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Volunteers Needed for Survivor Telephone Line

CancerWise - April 2008

By Darcy De Leon

Would you be willing to share your cancer experience with a newly diagnosed cancer patient? If so, call the Anderson Network to become a member of its telephone support committee.

The group matches telephone volunteers with patients or caregivers who have had similar diagnoses or treatment plans. Volunteers are accepted regardless of where cancer treatment was received.

Calls are not made to volunteers' homes

All calls are received at the Anderson Network office, not the volunteers' homes. This is so staff members can document calls and find the right match between callers and volunteers. The Anderson Network office is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CST, Monday through Friday. However, telephone support volunteers are available almost anytime to return calls, and volunteers can return calls from their homes.

Callers need listening ear, support and hope

A volunteer's personal story and willingness to listen could make the difference in another person’s ability to cope with cancer. The Anderson Network's motto is: “Sometimes the best help comes from someone who’s been there.”

Volunteers also may answer callers' questions.

Questions might include:

  • How to:
    • Deal with treatment side effects
    • Cope with the disease
    • Take care of themselves emotionally
  • Where to find:
    • Support groups
    • Financial assistance

Volunteers do not answer medical questions or give medical advice. They also are not allowed to suggest that patients seek treatment at M. D. Anderson or another specific cancer center.

Special areas of experience needed

Volunteers with particular treatments or cancers are especially needed.

Areas of experience include:

  • Proton therapy
  • Minimally invasive, robotic prostatectomy
  • Various types of breast reconstruction
  • Advanced gynecologic cancers
  • Stomach cancer
  • Penile cancer
  • Clinical trial experience

In addition, the Anderson Network is seeking those who speak languages other than English, particularly Spanish, and caregivers of children with cancer. They're also in need of adult survivors of pediatric cancers for the new Pediatric Caregiver Telephone Support Network.

To volunteer, call the Anderson Network at 713-792-2553 or 800-345-6324.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center