You’ve told us what you need from local cancer support

We’ve announced the headline findings of a survey designed to find out what local people need from non-medical cancer support.

We asked people with all types of cancer at any stage, loved ones affected by cancer and anyone who has a job or other interest in cancer services to complete the survey throughout October and November. It was made available on our website, shared by local media and sent directly to our clients, supporters, volunteers and other stakeholders. The questions explored the kind of worries and fears people experience – from diagnosis to recovery, how non-medical support should be delivered, and the quality and availability of support and advice.

The responses have now been analysed and we’ve shared a summary below. They’ll help us to build an accurate picture of need and enable us to evolve our services to ensure local people receive the best possible support. We’ll share more details about how we’ll be doing this soon.

Our CEO, Rachel Billsberry-Grass, said:

“More than 100,000 people are living with cancer in our region and it’s estimated this will rise to 165,000 by 2030 (source: Public Health England, Cancer in Wessex 2017). Additionally, cancer survival is improving and has doubled in the last 40 years in the UK (source: Cancer Research UK).

“It’s widely understood that a cancer diagnosis can affect how we feel emotionally and many of you will be all too aware of the impact Covid-19 has had on cancer services during the pandemic. We believe this has been reflected in the survey findings. For example, 82% of those who replied said cancer had left them feeling worried, fearful or anxious during diagnosis and treatment. This compared to 61% of people who responded to a previous survey in 2019.

“In light of this, it’s vitally important that people who benefit from our support – and those who refer them to us, help to shape what we provide and how it’s delivered. Your responses have renewed our commitment to ensure our emotional and wellbeing support services can be accessed by as many people as possible in their local community, away from a hospital environment.”

Headline results 2021

A summary of the survey responses, December 2021 

We heard that:

-82% of patients felt worried, fearful or anxious during their diagnosis or treatment. This compares to 61% of patients when asked the same question in 2019

-82% of carers also felt worried, fearful or anxious at the time of their loved one’s diagnosis, dropping to 75% during treatment.

-86% of patients said they felt exhausted or tired during treatment, and 81% of loved ones also felt like this when caring for someone having treatment. In 2019, 40% of carers identified with feeling this way.

-Half of patients and loved ones felt isolated or lonely during the treatment stage

-More than 60% of patients and carers felt support groups are helpful at all stages of their cancer journey

-64% of patients thought complementary therapies are helpful during and after cancer treatment

-60% said advice on exercise and activity is helpful during and after treatment. This compares to 39% who answered the same question in 2019.

Thank you very much to everyone who took part in the survey. We’re very grateful for your time.