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Almost half of cancer patients find it hard to ask for help

Many fear being pitied

Nearly half (47%) of people diagnosed with cancer said they found it hard to ask for help from friends, family and colleagues after they were diagnosed, a poll reveals.

Of those, 43% feared being pitied while 30% cited pressure to stay strong around family and friends.

This is despite 81% of respondents acknowledging they had a good support network of loved ones around them.

The research, conducted by Censuswide for Cancer Research’s Race for Life, also showed that women find it harder than men to ask for help following a cancer diagnosis. More than half (58%) of female cancer patients found it difficult to reach out to their loved ones, in comparison to around a third of (36%) male patients.

On average, it takes women 10 days to talk to their friends and family about their diagnosis, whereas men take six days to open up.

Even though nearly half of those diagnosed with cancer reported they struggled to open up, 43% of respondents agreed they felt better once they had spoken to their loved ones about how they were feeling.

Respondents also cited seeing friends (41%), socialising (29%) and being physically active (28%) as activities that helped them feel better during their treatment.

Martin Ledwick, head information nurse at Cancer Research UK said many people with cancer don’t want to be a burden or are frightened of getting emotional.

“Family and friends want to be supportive, but often don’t know how best to support their loved one,” he added.