Support only a call away over Christmas for Queensland cancer patients

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The festive season can be a challenging time for Queenslanders affected by cancer, and Cancer Council is reminding locals that vital support is just a phone call away.

Around 1860 calls were received by Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 over last year’s holiday period (December 2015 to January 2016).

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift 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 a cancer diagnosis or caring for someone with cancer,” Ms Clift said.

“One person is diagnosed with cancer every 20 minutes in Queensland – about 26,000 people per year.

“We want Queenslanders to know that they are not alone during this time and that help is just a phone call away.

“Whether you’re a cancer patient, a friend, family member or carer of someone who has been diagnosed, or you have a question about preventing cancer – our 13 11 20 team understands and is available to help.

“Our qualified health professionals offer advice on prevention and early detection, diagnosis, treatment, recurrence and more.

“They also provide referral to specialised services and support.”

Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm (excluding public holidays), Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 is a free, confidential service, supporting people in need thanks to the generosity and contributions of Queenslanders.

Ms Clift said with the continued generosity of Queenslanders, more families could spend Christmas together.

“This year, with your help, we hope to raise more than $460,000 for cancer research and services from our annual Christmas appeal, to directly benefit locals,” Ms Clift said.

“Each donation will help light up the lives of more than 26,000 Queenslanders affected by cancer each year.”

Donate to Cancer Council Queensland’s Christmas Appeal before December 23 via or call 1300 663 936.

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available on 13 11 20 or

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 seven suggestions on ways to cope at this time of year.

  1. Be prepared and flexible. It is a good idea to plan ahead and know who to contact if you have a problem, but try to be flexible about how you celebrate Christmas if things change.
  2. Be gentle with yourself. Only take on what you can cope with. Remember, if this Christmas is difficult, it does not signify how every Christmas will be.
  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. Talk about changes. Consider sharing your feelings with your loved ones or with a health professional. It is important to keep in mind children may also cope better to changes to the Christmas routine if they understand what is happening.
  5. Don’t abandon healthy habits. Eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep can help you cope with Christmas stress.
  6. Take a breather. Coping with cancer is demanding, both for your body and your mind. At times you may find yourself so caught up in worries that it is hard to think about anything else. Mindfulness can be a useful way to manage the demands of cancer and the associated uncertainty.
  7. Create new traditions. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or like previous years. It is important to keep in mind that as families change, traditions and rituals often change as well. You don’t have to face cancer alone – Cancer Council Queensland is here to help all Queenslanders, all cancers, all year round. The free and confidential 13 11 20 service is available Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm (excluding public holidays).

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