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By Harriet Ernstsons Friday 25 April 2014 Updated: 25/04 16:16
ALMOST one in four county cancer sufferers have been left isolated after battling with the disease.
A survey conducted by Macmillan Cancer Support how shown 23 per cent of people in Worcestershire - an estimated 4,800 - were struggling with feeling lonely.
Those affected were three times more likely to drink more alcohol than they usually did - an issue which affects approximately 1,100 county residents, almost five times more likely to have not left the house for days - affecting around 3,200 - and five times more likely to skip meals - around 3,700 people.
Those most at risk of loneliness were those whose cancer had advanced, spread or relapsed, those living alone and those who had made a change to their working life.
Macmillan chief executive Ciarán Devane said: "Loneliness is blighting the lives of hundreds of thousands of cancer patients in the UK. It's hard enough for people being hit with the devastating news that they have cancer, without having to suffer the additional effects that being lonely brings.
"It's heartbreaking to think of people struggling to eat or leave the house because they have been abandoned and left to deal with cancer alone.
He added this was a growing problem which was set to worsen as the number of people diagnosed with cancer doubled from two to four million in the next two decades.
"Macmillan provides a range of services including a support line and an online community that are a lifeline to people affected by cancer. But we simply can't help everyone who needs us now, let alone those who will need us in the future so we need more public donations and support.
"We also urgently need the NHS, policy makers and local authorities to wake up to this looming loneliness epidemic and work with us to provide these vital services to ensure no one faces cancer alone."
Visit macmillan.org.uk or call 0808 808 0000 for more information about the charity.
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