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Talk to someone who's been there

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When a person is diagnosed with cancer, they and their loved ones may feel like their world has turned upside down. We know that talking to others who’ve gone through a similar experience is comforting.

Our free CancerConnection service connects people living with cancer with trained volunteers who listen, provide hope, offer encouragement and share ideas for coping – all from their unique perspective as someone who’s been there.

If you have finished treatment for breast or colorectal cancer, our free New Normal service can be there for you as you adjust to life after cancer. New Normal volunteers know from personal experience how tough it can sometimes be when treatment ends.

  • How can this help me?

    Many people who have used this service say it helped them get a better understanding of what to expect throughout their or their loved one’s cancer experience, making them feel more hopeful and less anxious. It helped them cope.

  • What can I expect?

    Support is provided over the telephone. This confidential service is tailored to your needs and preferences. We match you with a volunteer based on a number of factors, including cancer type, sex, language and lifestyle.

  • How do I sign up?

    The service is easy to access throughout Canada. Call 1-888-939-3333, email info@cis.cancer.ca, or request a call. One of our staff will register you with the service.

  • Who can use this service?

    CancerConnection is available to people with cancer and their caregivers who are 18 and over.

    In some cases, your needs may go beyond what our volunteers can offer. If that is the case, we’ll suggest other services that may be able to help. You don’t have to go through cancer alone.

  • Referrals by a healthcare provider

    If your patient or their caregiver would like to speak to someone who's had a similar cancer experience, complete and submit a healthcare provider referral.

    The personal information collected on the referral form will only be used to contact the individual regarding our services.

    You can also contact us at 1-888-939-3333 or info@cis.cancer.ca.

  • What people are saying about CancerConnection

    There is nothing quite like talking to someone who understands what you’re going through because they’ve been there. It may be someone who had a treatment you’ve been considering or who had the side effects you’re experiencing. Or maybe it’s someone – like you – who had young children at the time of their diagnosis.

    CancerConnection will match you up according to what is most important to you:

    “I’m not sure yet if I’ll be getting a mastectomy or a lumpectomy – could I talk to people with my sort of cancer who had both?”

    “My doctor says I am cancer-free, but I can’t seem to get on with living – I’d like to speak with a long-term survivor about how to move from being a cancer patient to a cancer survivor.”

    “Do other people get the same side effects on my chemo?”

    “I feel so frightened but don’t want to make things harder for my family by talking about it to them.”

    “Can I talk to someone who … had a colostomy, lost a limb to cancer, had thyroid cancer?”

    “I’d like to talk with someone with a sense of humour, a compassionate person who won’t judge me.”

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Stories

Now I know that I will help someone with cancer even after I’m gone. It’s a footprint I want to leave behind me.

Read Barbara's story

Volunteers provide comfort and kindness

Illustration of volunteers

Thousands of Canadian Cancer Society volunteers work in regional cancer centres, lodges and community hospitals to support people receiving treatment.

Learn more