23 December 2013
The festive season can be a stressful and challenging time for those who have had their lives affected by cancer, and Cancer Council SA wants to remind people that support is available during this period.
With almost 100 calls received by Cancer Council Helpline over last year’s Christmas/New Year period, it is the best way to access support, services and information.
An experienced nurse counsellor who understands the impact of cancer is there to assist callers, which may vary from someone with cancer, to a family member, friend, carer or health professional helping someone with cancer.
Cancer Council SA Chief Executive, Professor Brenda Wilson, said that this time of year is often a challenging one for many people who have had their lives touched by cancer.
“For many people, this will be their first Christmas without a loved one, while for others it will be time to reflect on those friends and family who were taken too soon, something I will personally be doing,” Professor Wilson said.
“With 25 South Australians diagnosed with cancer every day, it will also be a time when the challenge of cancer will remain the sole focus for many people and their families.
“We want people to know that they are not alone during this time and we are here to support them.
“Often people affected by cancer can feel upset, frightened and overwhelmed.
“Whether it is someone affected by cancer, someone who has lost a loved one or someone simply requiring more information, Cancer Council is here to provide assistance.”
Eve Raets, whose father was treated for bowel cancer over a previous Christmas period, says it’s important to know help is available.
“Trying to celebrate Christmas while a family member is sick can be hard,” Miss Raets, 22, of Bellevue Heights, said.
“People are not sure how to act, and it feels strange to be celebrating during such an uncertain time. It definitely changes things.”
She urged people to contact Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20, which will be open during the holiday period.
“You may need someone to talk to, and that’s ok. People need to give themselves a break and the chance to be happy. But you can’t always do that on your own.”
Cancer Council nurse counsellors can clarify medical terms, procedures and treatments; inform you about services that may be helpful; provide you with printed information; talk with you about your cancer experience or just listen.
Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20, is available Monday to Friday, 9.00am – 5.00pm over the Christmas/New Year period (excluding public holidays).
Tips for coping over Christmas:
• Be flexible about the way you celebrate Christmas this year
• Ask for assistance to do the shopping or look to buy online
• Consider sharing your feelings with your loved ones
• After a loved one has passed, be kind and gentle with yourself
• Plan ahead and know who to contact if you have a problem
• If this Christmas is difficult, it does not signify how every Christmas will be