HUNDREDS of newly-diagnosed cancer patients in Cambridgeshire lack support from family and friends during their treatment, research has revealed.

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A report published by Macmillan Cancer Support states that nearly one in three of the county’s 2,650 newly-diagnosed patients - an estimated 800 each year - do not have enough support.

Of these, an estimated 300 people are left to face treatment and recovery with no help at all.

The Facing the Fight Alone report looked at the number, profile and experiences of isolated people living with cancer across the country.

It found that more than half of isolated patients had skipped meals or not eaten properly due to lack of support at home.

One in four had not been able to wash themselves properly, while 60 per cent were unable to do household chores. One in six were unable to pick up prescriptions for their medication and one in ten had to miss hospital appointments.

Gwyneth Tyler, from Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “This research shows that isolation can have a truly shattering impact on people living with cancer.

“Patients are going hungry, missing medical appointments and even deciding to reject treatment altogether which could be putting their lives at risk — all because of a lack of support.

“But these figures are just the tip of the iceberg. 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.

“That’s why we are launching a new campaign to help tackle this crisis and to ensure that in future, no-one faces cancer alone.”

The report found that 12 per cent of people living with cancer had not had a visit from friends of family in more than six months.

One in six had lost touch with family or friends because of their diagnosis, while 80 per cent said the financial impact of cancer meant they could not afford to see their relatives as much.

For more information on Macmillan’s ‘Not Alone’ campaign, visit www.macmillan.org.uk/notalone

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