Cancer patients becoming more scared about the impact of Covid

New data from Macmillan shows the impact of lockdown on cancer patients is beginning to rise

New data from Macmillan shows the impact of lockdown on cancer patients is getting worse - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Thousands more Suffolk cancer patients have become scared that delays to their treatment or diagnosis during the Covid-19 crisis could prove fatal.

In June, Macmillan Cancer Support surveyed cancer patients in the East of England — with one in nine saying they feared disruption caused by coronavirus could reduce their likelihood of treatment being successful or, at worst, risk shortening their lives.

The same survey taken in late December shows that figure is now one in five people.

There are 28,331 people living with cancer in Suffolk, meaning approximately 5,666 of them are likely suffering from the effects of the pandemic.

Specialist cancer nurses took at least 7% more calls over the Christmas period from people in the East of England as they did in 2019.

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Macmillan is concerned about the growing toll of the coronavirus crisis on people with cancer, with many facing rising anxiety, further disruption to care and the disconcerting experience of going through diagnosis and treatment alone.

The charity has also revealed that at least 150,000 people in the UK have been diagnosed with cancer since March 2020 and recent analysis suggests tens of thousands more are missing a diagnosis they would have otherwise received.

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Chris Payne, support line manager at Macmillan, said: "People are really struggling, and emotions are heightened.

"We’re hearing from people every day who are feeling incredibly isolated, who are too scared to go outside because of their vulnerability to coronavirus and who have found receiving a diagnosis and going through treatment without loved ones by their side really distressing.

"For many, this pandemic feels like the worst possible Groundhog Day. We want them to know that they aren’t alone." 

The charity wants to ensure everyone affected by cancer is making use of its round-the-clock support in this crisis.

It is urging patients and their loved ones to contact its phoneline, where specially-trained cancer nurses and counsellors are there for anyone affected by or worried about cancer, every day of the week.

They can provide comprehensive information and advice about their care and treatment options, as well as financial and emotional support.

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