More than half (68%) of the people in Devon – an estimated 651,500 people – currently have, or have had, a family member or a close friend with cancer, Macmillan Cancer Support has revealed. Earlier this year, Macmillan announced that there are currently 2.5 million people living with cancer in the UK, which is set to rise to 4 million by 2030.
Overall, most people in Devon (76%) know, or have known, someone with cancer – whether a colleague, acquaintance, family or friend.
And worryingly, the research found that 34% of people – an estimated 247,500 people in Devon do not feel confident about providing the person or people they know with cancer with emotional support and 34% do not feel confident providing practical support.
The charity is using the research, carried out by NFP Synergy through a survey of more than 1,000 British adults, to encourage people to reach out to those they know who have cancer, to help them feel less alone.
Sadly, more than four in ten people (42 per cent) of all Brits surveyed who are living with cancer themselves also have – or have had – a family member or close friend with the disease.
Macmillan Cancer Support offers information for people affected by cancer and those around them, and its The Source website is home to hundreds of tips – generated by users of the site – for helping people with cancer. Popular advice ranges from sending a message of support on treatment days, to writing a letter, offering a hug or cooking a meal.
David Crosby, general manager at Macmillan Cancer Support said: “It’s a devastating reality that more and more people are getting cancer and today’s findings sadly show us that most of us have someone close to us who has been diagnosed.
“Thankfully, people are living longer with cancer, but it can be a lonely time when you are going through treatment and even afterwards, when you are getting back to work, family and social life.
“Whether the person you know with cancer has just been diagnosed, is going through treatment, or is trying to get on with life beyond cancer, reaching out to them could really help them to feel less isolated.
“It might be difficult knowing how to help, but everyone’s cancer experience is unique to them, so there’s no one ‘right’ thing to do or say. Our site gives some suggestions that people with cancer have themselves found useful.”
There are currently more than 400 useful tips on The Source and there are more than 95,000 registered members of Macmillan’s online community, a forum for sharing cancer experiences, asking questions and supporting other people affected by the disease.
Comprehensive Macmillan information and support is available locally in Devon, including the Mustard Tree Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Centre based at Derriford Hospital (01752 763 672) and The Lodge Macmillan Information and Support Service at Torbay Hospital Annexe (01803 617521).
For more information or support, call 0808 808 00 00 or visit www.macmillan.org.uk
(from a press release)
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