Staff profile: Robyn Fanning

Five years ago, Robyn Fanning joined Cancer Council Queensland’s support team. This month, she sat down with us to share her passion for working with patients and carers at our Gluyas Rotary lodge in Townsville. 

What have you enjoyed most about your work with Cancer Council Queensland?

 I joined Cancer Council Queensland because I wanted a rewarding role where I could make a positive impactI enjoy sitting and having a cuppa with the residents, giving them the opportunity to share their story.   It’s my job to listen and ensure they have access to support and services when they’re most vulnerable and distressed. 

What do those diagnosed with cancer need most when they first arrive? 

Often, you’re surprised at what’s most important at that point in time – animals and gardens really matter to them. In the North you hear people asking, “Who is going to water my garden? Will my roses die?”  

The practical impacts of cancer are the priority for people before dealing with the emotional aspects. 

My role is also about supporting carers. I gently remind them it is important to prioritise their own self-care and seek the help they need.     


“People sometimes assume my work would be depressing. It’s quite the opposite, the hope, inspiration, and courage that people have inspires every day.” 


Have you seen the gap regional Queenslanders face when seeking cancer treatment? 

Travelling to rural and remote communities showed me how their needs differ from people in the city.   

Thankfully advances in medical technology have meant people don’t need to be away from home as long as they used to.  I recall women with breast cancer opting to have a mastectomy vs. lumpectomy and radiation just to minimize their time away from home.