Coping with cancer over Christmas

Christmas is often a special occasion spent with friends and family, but for those who have been affected by cancer, it can be an incredibly difficult time.

It is important Queenslanders understand they are not alone during this period and help is just a phone call away via Cancer Council Queensland’s support team on the free and confidential 13 11 20 number.

Whether you have a question, concern or just need someone to talk to, the 13 11 20 support team is here for you this holiday season.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan urged Queenslanders needing support and information to reach out to the 13 11 20 team this Christmas period.

“With the focus on festivities and family during this time of year, it can be particularly hard for those who have lost someone to cancer, who are experiencing the impact of a cancer diagnosis or caring for someone with cancer,” said Ms McMillan.

Ms McMillan said that because of the generous support of the community, the 13 11 20 service is able to provide care to the 29,000 Queenslanders who are diagnosed with cancer in the state each year.

“Cancer Council Queensland work across every aspect of cancer, but we rely on the generosity of community donations to fund our work,” said Ms McMillan.

“Community support is instrumental to our work and significantly reduces the burden of cancer in the community.”

You don’t have to face cancer alone this Christmas – Cancer Council Queensland is here to help all Queenslanders, with all cancers, all year round.

For the 13 11 20 Christmas operating hours, please visit, /get-support/direct-support/call-for-support/.

More information on Cancer Council Queensland’s support and information services, please visit, /get-support/.


If you have recently been diagnosed with cancer, are going through treatment or have lost a loved one to the disease, the festive season can be challenging.

Here are several suggestions on ways to cope with cancer and grief during the festive season.

1. Be prepared. Having a plan in place for coping with cancer over the Christmas period can make the season less stressful. Keep in mind doctor and pharmacy operating hours may vary during the Christmas period, so it is valuable to plan ahead with appointments and medication. Talk to your GP or specialists about any specific concerns you may have around the Christmas period, whether it be emotional or physical, to ensure you are well prepared.

Side effects can also make the holiday period difficult to enjoy. It is a good idea to know who to contact in case of an emergency or if you require additional help over Christmas. Create a list of contacts and make sure you include Cancer Council Queensland’s 13 11 20 support and information service.

2. It’s okay to break tradition – try something new. Christmas can be difficult if you have recently lost a loved one or are dealing with a recent cancer diagnosis. Keep in mind that as circumstances change, traditions and rituals often change as well. If you have recently lost a loved one to cancer, try creating a new tradition in memory of that someone you lost. Keep in mind Christmas does not have to be perfect or the same as previous years.

3. Ask for a hand. Don’t be afraid to ask for help this Christmas if you are going through a stressful or emotional time.

4. Take time to rest. The holidays can be a mentally and physically exhausting time often resulting in fatigue. If you or a loved one are currently going through a cancer experience, make sure rest is prioritised. You are likely to have days when you are feeling good and days you are not. Make sure you don’t feel guilty about cancelling plans when you aren’t feeling up to them.

5. Keep up with healthy habits. In terms of managing stress over the Christmas period eating well, exercising and getting proper sleep can help manage stress and emotions.

6. Reach out for support. It can be helpful to discuss your feelings with loved ones or call Cancer Council Queensland on 13 11 20. Additional support can also be found 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through Lifeline (call 13 11 14).

For more information or interviews, please contact:
Brianna Burraston, Public Relations Coordinator, Cancer Council Queensland
E: P: (07) 3634 5308 or 0428 580 363