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Monday 24th October 2016

Are cancer survivors being neglected?

6th January 2010

The cancer charity Macmillan Cancer Support has warned of a side issue to better survival rates from cancer in Britain.


It says that cancer survivors often go on to struggle with other illnesses.

Figures show that the number of sufferers still alive at least five years after initial diagnosis is now 1.25m but it is concerned that patients and doctors often do not appreciate the lasting impact of cancer and its treatment.

The charity wants to see cancer patients receiving better advice on possible long-term side effects and other problems that may strike after their treatment such as weight gain, memory loss, bowel problems, mental health problems and bone and heart disease.

It fears some 250,000 survivors have chronic health problems and failure to manage these problems seriously affects quality of life.

Macmillan’s chief medical officer Professor Jane Maher said: “Not managing these consequences of treatment can produce unnecessary anxiety at one end of the spectrum, and it can also cause real problems to people in terms of disabling their lives at the other end.”

She said patients need to know what the risk of cancer coming back is and their risk of the treatment causing them problems in the future so they can help themselves manage this impact.

The government’s cancer tsar Professor Mike Richards said that more needs to be done to help cancer survivors with their health problems and that new plans were being drawn up, including the need to tailor care to the individual patient.


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