By Ian Dipple Monday 11 February 2013 Updated: 11/02 15:28
ABOUT 200 cancer patients in Worcestershire have to battle the disease completely alone.
Macmillan Cancer Support also estimate another 300 of the 2,700 people newly diagnosed with cancer in the county every year, lack support from their friends and family.
The charity is warning leaving people to face cancer in isolation could put lives at risk.
According to its Facing the Fight Alone report, which looks at the experiences of isolated people living with cancer across the UK, the impact is wide ranging.
Research reveals more than half of the 1,794 people surveyed had skipped meals or not eaten properly due to a lack of support at home. More than one in four have not been able to wash themselves properly and 60 per cent are unable to do household chores.
Over one in ten of isolated patients have also missed hospital or GP appointments while one in six have been unable to pick up prescriptions for their medication.
Family and friends living too far away, having too many commitments or lack of finances meaning patients are unable to see loved ones as much are the main reasons for people with cancer being isolated.
One in eight said other than a health visitor they had not had a single visit from friends and family in over six months.
The majority of health professionals believe a lack of support for cancer patients leads to poorer treatment decisions and a shorter life expectancy, according to the report.
David Crosby, general manager of Macmillan Cancer Support in Central and South West England, said: "
"This research shows that isolation can have a truly shattering impact on people living with cancer," he said.
"But these figures are just the tip of the iceberg. As the number of people living with cancer is set to double from two to four million by 2030, isolation will become an increasing problem and we need to address this now."
Macmillan has launched a new campaign over the next three years to raise awareness of the services it offers and to urge people to donate.
Healthcare professionals are also being urged to recognise the negative impact dealing with cancer alone can have on patients and to be aware of financial and other support available.
Visit www.macmillan.org.uk for more information.
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