Around 80 per cent of Queensland cancer survivors do not receive the care or support they need after treatment, a Queensland-first research study has found.
Cancer Council Queensland will today (World Cancer Day) reveal the first findings of its 1000 Survivor Study – an Australian-first project assessing the physical, emotional and practical concerns of cancer survivors.
The 1000 Survivor Study found 94 per cent of Queensland cancer survivors surveyed experienced physical concerns following cancer treatment, but 78 per cent did not receive care to address one or more of these concerns.
Around 95 per cent also reported one or more emotional concerns after treatment, but 82 per cent did not seek help with coping for one or more of these concerns.
Cancer Council Queensland CEO and Board Member of the Union for International Cancer Control, Professor Jeff Dunn AO, said the findings were a call for joint action.
“An overwhelming number of Queensland cancer survivors are experiencing physical and emotional challenges that adversely impact on their daily lives,” Prof Dunn said.
“Our survey – the first of its kind in Queensland – highlights a significant breakdown in the post-treatment care of cancer survivors.
“As a community, we must do more to empower cancer survivors by promoting access to services and support that improve their health and wellbeing.
“This is not beyond us – we have the know-how – as a community we need to strengthen connections with those affected by cancer to ensure they can attain an optimal quality of life.”
Around 72 per cent of survivors who didn’t seek care for physical concerns and 66 per cent who didn’t seek help for emotional concerns reported they had ‘learned to live’ with their condition.
“The most commonly reported physical concerns were energy, sexual function, concentration, neuropathy and pain,” Prof Dunn said.
“Depression, grief and identity, and a fear of cancer recurring were the most commonly reported emotional issues.
“This World Cancer Day we urge anyone affected by cancer to reach out for support via 13 11 20.
“Equally, we encourage all members of the community to be more aware of cancer care and to promote cancer prevention and early detection.”
Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 information and support line offers patients information, advice, and referrals to services such as Cancer Council’s free statewide Cancer Counselling Service, which provides phone or face-to-face counselling.
The 1000 Survivor Study was undertaken in 2014 and surveyed 1030 men and women to better understand the physical, emotional and practical concerns of cancer survivors in Queensland.
For more information, Queenslanders can call 13 11 20 or visit survivorstudy.org.au or cancerqld.org.au.
For more information or interviews, please contact:
Katie Clift, Executive Manager, Media and Spokesperson, Cancer Council Queensland
Ph: (07) 3634 5372 or 0409 001 171