A message for patients coping with cancer over Christmas

The festive season can be a difficult time when you or someone you know is affected by cancer, so Cancer Council Queensland is reminding people that support is only a phone call away.

Around 1582 people contacted Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 service over last year’s holiday period (December 2017 to January 2018) in Queensland.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan urged Queenslanders affected by cancer to reach out via 13 11 20 if they needed support and information.

“With the focus on festivities and family at 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,” Ms McMillan said.

“One person is diagnosed with cancer every 20 minutes in Queensland – and we want people to know that help is just a phone call away.

“Whether you have been diagnosed with cancer,  a friend, family member or carer of someone who has been diagnosed, or you have a question about preventing cancer – the 13 11 20 team of health professionals understands and is available to help.”

Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 is a free, confidential service, that supports people in need, made possible through the generosity and contributions of Queenslanders.

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

“This year, with your help, we hope to raise more than $380,000 from our annual Christmas appeal, so we can continue supporting those affected by cancer and investing in lifesaving research programs to give hope for better treatments and early detection methods.

“Every dollar raised will help give families affected by cancer more Christmases together, so if please give a gift of hope this festive season and donate what you can.”

Donate to Cancer Council Queensland’s Christmas Appeal via donate.cancerqld.org.au or call 1300 663 936.

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available on 13 11 20 or cancerqld.org.au.


For more information, please contact:

Lisa Maynard, Manager, Public Relations and Social Media
Cancer Council Queensland
(07) 3634 5171 or E. lisamaynard@cancerqld.org.au

Festive season hours of operation for 13 11 20:
  • Monday, December 24, 9am to 5pm
  • Tuesday, December 25 and Wednesday, December 26, closed
  • Thursday, December 27 and December 28, 8am to 4pm
  • Monday, December 31, 8am to 4pm
  • Tuesday, January 1, closed
Tips for coping over Christmas

For some, the festive season is a time for celebration, while for others it may be a challenging time due to stress or grief.

Here are five suggestions on ways to cope at this time of year.

1. Adjust expectations and stay flexible. Try building in a Plan B for festive celebrations in case you or your loved one needs a break. Before attending an event, you can alert the host that you may need to leave early, depending on how you feel. You might organise a few different options for activities, so that you can adapt to how you or a loved one feels on the day. It can be very useful to plan ahead and schedule rest time in-between commitments.

2. It’s okay to say no. Only take on what you can copy with and remember that it’s okay to say no to visitors or invitations. Every person’s resources are limited, and some adjustments to the usual schedule can help to preserve your energy.

3. Share the tasks. Ask those around you for assistance where possible – that may be help with shopping, food and presents, or travel arrangements. Friends and family will also understand if you can’t participate or put your hand up for every project or activity.

4. Acknowledge mixed feelings. Christmas can come with a sense of pressure to stay happy and positive which can feel exhausting. If possible, try to take the mental pressure off the day. There might be moments that you enjoy, and other moments where you feel sad or anxious. Mixed feelings about the day are completely normal. It is usually better to take each moment as it comes and acknowledge both pleasant and difficult emotions. This can relieve the emotional pressure, rather than expecting yourself to ‘stay positive’ for the sake of the occasion.

5. Reach for support. The holidays can be a difficult time for many reasons. It can be helpful to discuss your feelings with loved ones, or call Cancer Council on 13 11 20 for information and support. Support can also be found 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through Lifeline (call 13 11 14).