Delivering a Healthy WA

WA Cancer and Palliative Care Network – Improving the Patient Experience

WA Psycho-Oncology Service

What is 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. Applied clinical research projects are also undertaken.

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 Center
DD Block Level 1
Hospital Avenue

Phone 9346-1177 regarding clinic appointments

View map (PDF)

Our mailing address is:

Internal Mailbag 93
SCGH Locked Bag 2012
Nedlands 6009


Phone:  (08) 9346-1177
Fax:      (08) 9346-1178
Email: (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 and its treatment involves many new and challenging experiences which can be distressing for the person diagnosed with cancer, and their family members. It can disrupt roles, routines and future plans. Important beliefs about oneself, others and the world may also be affected.

While everyone is unique in how they experience and respond to cancer, it is common for people to experience feelings such as fear, sadness and anger; worries about the future, and notice temporary changes in eating and sleeping, relationships, and motivation and interests.

This can be a normal and healthy response to the stressful aspects of cancer. Family, friends and the cancer care team can each be invaluable sources of support, information and assistance during this time.

However, about a third of people may experience more intense forms of distress that persist over time and overwhelm their coping strategies.

People may find that their relationships, work and leisure activities, and even participation in cancer treatment are significantly disrupted by their distress.

Their distress can also make cancer-related physical symptoms such as fatigue, pain and nausea more severe and burdensome.

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?" National Breast Cancer Centre

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

How can a clinical psychologist help?

Clinical Psychologists, as members of the cancer care team, specialise in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of psychological difficulties experienced by people affected by cancer.

Clinical Psychologists 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 e.g. speech, thinking, sexuality
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Disruptive fears about cancer recurrence or about dying
  • Relationship challenges
  • Carer stress
  • 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 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 referral form.

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 valid Medicare card holders. Those who do not qualify for these entitlements may be charged.

Where are the services provided?

We provide outpatient and inpatient services in Perth. If you live outside the Perth metropolitan area, our telephone or telehealth/internet service may meet your needs.

State-wide clinical psychology services are provided from Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Comprehensive Cancer Centre, DD Block.

Hospital-based services are also provided at Royal Perth Hospital and Fremantle Hospital until February 2015 when these two services will relocate to Fiona Stanley Hospital.

Please telephone 9346 1177 or email 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 9346 1177 or email: