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Cancer patients in Sussex ‘suffer isolation’
Almost one in four newly diagnosed cancer patients in Sussex are not getting extra support as they battle the disease.
A study by Macmillan Cancer Support reveals around 1,600 out of 6,800 people are not getting help from family and friends during treatment and recovery.
The charity says around 400 people each year receive no help whatsoever, facing cancer completely alone.
The report looked at the number, profile and experiences of isolated people living with cancer across the UK.
It found the detrimental effects of isolation on the lives of people living with cancer are far-reaching.
More than half of isolated patients have skipped meals or not eaten properly due to a lack of support at home while 27% have not been able to wash themselves properly.
Around 60% have been unable to do household chores.
Isolation also makes it harder for cancer patients to self-manage their medical care with 11% missing hospital or GP appointments.
The study found one in six patients were unable to pick up prescriptions for their medication.
Ann Brady from Hastings is backing the charity’s new Not Alone campaign, which encourages health officials to be aware of the need to make sure patients do not become isolated.
Mrs Brady, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011, said: “After the operation when I was back at home I did start to feel quite isolated and could have done with some more support.
“My sister and I are really close and I love her dearly, but I can’t talk to her.
“I have a lovely husband, but I feel I can’t talk to him either and I should keep my personal problems to myself.
“I was aware that I could get in touch with different groups, but I did not really know what to do.
“I really needed to speak to someone who’d been through what I’d been through. I wanted to ask someone like me, ‘Did you feel like that too?’”
Charity general manager Carol Fenton said: “This research shows that isolation can have a truly shattering impact on people living with cancer.
“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. “
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