Skip to main content

The CSF maintains a national advice service where health care professionals answer questions about cancer by phone, email or online chat.

Nurses also provide genetic counselling. The service is free of charge.

The global coronavirus pandemic was reflected in the number of contacts received by the helpline. There was great concern about the impact of the coronavirus and the restrictions on cancer patients’ lives. The national helpline received positive feedback about its accessibility and the opportunity to address the concerns and anxiety caused by the Covid-19 situation. The service received about 6,300 contacts in 2020.

Cancer pain hotline

The Cancer pain hotline, a telephone counselling service provided by the Helsinki University Hospital’s Pain Clinic and the CSF, offers nationwide cancer pain phone counselling for patients, loved ones and healthcare professionals. The coronavirus pandemic was also reflected in the number of calls to the cancer pain hotline.

The Cancer pain hotline is answered by a specialist pain treatment nurse, who when necessary consults a physician specialised in pain management. The reasons why people contacted the hotline included uncontrollable pain, insufficient pain medication, problems with using medication, and a lack of knowledge of whom to contact when pain medication is inadequate.

Benefits advice phone service

The free benefits helpline helps cancer patients with matters to do with their income and benefits. The service was provided by the Cancer Society of Pirkanmaa and answered by licensed social workers working with health social work.

The focus was particularly on issues concerning personal income due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy. The social workers who answered the phone held a Teams-info on benefits counselling for all member associations of the CSF.

Genetic counselling

Genetic counselling helps people who are worried about their predisposition to inherited cancer to ascertain whether to investigate further. At the CSF, genetic counselling is provided by nurses trained in counselling about inherited cancer, who answer questions on inherited cancer on a general level. A medical officer specialised in cancer genetics then evaluates the need for further investigation.

In 2020, 232 people contacted the CFS’s genetic counselling, of whom 78 were clients of the national counselling service. The Cancer Society of Pirkanmaa’s genetic counselling clients were transferred to the services of a CSF specialist physician.

The 2020 Pink Ribbon campaign focused on cancer inheritability and increased discussions on genetic counselling in all branches of counselling.

Other activities

The Covid-19 pandemic caused major changes in the advisory services of regional member associations, as restrictions prevented face-to-face meetings and courses. Member associations were forced to develop new forms of advice and started local chat services as a new activity. The national helpline organised a two-day chat training course for helpline managers and executive directors of member associations and patient organisations.

The cooperation with vocational colleges aims to strengthen the cancer knowledge of health professionals and their capacity to apply best practices in health promotion, psychosocial support and rehabilitation support in their work. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, lectures previously held at universities of applied sciences were moved online. The Head of Advice Services gave 14 lectures via Zoom at different universities of applied sciences in the capital region.

Cooperation with FICAN’s regional cancer centres continued on cancer prevention, psychosocial support and rehabilitation support. The advice service focused on identifying the need for psychosocial support and writing about the different methods of help offered by the CSF at different stages of the patient pathway. The aim is to establish the CSF as a natural part of the patient’s care chain as a partner in the care system.

Rehabilitation. The advice service organised two national BRCA rehabilitation courses coordinated by a geneticist. Both the BRCA support course for patients and the BRCA support course for healthy persons were run as an online Teams course.

Training. For several years, the advice service has organised a cancer seminar together with Fioca Ltd – the training and publishing company of the Finnish Nurses Association – for nurse counsellors and health care professionals . In 2020, the seminar had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. At the same time, the multi-year collaboration with Fioca came to an end.

The national advice service organised various Teams training courses and cooperation workshops to strengthen cancer knowledge for advisors, executive directors and staff of the member associations.

Financial support. The CSF Social Committee assists cancer patients who face financial difficulties with grants from the Cancer Foundation. Applications received by the CSF are prepared by the advice service, after which the Social Committee makes decisions about the beneficiaries.

In view of the move to teleworking, it was recommended that applications be submitted electronically. The number of applications has increased year by year.