Queenslanders affected by lung cancer will be the focus of a Queensland-first call-in day today, to help overcome the stigma and distress many patients experience.
The Cancer Council initiative invites callers to reach out via 13 11 20.
More than 2000 Queenslanders are diagnosed with lung cancer every year, and the disease remains the leading cancer-related cause of death among both men and women.
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said those affected by lung cancer were often reluctant to seek the support they needed.
“We’re urging Queenslanders, their partners, children, family and friends impacted by lung cancer to call 13 11 20 today, Wednesday March 25 with any questions or concerns,” Ms Clift said.
“Those affected by lung cancer often battle with disease-related stigma, which sometimes stops people from reaching out for much-needed help.
“13 11 20 is a dedicated team of healthcare professionals, experienced in cancer care and support.
“Whether you have a practical concern, require psychosocial support or simply need a listening ear to talk through your challenges and experiences, our 13 11 20 staff are here to assist.”
Around 1600 Queenslanders will lose their lives to lung cancer each year.
“Tragically, survival rates for lung cancer are poor, and the majority of patients die within five years of their diagnosis,” Ms Clift said.
“Today’s call-in day aims to help destigmatize lung cancer, to try and improve survival rates by encouraging patients to access vital services and support.
“There is no routine screening for lung cancer – so it’s important for people who experience related symptoms, and those at risk, to talk with their GP immediately.
“Early diagnosis is crucial and can help to improve survival prospects from the disease.
“Our call-in day is also for the loved ones of those affected by lung cancer – if you’re concerned about family members or friends, help and understanding is only a phone call away.
“All Queenslanders affected by cancer can also access Cancer Council Queensland’s specialised cancer counselling service, staffed by qualified psychologists.
“Patients and their loved ones can get referrals from their doctor or through 13 11 20.
“On our call-in day 13 11 20 will continue to answer calls from all Queenslanders affected by all cancers, while targeting those specifically affected by lung cancer.”
Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 is a toll free landline call from anywhere in Queensland and offers information, resources and connection to support programs and advocacy services for those affected by cancer.
In 2014, more than 19,000 calls were made to Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 throughout Queensland, and more than 3100 Queenslanders sought information and support about the early diagnosis of cancer.
Open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm (excluding public holidays), 13 11 20 exists thanks to the generous donations, support and contributions of Queenslanders.
For more information or interviews, please contact:
Katie Clift, Executive Manager, Media and Spokesperson, Cancer Council Queensland