New report reveals one in four cancer patients in Plymouth face isolation
A NEW report by a national charity has found that one in four cancer patients in the city face isolation.
A quarter of the 1,300 newly diagnosed cancer patients in Plymouth – an estimated 300 patients each year – lack support from family and friends during their treatment and recovery, according to new research published by Macmillan Cancer Support.
Of these, an estimated 100 people in the city each year will receive no help whatsoever, facing cancer completely alone, the charity said.
The Facing the Fight Alone report, which looks at the number, profile and experiences of isolated people living with cancer across the UK, found that the detrimental effects of isolation on the lives of people living with cancer are far-reaching.
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More than half of isolated patients have skipped meals or not eaten properly due to a lack of support at home. More than one in four have not been able to wash themselves properly, while three in five have been unable to do household chores, the report found.
Family members and friends living too far away, having other commitments or patients just having no-one to turn to are the most common reasons patients lack support.
David Crosby, general manager of Macmillan Cancer Support in the South West, 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 and to ensure that in future, no-one faces cancer alone."
Macmillan Cancer Support is calling on health professionals to adopt the recommendations in the Facing the Fight Alone report.