North Queenslanders with cancer urged to seek help during Cyclone Debbie

With Cyclone Debbie predicted to hit the state’s north tomorrow, Cancer Council is reminding those affected by cancer to contact 13 11 20 for up-to-date advice and practical support.

Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 is available between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday, providing patients and families with the latest health service information and emotional support.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said access to treatment services and routines may be disrupted during and after Cyclone Debbie makes landfall, and people shouldn’t be afraid to seek help.

“If you, or someone you know, has cancer – it’s important to access the most up-to-date, accurate and reliable information during and after a natural disaster,” Ms McMillan said.

“Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 can assist by providing cancer-related information, and a listening ear to those who need to talk about their experience.

“If your treatment plan has changed following an evacuation or severe weather event, you might have questions about what this means for you.

“13 11 20 is here to take your call and assist where possible. It’s also important to have an emergency plan in place in case new symptoms arise or you can’t access your local hospital.”

Cancer Council Queensland recommends Queenslanders with cancer follow a series of important rules before, during and after a natural disaster occurs:

    • Wash your hands as often as possible or use an antibacterial hand wash. This is the single most important action you can do to keep yourself safe from germs.
    • If you are unsure about the safety of the drinking water, drink only bottled water. If you have access or boil water for at least one full minute and allow to cool before drinking.
    • Be very careful with food and food preparation.

“If locals have an emergency or notice any new symptoms, we advise them to go to their nearest emergency treatment centre, or the emergency department at the nearest hospital,” Ms McMillan said.

“If you cannot access an emergency department you should try to contact your treatment team or a hospital directly and they will make suitable arrangements for transporting you to a treating area.

“Some regional areas provide telephone support for patients who cannot reach their usual treatment centre.

“For more information, locals affected can call 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84).”

Cancer Council Queensland has published a Coping with cancer after a natural disaster factsheet online.

The factsheet provides information about emergency symptoms, advice if treatment plans or hospitals change and general advice about hygiene and living conditions.

The local community can access the factsheet via the homepage at Cancer Council can assist on 13 11 20, or via

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at

For more information or interviews, please contact:
Katie Clift,
Executive Manager,
Media and Spokesperson,
Cancer Council Queensland
Phone: (07) 3634 5372
Mobile: 0409 001 171