Women supporting women with cancer – Counterpart expands to all women
30 June 2022
Every year 16,000 women in Victoria are told they have cancer. Many of these women will now have increased access to support, with Women’s Health Victoria’s cancer support service opening its doors to women with all cancer types.
‘Our vision is for every woman to live well – healthy, empowered, equal’, says Women’s Health Victoria CEO Dianne Hill. ‘Counterpart has been providing a quality peer support service to women with breast or a gynaecological cancer for almost 20 years. We are thrilled to be able to offer that same support to the 10,000 women diagnosed with other types of cancer each year’.
Counterpart supports women from diagnosis onwards, helping women find information and services, and providing peer support. Trained volunteers give other women with cancer the space to adjust to their diagnosis and provide the support and understanding that can only come from a lived experience. This support can make a huge difference to a woman’s experience of cancer.
Counterpart Peer Support Volunteer Margaret agrees. ‘I am passionate in supporting the extension of our service. As breast cancer is not my only cancer diagnosis, I can see the value of the support that Counterpart can provide to women with all types of cancer’, she says.
I think it is an issue of equity too, as it is very hard to deny a woman with another cancer type the wonderful service received by women with a breast or gynaecological cancer.
Margaret, Peer Support Volunteer, Counterpart
Manager Fiona McRae says that the Counterpart team has been working with other organisations and services that support different tumour streams, as well as women living with other cancer diagnoses to prepare for the expansion. ‘It is very important that we aren’t duplicating other services,’ she says. ‘We have heard from many women diagnosed with different cancers, that they really want to be able to talk with someone else who understands what it is like. We want to be able to provide that support, and also ensure that women know what other services are available that may help them in what can be really difficult times’.
Find out more about Counterpart’s peer support program and other services at counterpart.org.au.