“The number of people looking after someone with cancer in the UK has soared from around 1.1 million in 2011 to almost 1.5 million today.
More than half of carers aren’t getting the support they need and the situation is getting worse.
Around 110,000 people in the UK are part of a sandwich generation of carers – caring for a parent with cancer while also looking after their own children.” (MacMillan, 2016).
“The number of carers providing care for 50 hours or more a week is absolutely shocking because we know all too often they don’t get the support they need to maintain their own health and wellbeing. Carers save the economy a fortune and deserve proper recognition and support.
‘People caring for someone with cancer aren’t routinely identified by the NHS so don’t get sufficient support and information. Even when carers are referred to social care services for assessment they often do not get services which are flexible and responsive enough to their specific needs. According to our research, only 1 in 5 cancer patients feel their carers’ needs were met by health and social care service.” (MacMillan. 23/05/11).
The world of cancer patients involves not only their doctors and nurses at the NHS and other medical practitioners and support charities. It also involves their employers, co-workers, their families and friends. These employers and co-workers, as well as families and friends are usually not prepared for dealing with the illness. They usually try to carry on “as usual” because they may not have a clear understanding of the illness, the treatment, what is expected or required by the patient and their consultants. They may not support the patient and the family in a way that can help in the process, and many times, they may assume that when a patient returns to work everything will “go back to normal”.
The world of cancer is unfortunately, more challenging that that. Patients and their surrounding family, friends and companies need to be more aware of what is happening and how they can help. They also need support and help to increase awareness and to be more effective in their action to support patients and everyone involved.
The question is, what are we waiting for in order to work together in enhancing the network that can really tackle the problem in an integral manner? Specialist coaches can help cancer patients and their carers. Specialist coaches can help Charities and Medical experts. Specialist Coaches can also help companies to support workers affected by cancer (because the worker is a patient or a carer).
Let us work together!
- MacMillan. (2016). Under Pressure. Available on line at: https://www.macmillan.org.uk/documents/campaigns/under-pressure-the-growing-strain-on-cancer-carers-macmillan-cancer-support-september-2016.pdf; http://www.macmillan.org.uk/get-involved/campaigns/carers
- MacMillan. (23/05/11). Macmillan’s response to NHS Information Centre figures on carers. Available on line at: https://www.macmillan.org.uk/aboutus/news/latest_news/macmillansresponsetonhsinformationcentrefiguresoncarers.aspx