Healthy living

Cancer carers missing out on vital support

Cancer carers missing out on vital support Nearly half care for loved-ones on their own

Over a million people in the UK who are caring for someone with cancer are potentially missing out on vital support and benefits, according to research.

Around 1.1 million people in the UK currently look after someone with cancer, but a survey for Macmillan Cancer Support found that nearly half (49%) receive no support at all.

And just five per cent have undergone a local authority Carers' Assessment which enables them to access practical, emotional and financial support.

As well as emotional support, cancer carers administer medicine, cook, clean and provide personal care for loved ones, the charity said.

The lack of support for carers may explain why nearly half (46%) experience mental health problems such as stress, anxiety and depression, and why one in eight (13%) suffer from physical health issues such as sleep and digestive problems.

One in seven (15%) carers reported having financial problems because of spending more on things such as travelling to hospital or giving up work to look after a loved-one.

Ciarán Devane, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, said: "Our research shows how unsupported cancer carers really are in the UK. Carers want to look after their family or friend with cancer – but it is often at the expense of their own mental or physical health.

"Cancer is no longer necessarily a death sentence and this means there is a growing need for people to care for their family member or friend with cancer. Often this is long-term care. But carers need support to cope with the significant demands of their role."

More information: Macmillan Cancer Support

This article was published on Fri 27 January 2012

Image © Piotr Marcinski -

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