Bowel cancer: Cancer Support

Bowel Cancer Cancer Support

During your treatment for bowel cancer, you will come across a variety of medical and other professionals who will provide you with care, support and advice. Read about what they do and how you can access their services below.

On this page you will find information on :

Specialist surgeons

Surgical oncologists are surgeons who devote most of their time to the study and treatment of malignant tumours. They have the necessary knowledge, skills, and clinical experience to perform standard and extraordinary surgical procedures needed for people with cancer.

Surgical oncologists can also diagnose tumours accurately and tell the difference between benign and cancerous tumours. They understand radiation oncology, medical oncology, and haematology.

Clinical Nurse Specialists

In ideal circumstances, Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS):

  • Give you information about the disease and side effects;
  • Give you emotional support;
  • Help you make decisions;
  • Assess your fitness for starting and maintaining treatment;
  • Are part of the multidisciplinary team looking after you;
  • Organise transport, accommodation and funding of these if you need it; and
  • Are always available to you and your families.

Oncology Liaison Nurses

The role of the Oncology Liaison Nurse is to meet the needs of people with cancer including:

  • Psychological;
  • Emotional; and
  • Information

They work with you in the:

  • Inpatient oncology unit;
  • Oncology day unit; and
  • Throughout the hospital with people who are referred to the oncology service through a consultant.

Oncology Liaison Nurses also provide support to the family and significant others, through listening, problem solving, and education. They provide outreach support to patients at home and help patients who need referral to specialist services.

Stoma therapists and nurses

The stoma therapist is responsible for helping you adjust to living with either a permanent or temporary stoma:

  • A colostomy;
  • Ileostomy; or
  • Urostomy

Your stoma therapist or nurse will show you how to care for your stoma and the skin around it. A number of different protective pastes, membranes and powders are available. Your stoma therapist or nurse will show you how to use these, and what to do if your skin becomes damaged or sore.

The role of the stoma therapist or nurse includes:

  • Pre-operative counselling;
  • Immediate post-operative care and education; and
  • Follow-up assessment and counselling after you are discharged from hospital.

Community Nurses

Your Community Nurse may come to your home to help with wound care and other aspects of your cancer treatment.


The psycho-oncology service, is usually part of the psychological medicine service which aims to provide expert, compassionate care to patients with cancer who are attending the hospital. It aims to:

  • Recognise psychological distress early;
  • Deliver best practice in terms of interventions; and
  • Promote psychological well-being.

This service is available in some of the larger hospitals:

  • During your diagnosis; and
  • Through treatment and recovery.

This service includes interventions and expertise ranging from psycho-education and self-directed learning to specific interventions. These interventions may be provided by:

  • Senior Clinical Nurse Specialists;
  • Principal Clinical Psychologists; and sometimes
  • Consultant Psychiatrists.

Where to go for complementary therapy

When you are treated in hospital for cancer you receive what we call ‘standard medical treatment’. Complementary treatments can be given along with standard treatment, but it is extremely important to make sure you have discussed the possibility with your oncologist or nurse before you plan this kind of therapy.

Many people find some of these therapies very helpful during their illness. They may help you to cope better with some of the physical side-effects of cancer and the distressing emotions that cancer can raise. Some therapies like these can also focus on spiritual healing. These are examples of different types of complementary therapies:

  • Acupuncture;
  • Aromatherapy;
  • Gentle massage;
  • Hypnotherapy;
  • Meditation;
  • Music, art and dance therapy;
  • Nutrition therapy;
  • Reflexology;
  • Relaxation;
  • Shiatsu;
  • Visualisation; and
  • Yoga

If you are interested in any of these complementary therapies, do speak to your oncologist first. Many of these therapies will be on offer in your local cancer support centres.

Alternatively, you can speak to your GP who can provide a contact for you. You will very likely need a supporting letter from your oncologist to receive this treatment. You will also receive a full assessment from a health professional at the support centre to make sure you are getting the right type of therapy for you. See a list of cancer support centres at the end of this section.

Counselling organisations

Coping with a diagnosis of cancer can be very difficult and very stressful on you and your family. A cancer diagnosis will change how you think about things and life itself will change.

Sometimes it is hard to come to terms with your diagnosis and you and your family will experience some reactions which are very common and normal, these emotions may include:

  • Shock and disbelief;
  • Denial;
  • Withdrawal and isolation;
  • Fear of dying;
  • Anger;
  • Loss of control;
  • Resentment;
  • Sorrow and sadness; and
  • Blame and guilt.

It may be difficult for you to come to terms with these feelings and emotions. You may even find it difficult to talk to close friends or relatives. It is therefore important for you to recognise this and ask for help. Counselling can provide you with the emotional support you need in a professional and confidential place.

If you feel that counselling is something you or a member of your family may need, do speak to your oncologist first. There are many qualified counsellors available in your local cancer support centres. Alternatively you can speak to your GP who can provide a contact for you.

You or any member of your family will receive a full assessment from a health professional or counsellor at the support centre to make sure you are getting the right type of support for you and your family.

Designated Cancer Centres and cancer support centres

Cancer treatment works best when the treatment team deals with large numbers of cases. This is why cancer care is mainly delivered in eight hospitals around Ireland. These hospitals can provide very specialised care for your type of cancer.

Below are the contact details for these Designated Cancer Centres; and for cancer support centres around the country.

Area Cancer Centre Phone Website
Dublin North East Beaumont University Hospital Main Switch 01 809 3000
Dublin East Mater University Hospital Oncology: 01 803 4447
St Vincent’s University Hospital Main Switch 01 221 4000

Dublin Midlands St James’s University Hospital Main Switch 01 410 3000, Stoma Care 01 410 3899
South/Southwest Cork University Hospital Main Switch 021 492 2000
Waterford Regional Hospital Main Switch 051 848 000
West/Northwest Galway University Hospital Main Switch 091 524 222
Satellite: Letterkenny General Hospital Main switch 074 912 5888
Midwest University Hospital Limerick Main switch 061 301 111


Cancer Support Centres

Name Address Phone Email
ARC House 65 Eccles Street, Dublin 7 01 830 7333
Arklow Cancer Support Centre 25 Kings Hill, Arklow, Wicklow 085 110 0066
Athlone Breast Cancer Support Group C/O Cancer Support Sanctuary, LARCC, Coole Road, Multyfarnham, Mullingar, Westmeath 1850 719 719/044 937 1971
Balbriggan Cancer Support Group Unit 23 Balbriggan Industrial Park, Harry Reynolds Rd, Balbriggan, Dublin 01 841 0116 / 087 353 2872
Balbriggan Cancer Support Group Unit 23 Balbriggan Industrial Park, Harry Reynolds Rd, Balbriggan, Dublin 01 841 0116 / 087 353 2872
Brain Tumour Support Group Medical Social Work Department, St Luke’s Hospital, Highfield Rd, Rathgar, Dublin 6 01 406 5163
Cois Nore – Kilkenny Cancer Support Centre Walkin Street, Kilkenny 056 775 2222
Canteen Ireland Carmichael Centre, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 01 8722012
Cara Cancer Support Centre 7 Williamson Place, Dundalk, Louth 087 395 5335
Dochas Offaly Cancer Support Teach Dóchas, Offaly Street, Tullamore, Offaly 057 9328268
Gary Kelly Cancer Support Centre George’s Street, Drogheda, Louth 041 9805100
Greystones Cancer Support La Touche Place, Greystones, Wicklow 01 2871601
Hope Cancer Support Centre 22 Upper Weafer Street, Enniscorthy, Wexford 053 923 8555
Midland Area Cancer Support Centre The LARCC Cancer Centre, Coole Road, Multyfarnham, Mullingar, Co Westmeath 044 9371971
Purple House Cancer Support Bray Aubrey Court, Parnell Road, Bray, Wicklow 01 286 6966
Tallaght Cancer Support Group Trustus House, 1-2 Main Street Tallaght, Tallaght, Dublin 24 086 4002736
The Cuisle Centre Cancer Support Service, Block Road, Portlaoise, Laois 057 868 1492
Wicklow Cancer Support Centre Unit 2 First Floor, Rear of Butlers Medical Hall Pharmacy, Abbey St, Wicklow 0404 32696/089 241 8167
Athenry Cancer Care Social Service Centre, Athenry, Galway 091 844319 / 087 4128080
Ballinasloe Cancer Support Centre Main Street, Ballinasloe, Galway 090 9645574
Cara Iorrais Cancer Support Centre 2 Church Street, Belmullet, Mayo 097 20590
Gort Cancer Support Group Garrabeg, Gort, Galway 091 648 606 / 086 172 4500
Hand in Hand Children’s Cancer Support Centre, Main Street, Oranmore, Galway 087 6600103
Mayo Cancer Support Association Rock Rose House, 32 St Patrick’s Ave, Castlebar, Mayo 094 9038407
Gort Cancer Support Group Garrabeg, Gort, Galway 091 648 606 / 086 172 4500
Sligo Cancer Support Centre 44 Wine Street, Sligo, Sligo 071 9170399
Tuam Cancer Care Centre Cricket Court, Dunmore Rd, Tuam, Galway 093 28522
East Galway and Midlands Cancer Support Centre Le Cheile, Brackernagh, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway 090 964 2088
Clare Cancer Support Centre Kilnamona, Ennis, Co Clare 1850 211 630
Midwestern Cancer Foundation  University Hospital Limerick, Dooradoyle, Limerick, Limerick 061 482 900
CARE Cancer Support Centre  4 Wellington St, Clonmel, Tipperary 052 6182667
Circle of Friends  Tipperary Cancer Support Centre, Station Rd, Enterprize Centre, Co. Tipperary 0873412600
Cork Brain Tumour Support Group   Chemotherapy Day Unit, Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Cork 087 146 5742
Kerry Cancer Support Group  Acorn Centre, Apt 124, Tralee Town Centre Apartments, Main St,Tralee, Kerry 066 7195560
Recovery Haven 5 Haig’s Terrace, Tralee, Kerry 066 7192122
Cork ARC Cancer Support House Cliffdale, 5 O’Donovan Rossa Road, Cork 021 427 6688
South Eastern Cancer Foundation / The Solas Centre The Solas Centre, Williamstown, Waterford 051 304 604
Suir Haven Cancer Support Centre Clongour Road, Clongour, Thurles, Tipperary 0504 21197
Donegal Action for Cancer Centre Moneygreggan, Newtowncunningham, Lifford, Co. Donegal 074 912 8400
Cuan Cancer Social Support and Wellness Group 2nd Floor Cootehill Credit Union, 22-24 Market St, Cootehill, Cavan 086 4556632


Other resources

If you are undergoing treatment for bowel cancer, this website has information on topics such as:

You can also download a copy of the free booklet, ‘Bowel Cancer: From diagnosis to recovery‘ here.

Bowel Cancer Booklet
‘Bowel Cancer: From diagnosis to recovery’ is a free booklet that is available for download from the Marie Keating Foundation


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