Cancer Support Worker

Introduction to the Role

A cancer support worker plays a vital role in providing emotional, practical, and informative support to individuals and their families who are affected by cancer. Their primary objective is to assist and empower cancer patients throughout their journey, from diagnosis to treatment, recovery, and beyond.

Cancer Support Workers will undertake an important role in the management and co-ordination of care.

No specific experience is required to become a Cancer Support Worker however if you would like to prepare yourself for the role and gain more experience. There are several ways you can do this. This can be done through volunteering, shadowing, or working in a healthcare setting or gaining knowledge through Greater Manchester Cancer Academy.

A great starting point is the Cancer 101 Module, the academy is free at the point of access and can help you understand cancer care in more depth.

Image shows the words Greater Manchester Cancer Alliance with 3 colourd hexagons
Image shows a lady lying in a hospital bed wearing navy blue pajamas being tended too by a nurse.
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Role Career Development & Pathway

The Aspirant Cancer Career and Education Development (ACCEND) programme will provide you with guidance on the knowledge, skills and capabilities required for all professionals who care for people living with cancer in generalist and specialist cancer services and roles as part of multi-professional teams. Find out more about how the ACCEND Framework can help you.

Find out information about the role, further case studies and learning opportunities via the E-Learning for Health (elfh) page for the ACCEND framework.

Potential progression option for all CSW roles – A trainee nursing associate programme is a two-year programme that combines academic and work-based learning. It is designed to prepare you for the role of a nursing associate, which is a new healthcare role that bridges the gap between healthcare support workers and registered nurses.

Job Description Example

Cancer support workers provide a compassionate and empathetic presence to patients, offering a listening ear and emotional support. They help patients cope with the emotional challenges and uncertainties that arise during their cancer experience. They offer information and education, providing accurate and up-to-date information about cancer, its treatments, and potential side effects.

Support workers may help patients with practical tasks such as scheduling appointments, arranging transportation for treatment, or accessing financial assistance programs. They may also assist with paperwork, insurance claims, and other administrative tasks.

Cancer support workers act as advocates for patients, ensuring their needs are met and their voices are heard. They may communicate with healthcare professionals, help patients navigate the healthcare system, and advocate for appropriate care and resources. They may organize or facilitate support groups where patients can connect with others who are going through a similar experience.

In cases where cancer is advanced or terminal, cancer support workers can provide palliative care support, addressing pain management, symptom control, and emotional support for patients and their families. They may also assist with end-of-life planning and bereavement support.