Social workers at the cancer centres are available to help patients deal with anxiety about their disease or make referrals to the many community support services available for symptom management.

Patient Navigation Assistance 

Throughout your treatment journey, we can provide assistance and information for social or psychological needs, financial concerns, health system concerns, family issues, and coping issues. We also provide information to help you prepare for your first appointment and make it as informative as possible.

Assessment and Consultation 

Your first meeting at the cancer centre will be with the doctors and nurses to discuss the best way to treat your cancer. We will work with you and your family to look into your concerns and needs. We can help you develop a plan for living with your treatment by identifying: 

  • Your personal coping abilities 
  • Your physical needs during treatment 
  • Family support 
  • Spiritual support for you and your family 
  • Community resources to provide emotional support during your treatment 
  • Community services that you may need in the future 
  • Agencies that provide financial advice and assistance  

Emotional Support 

We are available to provide you with a range of support, from an orientation to the services at the cancer centre to in-depth counseling to deal with cancer and its treatment. 

Family Counseling 

Counseling may help you deal with relationship problems caused or accelerated by the diagnosis of cancer. You may find it helpful to discuss lifestyle adjustments in areas such as sexuality. As a family, you may find it helpful to talk about your fears, the denial you may feel and how you will cope. 

Palliative Care Counseling and Referral 

We offer support, assistance and guidance to patients and their families when life is ending and referral to local palliative programs. 

Bereavement Counseling 

Family members experience grief in many different ways. We offer reassurance and comfort to grieving families and friends as they experience grief prior to and following a loved one's passing. 

Screening for Distress 

At the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency, patients and their families are at the heart of everything we do. It takes a team of dedicated healthcare professionals to ensure we are helping you manage symptoms – both physical and emotional – that may be caused by cancer or cancer treatment. 

Symptoms such as depression, anxiety and fatigue can often occur after a diagnosis of cancer. These symptoms are classified as “distress”. By monitoring for signs of cancer-related distress, our doctors, nurses, dietitians and social workers can address concerns and provide resources and services to help improve the emotional well being and quality of life for patients.

Distress Screening 

To help our staff identify symptoms of distress, the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency uses a questionnaire to gather information about your symptoms and other issues or concerns you are experiencing. This questionnaire is called a “distress screening tool" and includes nationally used screening questions. 

You will be asked to complete the distress screening tool (What matters the most to you today) at your first visit to the cancer centre while waiting to see your oncologist. Family members are welcome to assist you. 

The first section of the tool is called the "Edmonton Symptom Assessment System". You will be asked to circle the number that best indicates how you are feeling at the present time, with 0 indicating the best possible feeling, and 10 the worst. The second section is the "Canadian Problem Checklist". You will be asked to check each box that reflects issues or concerns you have experienced within the last week, including today. 

Your answers will be kept confidential and only be used by your healthcare team to provide the best and most appropriate care for you and your family. This may involve providing you with written materials or recommending referral to a support service available in the cancer centre or in the community. Referrals would only be made with your consent. A patient and family supportive resource sheet is available in each examination room that shows the types of resources and services available.

Additional Resources