Leaving mob for treatment

Leaving family, Country and mob for tests or cancer treatment in bigger towns or cities is not always easy, but there is help available. Mob who have been through similar experiences say that with the right support and being prepared, everything works out okay. 

It’s important to complete your cancer treatment to give yourself the best opportunity to get the outcomes you and your medical team want. Don’t let travel or being away from home hinder your treatment, there is help and support available.

This page has some information and tips to help you find the support you need to travel away from home to complete your cancer treatment. 

Practical things

Here’s some things to think about if you’re away from home:

  • Ask others to help to look after kids, grandkids and others you care for.
  • Ask others to provide meals for your family while you’re away.
  • Ask for help to look after your home while you’re away - collect the mail, feed pets, water gardens and plants, mow lawns and keep an eye on the place.
  • Let friends and neighbours know you will be away and how to get in touch with you.
  • Check when bills due and either pay in advance, ask someone to pay while you’re away or contact the utility service to seek assistance.
  • Arrange sick leave with your employer and check if you have any special leave available.
  • Check what insurance and superannuation options you might have.
  • Check the weather to ensure you have appropriate clothes.
  • Take some home comforts with you like favourite foods, books, blankets, photos, music, or sentimental items.
  • Take Country with you, if possible (sand or soil, shells, leaves, feathers, flowers.)
  • Committees, volunteering or other roles you have – let people know you’ll be away or won’t be up to things for a while.
  • Conduct any important cultural business or ceremony before you leave.

You’ll put your mind at ease knowing these things are sorted out. 

Getting help with travel and accommodation

Yarn with your Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander health worker or a hospital Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander liaison officer or social worker to see what financial assistance is available for you and your family for travel and accommodation. Read more about support for travel and support for accommodation

What to take with you

You will need to take a bunch of things with to give to your doctors for tests and cancer treatment as well personal items for yourself:

  • letters from your doctor, if you have them
  • X-rays or test results, if you have them
  • travel and accommodation paperwork
  • Medicare card and any pension or concession cards
  • list of regular medicine you may be taking
  • identification (such as a driver’s license)
  • mobile phone and charger
  • comfortable clothes and shoes
  • money and a credit card, if you have one

Culture and wellbeing

Good quality health care providers know how to do holistic health care for and with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. That includes caring for mind, body, spirit and Country - keeping us connected to Country even when we are in hospital. There are ways to keep connected to Country while having tests and treatment and to keep our spirit strong.

Take Country with you on your journey. Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people have such a strong connection to Country. We need to feel safe when we leave our mob, so make sure you have someone that can travel with you.

Remember that tests and treatment are just a part of your cancer journey. Make time before you leave home to soak in what’s around you so that when you’re away for tests and treatment, you’re taking a bit of home with you in your heart and mind. This can give us strength for the journey ahead. It is important for your health and wellbeing to feel safe and respected. 

Unfortunately, at times you may experience racism along your cancer journey. Read the where to get help and support on our Rights and Racism page

Yarn with your Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander health worker about how to stay strong in body, spirit and mind while you’re away from home. 

Life with and after cancer


Where can I get help and support?