Support a call away over Christmas for FNQ cancer patients


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The Cancer Council wants Queenslanders to know that they are not alone during this time and that help is just a phone call away.

THE Cancer Council is reminding Far North Queensland locals affected by cancer that vital support is just a phone call away.

Some 1,860 calls were received by Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 number during last year’s festive period (December 2015 to January 2016), including approximately 85 from people living in Far North Queensland.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift urged Far North 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,” said Ms Clift.

One person is diagnosed with cancer every 20 minutes in Queensland and in Far North Queensland alone, more than 1,400 people are diagnosed each year and around 460 die from the disease.

Far North Queenslanders need to know that they are not alone during this time and that help is just a phone call away.

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

Tips for coping over Christmas:

• Be prepared and flexible. It is a good idea to plan ahead and know who to contact if you have a problem; try to be flexible about how you celebrate Christmas if things change.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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.

• Don’t abandon healthy habits. Eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep can help you cope with Christmas stress.

• 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.

• 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.

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