The Irish Cancer Society says it is receiving increasingly distressed calls to its Support Line in the new wave of the pandemic.
Cancer patients and their families are feeling significant anxiety about the unknown consequences of Covid restrictions on their own care plan.
Director of Services Donal Buggy said: “Over the Christmas period we noticed the level of anxiety and distress increasing on calls to our Support Line. Calls are taking longer as our nurses deal with increasingly challenging problems and questions from members of the public.
“Uncertainty is one of the biggest issues for anyone affected by cancer at the moment: uncertainty around their treatment plan, what will happen if they catch Covid, and when they will get a vaccine.
“We don’t have all the answers – no-one does – but we are here to listen and help in whatever way we can. If anyone affected by cancer has any questions or concerns please contact us, there is no need to go through this alone.
“Covid has left many people isolated at a time when they badly need their support networks. This is why we are urging everyone who needs us to reach out so we can offer that extra support.
“A cancer diagnosis is a difficult experience no matter the circumstances but the challenges of the last ten months have been unprecedented, and so we would call on everyone to follow the public health advice to stay home and help protect the most vulnerable in our society such as cancer patients,” Mr Buggy added.
The Irish Cancer Society Support Line is staffed by specialist cancer nurses who can offer emotional and practical support and advice. People can also be referred for free remote counselling sessions through the Support Line, which is open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
Anyone affected by cancer whether through their own experience or that of a loved one is encouraged to reach out to the Society’s Freephone Support Line on 1800 200 700, or email SupportLine@irishcancer.ie if they have any worries or concerns, or just want to talk.