What may help

Talk to your Doctor
If English is your second language, ask your doctor or health care provider to speak more slowly, repeat information, explain colloquialisms or even write down crucial points for you.

Use an interpreter
With notice, hospitals or doctors can sometimes provide an interpreter to translate at a consultation or over the phone. If not, you may need to organise one or find a family member who can do it.

Language resources
A variety of cancer and palliative care resources are available in languages other than English:

  • The Cancer Council SA has publications printed in a number of different languages.  Phone 13 11 20 and ask for one to be mailed to you.
  • The Cancer Council Helpline offers information and support for people with cancer in Cantonese and Mandarin (1300 300 935), Greek (1300 301 449), Italian (1300 301 431) and Arabic (1300 301 625).

Interpreting services
The Translating and Interpreting Service (13 14 50) offers assistance with communicating in a language other than English. You can ask for a male or a female interpreter, if need be. There is a fee for some services, but communication with medical practitioners is usually free.

Private interpreting services in your area may be found in the Yellow Pages under “Translations” and “Interpreters”.

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Life, Hope & Reality was developed and written by Afaf Girgis, Claire Johnson, and Sylvie Lambert with funding from the NHMRC and Cancer Council NSW.

Last updated 30 August 2015