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Coping with cancer over the holiday season

Tuesday 15 December, 2015

The holiday season is a special time of year, but for those who have been touched by cancer and have experienced a major change or loss in their life it can often be difficult.

To support those diagnosed with cancer, their friends and family, Cancer Council Victoria has developed the Coping over the holiday season factsheet, which outlines tips and advice on how people can plan for the holiday season to make it as special and restful as possible.

Carolyn Rogers, a survivor of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, said this time of year can be particularly tough for those who have been touched by cancer.

“After being diagnosed with a cancer, the festive season becomes an emotional and difficult time. It is most important to have the support of your family and friends to help out and ease the load, especially when you are feeling tired and unwell,” Carolyn said.

Katherine Lane, Nurse Manager at Cancer Council Victoria, said her team of cancer nurses receive hundreds of calls on the 13 11 20 information and support line from people affected by cancer during the holiday season.

“This can be a very difficult time for people affected by cancer. We speak to people who are fearful that this may be their last holiday season. Others may be worried that their feelings and emotions may dampen the celebrations for others or that they may experience frustrating delays in appointments, treatments and results over this period,” she said.

Todd Harper, Cancer Council Victoria CEO said it is not only those who have been personally diagnosed who may find this time of year tough, encouraging family and friends who are finding it a lonely and sad time of the year without a loved one also to seek support.

“Cancer Council’s experienced cancer nurses are here to listen to people’s cancer experiences and share emotional and practical support to help them cope with the challenges or feelings of sadness that they may be facing.”

Some tips for coping over the holiday season include setting realistic expectations for your friends and loved ones, keeping activities simple and non-strenuous, and seeking support.

For more information download the factsheet or call 13 11 20.