Every day our experienced team on 13 11 20 provide people with support and information on all aspects of cancer.
Here are some questions the team answered recently.
“I need to travel a long distance for cancer treatment and I’m not sure what costs are involved and what is available to me. What can I do?”
People with cancer often need to travel away from home to access cancer treatment facilities and specialists. To help meet this vital need, we have a number of accommodation lodges across Queensland.
These facilities provide ‘home away from home’ accommodation at low or no cost to eligible Queenslanders. People requiring treatment at major treating facilities who live further than fifty kilometres from the facility may be eligible for the Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme. This is provided by Queensland Health and contributes to travel and accommodation costs.
In Brisbane, CCQ has a free transport service which may be able to collect you from the airport or Roma street train station and take you to one of our lodges or accommodation close by; transport you from one of our lodges to a nearby treatment facility; or possibly transport you to treatment facilities via our Transport to Treatment program.
If you are a public patient, most treatments are covered under Medicare however you need to check any additional expenses such as scans and medications, as well as car parking. Social Workers at public hospitals are key to identifying any available supports or financial assistance which may assist to manage the additional unexpected expenses.
“I’ve just been diagnosed with cancer and I feel overwhelmed. Where do I start?”
Firstly, a diagnosis of cancer is overwhelming for most people and we all respond differently to feelings of being overwhelmed or distressed. It is helpful to identify the key specialist or your GP and make an appointment to have a chat about what the diagnosis means, the treatment options, the possible side effects and possible time frames for treatments. Accurate information relevant to your situation is important so that you are dealing with facts and not information unrelated to your situation.
We have resources about a whole range of cancer types, as well as general information about treatments and managing side effects. These resources are regularly reviewed and reflect current practice. We always recommend you speak to your doctor or members of your treating team about your specific information.
It can be helpful to map out the practical issues such as work, finances, home routines and transport so that supports can be identified and people who want to assist are directed to what is most relevant to your needs. Getting support for the emotions you are likely to be experiencing is also helpful so you have a safe place to talk about what you’re feeling – this may be within your family and friend network, as well as a health professional who has knowledge of the cancer experience. We have emotional support services which may be of assistance to you.
“What can I do to reduce my risk of cancer?”
At least one third of all cancer cases can be prevented through healthy lifestyle choices. Each year, more than 13,000 cancer deaths are due to smoking, sun exposure, poor diet, alcohol, inadequate exercise or being overweight. Fortunately, there are a number of lifestyle changes you can make to help reduce your risk of cancer such as:
• Maintain a healthy weight
• Eat a healthy diet
• Reduce alcohol intake
• Exercise regularly
• Quit smoking
• Be SunSmart
• Get vaccinated (HPV and Hepatitis B vaccination)
• Get to know your body and get checked.
Additionally, we encourage you to participate in cancer screening as treatment can be more successful when cancer is found early. There are three national screening programs you can which are free of charge for eligible participants:
• National Bowel Cancer Screening Program
• National Cervical Screening Program
• BreastScreen Australia
Can we help you or someone you love?
If you have been affected by cancer, or know someone who is, we’re here to help. For information and support call 13 11 20 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.