The Cancer Council is urging locals affected by cancer to reach out for support, with research showing less than one in four cancer sufferers are using their hotline.

On average, 455 people are diagnosed with cancer each year in Melton – last year just 93 contacted the Cancer Council for information and support.

In Moorabool the numbers are even lower, with just 33 of the 178 people diagnosed with cancer using the hotline.

The Cancer Council said its 13 11 20 nurses act as navigators and educators, enabling people to better understand their situation and the support options available to them.

Head of support services Katherine Lane said it was important that those living with or caring for someone with cancer made use of the support services available.

“Last year, 45 per cent of people who contacted 13 11 20 had cancer themselves, but many people who used our service did not, with 26 per cent being a carer or family member of someone with cancer, and 21 per cent general members of the public,” Ms Lane said.

“We also have many health professionals who contact us for information or to inquire about support for their patients.

“Whatever your situation, our nurses can provide emotional and practical support, can talk about the effects of specific types of cancer and explain what will happen during processes like chemotherapy, radiotherapy or other cancer treatments, or can link you with our wider range of support programs.

“You may like someone to simply have a chat with and to listen – that can be just as helpful as anything.”

The Cancer Council said it received more than 11,000 requests for support from people in Victoria last year, with the most common calls about practical issues (31 per cent), cancer treatment and management (18 per cent), early detection, screening and symptoms (17 per cent) and psychological or emotional support (15 per cent).