Delivering a Healthy WA

WA Cancer and Palliative Care Network – Improving the Patient Experience

WA Psycho-Oncology Service

What is the WA Psycho-Oncology Service?

WA Psycho-Oncology Service (also known as WAPOS) provides clinical psychology care to adult Western Australians who are affected by cancer – people diagnosed with cancer and care-giving immediate family members.

Referral liaison, consultation and education services are offered to health workers, multidisciplinary cancer teams and services to help them enhance the psychosocial care they are providing to people affected by cancer.

The service is administered by the WA Cancer and Palliative Care Network and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital - Medical Specialties Division.

Quick Links:

Contact Details

State-wide Outpatient Clinic Location:

Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Centre.
DD Block Level 1
Hospital Avenue
Nedlands WA

Fiona Stanley Hospital Cancer Centre
Ground Level, Main Hospital Building
102-118 Murdoch Drive
Murdoch WA

Phone 6457-1177 regarding clinic appointments

Our mailing address is:

WAPOS
Internal Mailbag 93
SCGH Locked Bag 2012
Nedlands 6009

Phone/Fax/Email

Phone: (08) 6457-1177
Fax:     (08) 6457-1178
Email: wapos@health.wa.gov.au
Internet:www.healthnetworks.health.wa.gov.au/cancer/cancer/psych.cfm (This page)

Referral Forms

A health worker referral is required to access the clinical psychology service.

View more information.

Electronic Referral Form (Word)

A duty officer is available to discuss the suitability of referrals and to provide information on alternative services.

Understanding distress in cancer

Cancer can involve many new and challenging experiences which can be distressing for the person diagnosed with cancer, and family members.

Everyone’s experience of and response to cancer is unique. It is common to experience feelings (e.g. fear, sadness and anger), worries, and temporary changes in appetite, sleep and motivation. This can be a normal and healthy response to the stressful aspects of cancer.

About a third of people experience distress and suffering that is more intense, persistent and overwhelms their coping. This may disrupt relationships, activities, and cancer treatment. Cancer-related issues such as fatigue, pain and nausea may also be affected by distress. People in this situation may benefit from working with a Clinical Psychologist to get unstuck and back on track.

If you would like to read more about distress in cancer consider the following links:

"Cancer - How are you travelling?"Cancer Australia

"Have you had a serious health incident?" Beyond Blue

How can a clinical psychologist help?

A Clinical Psychologist, as a member of your cancer care team, can assist with a broad range of cancer-related difficulties. Some examples include:

  • physical concerns such as pain, nausea, and eating difficulties
  • tiredness and sleep problems
  • adjusting to body changes for example
  • speech, thinking, sexuality
  • depression and anxiety
  • disruptive fears about cancer recurrence
  • or about dying
  • relationship challenges
  • coming to terms with prognosis
  • goal setting and recovery plans.

Couples can also meet with a clinical psychologist to specifically focus on their intimate relationship, e.g. communication, conflict, role changes, and sexual intimacy. 

Clinical Psychologists apply psychological theory and evidenced-based assessment and treatment strategies to help people address their needs and meet their goals.  These approaches are tailored to a person’s unique situation and typically involve discussion and practicing skills in and outside of the session.

Who can attend the service?

The service is available to adult Western Australians – people diagnosed with cancer and immediate, care-giving adult family members.

People affected by breast cancer should contact a member of their treating team to discuss alternative clinical psychology services.

Do I need a referral?

Yes - you need to be referred by a health worker. Any health worker (public or private) can refer you. View our Electronic Referral Form (Word).

We recommend you discuss your needs with the health worker first. They will help you to consider a variety of service options to match your current needs. Your health worker can also contact us for help with this decision making. If they are not aware of our service, or you do not have a health worker who can refer you, please contact us so we can facilitate a referral.

Following receipt of a referral, our Duty Officer will contact you to discuss your referral and answer any questions you have about the service.

Unfortunately, due to high demand and limited resources, referred persons may need to go on a waiting list for an appointment.

Is there a cost?

This Department of Health: Western Australia service is provided free of charge to Medicare eligible Western Australians.  Those who do not qualify for these entitlements may be charged.

Where are the services provided?

State-wide outpatient clinical psychology services are provided from Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Comprehensive Cancer Centre; and Fiona Stanley Hospital Cancer Centre. Inpatient services are also available at these hospitals.

Telehealth and phone services are available for people living outside Perth.

Please telephone 6457 1177 or email wapos@health.wa.gov.au us for more information.

How can I provide Feedback?

We are committed to quality improvement and building a service that meets the needs of people affected by cancer and other stakeholders, including health workers and services.

We welcome your feedback via telephone 6457 1177 or email: wapos@health.wa.gov.au.