Princess Eugenie and Beatrice's Zoom call with cancer patients
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More than 250,000 admit to having no one to talk to about their worries with no end in sight to lockdown. And a further 450,000 say they are spending too much time alone. The same number feel a burden on others. Around 870,000 are stressed, anxious or depressed because of the pandemic. Last night celebs including Joanna Lumley, Davina McCall, Sheridan Smith, James Bond star Naomie Harris, Fearne Cotton and Rylan Clark-Neal urged those struggling with isolation to seek help.
They are backing Macmillan Cancer Support, which said: “We’re there for you.”
Actress Daisy Edgar-Jones, 22, who played Marianne in the BBC drama Normal People, said: “I know first-hand how vital good support is when a loved one has cancer. Macmillan has trained teams who are on hand around-the-clock, every day to help.
“I’d urge you to get in touch with them if you need any support at all – whether to share your worries with a friendly voice, for guidance on finances or to get answers to day-to-day questions.”
Macmillan estimates more than 50,000 people have been hit with cancer during lockdown – but not received a diagnosis. That figure is set to double in just 12 months.
The charity warned the backlog of undiagnosed cases could take a further 18 months to tackle in England alone.
The new findings come at a time of extreme pressure on the NHS and reflect the charity’s concerns about the impact of isolation on the mental wellbeing of people with cancer. Many have been isolating for the entire pandemic, unable to see loved ones when they received a devastating diagnosis or the disease returned or progressed.
Ann O’Flynn, who runs Macmillan’s helpline, said: “We’re hearing from distressed patients and relatives every day and the deep sense of
isolation they are feeling at the moment is heartbreaking. Being separated from loved ones as you go through cancer treatment is an unimaginably sad experience.
“We are getting an increasing number of calls from people struggling with isolation and experiencing very high anxiety levels who don’t have their usual support of family and friends around them. We have cancer information nurse specialists and other specialist advisers ready to help.
“We have a huge amount of knowledge about cancer, from benefits and advice through to information about diagnosis and treatment, and we’re ready to take your call.”
●Anyone worried about cancer symptoms should contact their GP urgently. But patients and loved ones can contact Macmillan’s phone line for support from cancer nurses and advisers on 0808 808 00 00.
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