis of cancer/recurrence or are undergoing treatment
  • Have significant psychological and/or social issues relating to cancer or which are impacting on their cancer treatment
  • Agree to a referral to the Cancer Support Team

    There are some situations in which patients will not be seen by the Cancer Support Team. These include:

  • Patients who have not consented to a referral
  • Patients with acute mental health issues or displaying acute risk of harm to themselves or others. (Please use existing referral pathways for these patients e.g. Te Haika, Consult Liaison, Community Mental Health)
  • Patients having private treatment only (i.e., not receiving any cancer care through the DHB
  • Patients who have finished treatment or have end-of-life support needs.

Can whānau/family members be seen by the Cancer Support Team?

Yes, whānau can be seen with the patient. If appropriate, and if the patient consents, we are able to see whanau without the patient present. If whānau members require their own individual support, we will support them to find an appropriate service.


You’ll need to be referred to our service by a health professional (i.e., social worker, nurse, medical doctor – this may be your GP or another hospital doctor). 

Frequently asked questions

How quickly will a patient be seen by the Cancer Support Team?

We aim to contact patients within 5 days of receiving a referral, with an appointment usually offered within 1-3 weeks depending on service demands.  

Where are patients seen?

We try to see patients at a location they can reach easily. Depending on where they are, it could be at the hospital or in the community.  In some situations we may offer a home visit if this is appropriate.

How can I access cultural support?

We can arrange cultural support or an interpreter if required.

Last updated 1 September 2020.