New research has found life after a cancer diagnosis can be brighter, writes Katie Clift of Cancer Council Queensland.

Cancer Council Queensland’s 1000 Survivor Study has revealed a large number of Queensland cancer survivors said their diagnosis made them a better person and led to positive life changes.

The statistics show almost 44 per cent of Queenslanders surveyed said their experience with cancer made them a better person, despite only 34 per cent having made a complete recovery from cancer.

A diagnosis of the disease also led to a number of positive behaviour changes for Queenslanders.

70 per cent of the Queensland cancer survivors surveyed tried to take better care of their health after their diagnosis. Almost 50 per cent are now up-to-date on all recommended cancer screenings, around 48 per cent participate in regular physical activity and 44 per cent are leading a healthier lifestyle than before their diagnosis.

Almost 34 per cent acknowledge that their diagnosis is serious, but they believe they will be able to return to life as it was before their illness.

These findings are encouraging, but the study also found a significant number of cancer survivors were negatively affected by their diagnosis.

The survey found 14.5 per cent of cancer survivors felt cancer interfered with the achievements of their life goals, and 9.7 per cent felt their life would never be good again.

It’s imperative that any Queenslander distressed by a cancer diagnosis has the confidence to reach out for help and support to cope.

Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 is staffed by health professionals to offer support to all Queenslanders affected by cancer – whether their concern is physical, emotional or practical.

13 11 20 supports all Queenslanders affected by all cancers. 13 11 20 can connect patients and their loved ones with cancer counselling, peer support, accommodation, wigs and turbans and referrals to specialised care.

If you know someone affected by cancer, who may be experiencing distress or discouragement, encourage them to call 13 11 20 and seek help for a brighter future today.

The Australian-first 1000 Survivor Study was undertaken in 2014 and surveyed 1031 Queensland cancer survivors to better understand their physical, emotional and practical concerns.

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at www.cancerqld.org.au or 13 11 20.