Help for cancer patients

CANCER can be an unwelcome guest at the dinner table on Christmas day.

The Cancer Council Victoria has released a new fact sheet 'Coping with cancer over the holiday season'  to help people cope with feelings of loneliness, isolation and sadness.

Senior Cancer Helpline nurse Carole Arbuckle said the festive season could be a painful reminder of how different life has become for people dealing with cancer.

"Everyone has expectations at this time of year, at Christmas," she said.

"For many people with cancer there's an added challenge of different expectations - that can be their own expectations and sometimes it might be people around them who don't understand what Christmas must be like for people who are going through cancer."

Ms Arbuckle said people with cancer dealt with emotional, physical and psychological issues.

"Eating and drinking for some people with cancer can be an issue.

"It might mean they've got a lack of appetite, they're dealing with nausea or taste changes which is actually a big problem for people going through chemotherapy.

"We have a list of things that we can suggest to people that can be helpful and it also just helps to take the added pressure off family and friends.

"Quite often tiredness is something people going through treatment or people with more advanced cancer experience.

"So getting some general, practical tips about how to manage around the tiredness rather than the person trying to push themselves through."

People can call the Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20.

Bendigo resident Teresa Jones knows all too well what it's like to experience Christmas with cancer.

Read Ms Jones' story online at

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