Over four fifths of cancer patients say they feel alone, a study by Macmillan Cancer Support has found.
The survey of 1011 people found that 84% people living with cancer who are lonely are ‘putting on a brave face’ rather than admitting they feel alone. Additionally, it found that one in three people affected by cancer felt lonely or isolated, but 88% ‘wouldn’t want to make their feelings someone else’s problem.’
‘We know that if you’re living with cancer and feeling lonely, it can have a devastating impact, with many people forced to skip meals or attend vital appointments alone,’ said Jacqui Graves, head of health and social care at Macmillan Cancer Support. ‘At worst this can result in patients refusing treatment altogether.’
The survey also found that around one in seven felt embarrassed talking about feeling alone while roughly one in 12 would be worried that they would be seen or treated differently if they did. Additionally, one in 10 reported that they did not know where to find support.
‘That’s why it’s so important people reach out and get support. There is an army of people within the cancer community who can help, no one has to face cancer alone. If I’ve got one piece of advice, it’s don’t suffer in silence,’ added Ms Graves.
The charity is urging cancer patients to visit its Online Community website. This is a forum that healthcare professionals can recommend to patients to share their cancer experiences, ask questions and support other people affected by cancer.