Daffodil. Cancer Council
Photo Bev Lacey / The Chronicle
Daffodil. Cancer Council Photo Bev Lacey / The Chronicle Bev Lacey

Holidays can be tough for people living with cancer

THE holiday season can pose many challenges for Northern Rivers residents affected by cancer. Feelings of loneliness, isolation and sadness are more common than people think - which is even more challenging at a time 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. It is available 24/7 and from any online device, regardless of users' location or travel distance from physical support groups.

Christina Mastoris, Community Programs Coordinator, at Cancer Council's Byron Bay office 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.

"The platform is designed to complement existing Cancer Council 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 Mastoris.

"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, offering 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.

For more information about the Cancer Council Online Community, visit: www.cancercouncil.com.au/OC