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Betsy Sajish, Cancer Care Social Worker

Betsy Sajish, Senior Social Worker at the Nepean Cancer and Wellness Centre

Social work support available for patients and their families touched by cancer

15 Jun 2022


When a person is diagnosed with cancer, the diagnosis brings with it a multitude of complex challenges which affect both the patient and their family.

The caring and experienced social workers at the Nepean Cancer and Wellness Centre understand the many issues cancer can raise, such as financial worries, impacts on self-image and relationships, keeping the home maintained or managing anxiety and wellbeing.

Working as part of the Centre’s psycho-oncology team, the social workers provide specialised care and work with patients and their families to help ease the burden during a most difficult time.

Senior Social Worker, Betsy Sajish has helped to support cancer patients and their families for more than fifteen years. She says that while each patient case is different, the ripple effect of cancer on family dynamics and life pressures can culminate to create additional challenges for families.

“Whether it’s emotional, social, or financial, everything gets affected by a patient’s cancer journey. It goes without saying, they are entering a very difficult time. We are here and we can help by offering emotional and practical support to ease the burden for patients and families,” says Ms Sajish.

Supporting inpatients and outpatients at all stages of the cancer journey, the social workers can be thought of as problem-solvers. Examining the issues each family faces and providing psycho-social care through personalised support, resources and referrals to improve wellbeing allows the patient and their family to focus on their treatment and wellbeing.

Ms Sajish says common issues that patients and families may experience during this time include the emotional reaction to having cancer, effectively communicating with children to help ease anxiety, and carer stress and fatigue, typically experienced by the patient’s partner who often becomes the primary carer and advocate.

In what can be an emotional and challenging role, Ms Sajish says her colleagues and the patients she supports keep her motivated to continue delivering high quality care.        

“There is a great team at the Nepean Cancer and Wellness Centre. Everyone who walks in through those doors does their best for the patient.”

“I also have a lovely patient group. The strength that emanates from them makes me want to do my best. You can see how even the small things you do can help them and when you know that you’ve made some contribution to their experience, that’s very motivating,” Ms Sajish says.

The social work team can be accessed via referral for patients under the care of the Nepean Cancer and Wellness Centre.