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Cancer Council is here to support people this festive season

21st December 2017 - Patient support

The holiday season can pose many challenges for people who are affected by cancer. Feelings of loneliness, isolation and sadness are more common than people think – which is even more challenging at a time which is traditionally full of celebrations.

As the only organisation to work across every area of every cancer, Cancer Council has a range of information and support services available to assist during this festive season.

The Cancer Council Online Community provides people currently living with cancer, cancer survivors, families, carers, friends and the wider cancer community the opportunity to connect, share experiences and find information and support in a safe forum. Its available 24/7 and from any online device, regardless of their location or travel distance from physical support groups.

Cancer Council NSW Cancer Support Services Director, Annie Miller, said the Cancer Council Online Community aims to reduce isolation by encouraging people affected by cancer to share their stories and build meaningful online relationships with other people in similar situations.

“What we are seeing through our peer support programs is more and more people are now turning to digital platforms for information and support, to connect with others who can relate to what they are experiencing.”

“The platform is designed to complement existing Cancer Council NSW information and support services, connecting people with each other in real time, regardless of when they seek information, or where they live. The entire website is also moderated and community managed by qualified health professionals – which is particularly beneficial during this time of year when support can be limited,” said Ms Miller.

“If you’re caring for a loved one with cancer, our Cancer Council Online Community also has a dedicated channel for family, friends and carers with advice and information on a range of topics including how to help a loved one through diagnosis and treatment, how to access financial and legal support and coping with grief and loss.

“When caring for someone with cancer it’s important to look after yourself as well, and the Cancer Council Online Community is always available to offer support.”

The Cancer Council 13 11 20 telephone information and support service is free, confidential and also available over part of the holiday period*. Specially trained health professional staff are available to answer questions about cancer and offer emotional and practical support for anyone affected by cancer – including cancer patients, people living with cancer, their families, carers and friends, teachers, students and healthcare professionals.

Using the range of services available, people affected by cancer can discuss their experiences and share stories, tips and coping strategies to help normalise concerns and reduce social isolation this festive period.

*please see notes to editors for holiday hours.

-ENDS-

Notes to Editors:

Cancer Council Online Community

The Cancer Council Online Community is available 24/7 for people 18 years and over. People under 18 years old are advised to visit CanTeen Australia’s website which is tailored for this age group.

The Cancer Council Online Community is a platform where people are encouraged to share their stories in a safe space. Anyone seeking information can view the content within the website, including blogs, online discussions, and all public information. However only community members can engage on the platform e.g. comment, publish blogs, interact with other members etc. Everyone has anonymity so there is no added worry about people knowing who they are.

The Cancer Council Online Community caters for everyone who has been affected or touched by cancer. While breast cancer and bowel cancer tend to be prevalent, we want to cultivate the same safe space for any cancer type. There are also groups for less talked about cancers.

When people visit the Cancer Council Online Community home page they are immediately presented with bespoke pathways to ensure they are connecting with people in similar situations i.e.

  • I have cancer
  • I had cancer
  • Family, friends and carers

Cancer Council 13 11 20 Information and Support holiday hours

Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 Information and Support Service is a confidential service where you can speak or email a specialist health professional about anything to do with cancer, including:

  • A question about cancer
  • Support if you or someone you care about has cancer
  • How to cope with treatment and its side effects
  • Assistance with legal, financial and transport to treatment
  • End of life care
  • Information about services, resources or support groups

Cancer Council 13 11 20 Information and Support service will be available on the following dates:

  • 27, 28 and 29 December: 10am – 6pm (AEDT)
  • 2 January: 9am – 5pm (AEDT)

Outside of these hours, callers will be re-directed to alternative support services. Please note – there will be no 13 11 20 Information and Support service on the following public holidays:

  • 25 and 26 December
  • 1 January

Normal operational hours (Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm) will resume on Wednesday 3 January.

Other support services:

  • Carry after hours contacts for your treating doctor and hospital
  • Lifeline 13 11 14 (24 hour service) and online chat
  • Your local GP
  • Emergency – 000 (24 hours)
  • Family Relationship Advice Line – 1800 050 321 (8am to 8pm M – F and Sat 10 – 4pm. Closed on public holidays)
  • NSW Mental Health Line 1800 011 511 (24 hours)
  • Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Helpline 1800 200 526 (24 hours)
  • Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Counselling Line 1800 737 732 (24 hours)
  • Men’s Line – 1300 78 99 78 (24 hours)
  • Kids Helpline (5 – 25 years) 1800 551 800 (24 hours)
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