Being diagnosed with cancer changes your life. Your social and emotional wellbeing and that of your family/carers could be affected. It is common to experience feelings of isolation, anxiety and fear and this can affect your communication with family, friends and work colleagues. Living with uncertainty and adjusting to changes in health and lifestyle while you are dealing with cancer can be overwhelming. Social workers can assist and support you and your family/carers while you are going through this period of change and adjustment during your treatment.


Social workers are an important part of your treating team in the Northern Sydney Cancer Centre and can provide counselling to support you:

  • To understand and adjust to your diagnosis
  • To help you adapt to lifestyle changes and plan for the future
  • With communication and relationships with family/carers, what to tell your children, friends and colleagues
  • Managing feelings of worry, anxiety, grief, loss, low mood, stress and depression
  • Bereavement.

Support groups

Social workers can help you connect with groups that may help support your needs such as information and support groups in the community for you and your family. Groups may help you understand cancer better and/or provide you with an opportunity to discuss feelings and concerns. Other groups offer relaxation sessions and social events.

Linking with community resources

To help with a smoother transition to the changes in your health and lifestyle social workers can link you with community services including transport for appointments, home support services, childcare and family support, housing, drug and alcohol services and mental health services etc. Social workers have extensive knowledge of the range of services available and can link you to services specific to your needs.

Financial and legal advice and assistance

Many people diagnosed with cancer worry how they will manage their finances. Cancer often has a significant impact on your financial situation which can place strain on your wellbeing and your family.

Social workers can provide information about:

  • Financial assistance including government subsidies for transport and accommodation for country patients;
  • They can help you navigate the Centrelink system;
  •  Link you with the Financial and Legal Seminars and the free Financial Counselling Service offered by the Cancer Council in the NSCC
  • Link you with the Cancer Council's Pro Bono Legal Assistance Program for advice and assistance regarding early access to superannuation, claims for disability insurance and establishing powers of attorney and wills.



Any patient, undergoing treatment at Royal North Shore Hospital or who is a resident of Northern Sydney Local Health District; their carer, a family member or friend can access social work services.


Patients and carers/family/friends can self-refer when attending the Northern Sydney Cancer Centre or make telephone contact for more information. You can also ask your Cancer Nurse Coordinator or any health professional to refer you to the service.

Urgent cases

Urgent cases can be referred directly to a Clinician for consultation or assessment. If it is after hours there is an on call duty social worker who can be contacted by a member of staff.

Quick links

Address - Allows authors to enter rich text content.  Address

Northern Sydney Cancer Centre, Level 1, Royal North Shore Hospital
Reserve Rd
St Leonards, NSW 2065

Finding Us: The Social Work Department is located in Royal North Shore Hospital Campus, Building 30, Reserve Rd, St. Leonards, NSW 2065.

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Monday to Friday
9am to 5pm

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02 9926 7580