Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 21°C

min temp: 14°C

Search

The pigs have arrived. See the latest

Pigs Gone Wild

news here.

Suffolk: Charity warns of ‘loneliness epidemic’ amid fears cancer rate is set to double in 20 years

09:55 22 February 2014

Eileen Butler talks about loneliness problems while fighting cancer. Eileen is pictured at her home in Long Melford.

Eileen Butler talks about loneliness problems while fighting cancer. Eileen is pictured at her home in Long Melford.

Archant

A charity is warning of a looming loneliness epidemic with the number of people diagnosed with cancer set to double in the next 20 years.

Macmillan Cancer Support estimates that more than one in five people living with cancer in Suffolk - around 6,000 people - are suffering with loneliness as a result of their cancer battle.

And according to the organisation, the isolations renders many housebound and unable to feed themselves properly.

New research by Ipsos MORI has, for the first time, revealed the detrimental impact of being lonely on the lives of cancer patients.

It compares the experiences of cancer patients who say they feel lonely since their diagnosis with those who are not.

Eileen Butler, from Sudbury, was diagnosed with cancer five years ago.

“For the first three years of my treatment I felt very isolated,” she said. “I struggled to get out of the house much due to my health problems and didn’t have anybody to speak to who I felt would fully understand what I was experiencing.

“I have gradually found a number of ways to deal with this. I have accessed counselling support and made contact with my local hospice to find out more about services that are available to me.

“I now regularly attend a knit and natter social group at the hospice where we create headwear for chemotherapy patients.

“This is a fantastic way of meeting other people in a similar situation while enjoying a therapeutic hobby and doing something to help other people.”

The research showed that lonely cancer patients in Suffolk are three times more likely to drink more alcohol than usual, around 4,000 people are likely to have not left the house in days and an estimated 4,600 people experienced sleep problems.

Around 2,300 people are likely to skip meals while 2,700 had a poor diet with the reasons for not eating properly including lack of appetite, having no food in the house and being too weak to cook.

Ciarán Devane, chief executive at Macmillan Cancer Support, said the problem is only going to get worse with the number of cancer diagnoses set to double from two to four million in the next 20 years.

He added: “Loneliness is blighting the lives of hundreds of thousands of cancer patients in the UK. It’s hard enough for people being hit with the devastating news that they have cancer, without having to suffer the additional effects that being lonely brings.

“It’s heartbreaking to think of people struggling to eat or leave the house because they have been abandoned and left to deal with cancer alone.”

Macmillan provides a range of services, including a support line and an online community, to people affected by cancer.

But Mr Devane added: “We also urgently need the NHS, policy makers and local authorities to wake up to this looming loneliness epidemic and work with us to provide these vital services to ensure no-one faces cancer alone.”

Jack Neill-Hall, campaigns manager for the Campaign to End Loneliness, said it is vital to understand the link between loneliness and ill health in order to “break the negative cycle of loneliness exacerbating ill-health and vice versa”.

He added: “By ensuring that our public health and care services are aware of the risks of loneliness, we can do more for people who may be suffering from cancer, disability, or duel sensory loss and make sure they well looked after, but also better able look after themselves.”

Visit www.macmillan.org.uk or call Macmillan on 0808 808 00 00 for support.

0 comments

The Trotters Pig

Everyone has a favourite piggy - but which one is it?

Possible views for the new Cornhill in the heart of Ipswich.

A free wifi area could be created in the heart of Ipswich when the Cornhill is rebuilt over the next two years, it has emerged.

Martin Myerscough's Frugalpac cup

A Suffolk entrepreneur could soon be supplying his eco-friendly invention to the world’s largest coffee chain, after grabbing industry attention for his answer to an environmental problem.

Alexander Baxter, owner of gentleman’s accessory firm Baxter & Baxter

A 22-year-old fashion designer who left his day job to build a brand from the ground up has seen his accessories paraded on the red carpet.

A computer-generated image of how the Sizewell complex will look after construction of Sizewell C.

Britain is set to get its first new nuclear power station in generations as EDF’s directors approve investment in Hinkley Point.

Ipswich Hospital

Hundreds of working days were lost at Suffolk’s largest hospital through psychological issues last month, prompting an investigation into the possible link between staff overtime and stress.

The A1071 between Ipswich and Hintlesham.

There was heavy traffic on the A1071 in Hintlesham this evening due to a number of different crashes.

Tess carried a faulty BRCA2 gene, which greatly increases the risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

The family of a 24-year-old woman from Ipswich who has died of cancer have paid tribute to her “strength” and “bravery” as she was determined to live life to the full despite the devastating diagnosis.

Beatrix Potter fun day and celebrations at Long Melford Hall. Pictured is Maisey Doyle.

Birthday celebrations including a picnic, party games and a special trail have been held at a Suffolk hall in honour of the famous children’s author Beatrix Potter.

The Aldeburgh Carnival Queen for 2016 has been chosen

Summer wouldn’t be summer without a seaside procession, a great British fete or a laid back music festival - and all of these happen in abundance on the Suffolk Coast.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24