One in four people reaching out for support through Cancer Council Queensland’s 13 11 20 are carers of Queensland cancer patients, figures show.
The role of becoming a cancer carer can pose significant risks to mental and emotional health, with many carers reporting elevated levels of psychological distress.
Cancer Council Queensland is urging carers to talk about their concerns by dialing through to 13 11 20 for support and information during National Carers Week, October 15-21.
Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said carers faced a range of emotional challenges following the diagnosis of a friend or family member.
“Carers can experience a lot of confusion, stress, anxiety and a range of mental health challenges when someone they are close to is diagnosed with cancer,” Ms McMillan said.
“Often carers feel apprehensive about seeking support as they aren’t the ones diagnosed, but we want to remove that stigma and help family and friends reach out for the help they need.
“One quarter of callers to 13 11 20 are carers, often in need of support to help get them through a difficult time or information on how to care for a patient.
“Cancer Council Queensland offers support, information, referrals and resources to carers – or simply a listening ear if they need it.”
In Australia, around 2.7 million carers provide around 1.9 billion hours of unpaid care each year, giving time and energy to provide hope, support and assistance to those most in need.
In Queensland alone, around 10 per cent of the population are currently in a carers role.
“Anyone can become a carer at any time. In Queensland more than 27,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer this year – many will need the ongoing care and support of a carer throughout their journey,” Ms McMillan said.
“Whether the carer is a family member, neighbour, or friend of a cancer patient, carers help those diagnosed with cancer achieve the best possible quality of life.
“While providing care can be a rich source of satisfaction in people’s lives, we know that it can be very challenging.
“If you are a carer and need support, we are just a phone call away.
“Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 is serviced by a dedicated team of healthcare professionals, experienced in cancer care and support.”
Since January, more than 8878 calls have been made to Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 throughout Queensland with 2154 from carers alone.
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, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.
More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available via 13 11 20 or cancerqld.org.au.