BY LIZZIE PARRY health reporter
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
HUNDREDS of newly-diagnosed cancer patients in Suffolk are fighting the disease alone, according to a new report.
Shocking figures released by Macmillan Cancer Support today reveal that almost a third of patients say they lack support from family and friends and do not know who to turn to after being told they have cancer.
The cancer charity’s Facing the Fight Alone report said that the east of England and London were the least supportive regions in the UK for people with cancer.
Officials from Macmillan said family and friends living too far away or being too busy were the most common causes of isolation.
The report’s authors surveyed 1,700 men and women suffering from cancer and more than 150 healthcare professionals during their research. The report estimates that 1,100 out of 3,600 newly diagnosed cancer patients a year in Suffolk lack support during cancer treatment and recovery.
An estimated 450 people of those will battle the disease with no help whatsoever, the charity adds.
Gwyneth Tyler, senior Macmillan development manager, said: “This research shows that isolation can have a truly shattering impact on people living with cancer.
“Patients are going hungry, missing medical appointments and even deciding to reject treatment altogether which could be putting their lives at risk – all because of a lack of support.
“But these figures are just the tip of the iceberg. As the number of people living with cancer is set to double from two to four million by 2030, isolation will become an increasing problem and we need to address this now.
“That’s why we are launching a new campaign to help tackle this crisis,” she said.