The cancer landscape is changing. Nearly one in two people will get cancer in their lifetime. Advances in treatment mean that more people with incurable cancer are now living longer and may experience similar illness patterns as those with long-term conditions. We also know that 70% of people with cancer also have another long term condition.
Additionally, as the population with cancer increases so does its impact on local places, not just in an increase in informal carers but also on children (young carers or children with parents with cancer) and employers/education.
Whilst the good news is that more people are surviving cancer, even for those considered cured, returning to normality is challenging, and as with people at the end of life, the consequences of the disease and treatment pathways not only impact on their physical condition, but also on their psychological, financial and social wellbeing.
These needs can include:
- Support with mental health issues arising from their experience of cancer
- Help to make lifestyle choices to aid survival and prevention of secondary occurrences
- Assistance with returning to and/or enabling independent living (including self management) and maintaining wellbeing (including employment) or to access welfare benefits, and end-of-life and bereavement support
Cancer is a social issue as well as a medical one. Support is often needed when people no longer require acute care and return home. Please see our Hidden at home: The social care needs of people with cancer report [PDF] for further evidence of unmet needs of people affected by cancer.