25 January 2016
This Cancer Talk Week, Macmillan is calling on people with cancer who are lonely to reach out for support.
Just over 4 in 5 (84%) people living with cancer who are lonely are ‘putting on a brave face’ rather than admitting they feel alone[i], Macmillan Cancer Support reveals today.
New YouGov research shows 1 in 3 people affected by cancer recently felt lonely or isolated, but worryingly 88%[ii] wouldn’t want to make their feelings ‘someone else’s problem’.
Macmillan Cancer Support is highlighting the figures to mark Cancer Talk Week this January, which the research also shows is the toughest month for people with cancer. It is an opportunity to encourage people with cancer to share their experiences with others so they don’t face cancer alone.
The research shows a worrying number of people are holding back from talking openly about their cancer which could have a serious impact on their health and wellbeing. Shockingly, amongst respondents who feel lonely:
• Around 1 in 7 would feel embarrassed talking about feeling alone[iii]
• Around 1 in 12 would be worried that they would be seen or treated differently [iv]
• Around 1 in 10 don’t know where to find support [v]
The charity is urging lonely cancer patients to visit its newly re-launched Online Community, a forum for sharing cancer experiences, asking questions and supporting other people affected by cancer, available 24/7, 365 days of the year.
Dave Rundle, 65, from Devon was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2014 and used Macmillan’s Online Community to help him cope with feelings of loneliness. He says:
“I was in pieces when I got my diagnosis. The only experience of cancer before this was watching my first wife die from it. My family and friends were there, but you can’t imagine how lonely it is to struggle with everyday tasks you take for granted, like showering and dressing, and worse, finding blood in the middle of the night.
‘I turned not only to Macmillan’s support line but to the Online Community as I knew it’d be the place where I’d find others going through exactly the same problems and issues. There was always somebody there to listen.”
Jacqui Graves, Head of Health and Social Care at Macmillan Cancer Support, says:
“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. At worst this can result in patients refusing treatment altogether. 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.”
“Whether in hospital or at home recovering from treatment, you’re only one click away from someone who knows exactly what you’re going through. So if people haven’t already come across it, we’d urge them to visit Macmillan’s Online Community - a lifeline for anyone affected by cancer.”
For further information, please contact:
Claire McMahon, Media and PR Officer, Macmillan Cancer Support
0207 091 2103 (out of hours 07801 307068)
Notes to Editors:
About Cancer Talk Week
Cancer Talk Week
(25th – 29th January 2016) is an annual awareness raising week, created by Macmillan.
By getting people talking about cancer the aim is to raise awareness of the range of services Macmillan provides and encourage people with cancer to share their experiences with others so they don’t face cancer alone. We want more people to come to Macmillan for support when dealing with cancer as we believe no one should face cancer alone.
About Online Community
Macmillan’s Online Community
, one of the biggest cancer peer support networks, consists of forums, blogs, and an ‘Ask the Expert’ section offering online Q&A’s and professional advice from Macmillan’s nurses and other experts.
It is moderated and supported by 20 volunteer Community Champions, who welcome new members, help people find their way around, and provide general support to help people settle in.
It is used not only by people living with cancer, but also those who care for someone with the disease.
About Macmillan Cancer Support
When you have cancer, you don’t just worry about what will happen to your body, you worry about what will happen to your life. Whether it’s concerns about who you can talk to, planning for the extra costs or what to do about work, at Macmillan we understand how a cancer diagnosis can take over everything.
That’s why we’re here. We provide support that helps people take back control of their lives. But right now, we can’t reach everyone who needs us. We need your help to make sure that people affected by cancer get the support they need to face the toughest fight of their life. No one should face cancer alone, and with your support no one will.
To get involved, call 0300 1000 200
today. And please remember, we’re here for you too. If you’d like support, information or just to chat, call us free on 0808 808 00 00
(Monday to Friday, 9am–8pm) or visit macmillan.org.uk
[i] Source: Macmillan/YouGov online survey of 1,011 adults aged 18 and over in the UK with a previous cancer diagnosis. Fieldwork was undertaken between 10th and 17th December 2015. The figures have been weighted and are representative of the living with cancer population. Macmillan Cancer Support and YouGov research into loneliness and isolation amongst people living with cancer. Of the 1,011 adults surveyed 33% of people felt lonely always/often/sometimes in the last month, and of these, 84% try to put on a brave face.
[ii] Of the 1,011 adults surveyed 33% of people felt lonely always/often/sometimes in the last month, and of these, 88% don’t want to make it someone else’s problem.
[iii] Of the 1,011 adults surveyed 33% of people living with cancer have felt lonely always/often/sometimes in the last month, and of these, 41% reported feeling embarrassed was one of the reasons that would prevent them from talking to others about feeling lonely or isolated.
[iv] Of the 1,011 adults surveyed 33% of people living with cancer have felt lonely always/often/sometimes in the last month, and of these, 26% reported that being worried they would be seen or treated differently was one of the reasons that would prevent them from talking to others about feeling lonely or isolated.
[v] Of the 1,011 adults surveyed 33% of people living with cancer have felt lonely always/often/sometimes in the last month, and of these, 32% either strongly disagreed or disagreed with the statement I know where I can find support.