Scottish cancer living with fear of coronavirus
Thousands of Scots with cancer live in fear of Covid-19, according to research by Macmillan Cancer Support.
The charity said there was widespread anxiety and panic among people with cancer, and many were too afraid to leave their homes.
About 38,000 people with cancer in Scotland – 15% of people with the disease – have barely left home because they are afraid of getting the virus or are generally anxious to go out, said the charity. .
His research has found that around 10,000 people with cancer have not left the house at all since the start of solitary confinement and say they will not feel safe enough to do so until ‘there is a vaccine or zero new cases.
An estimated 13,000 people with cancer have experienced panic or anxiety attacks because of Covid-19, almost one in three (30%) feel stressed, anxious or depressed, and 9% of those with of the disease – around 24,000 people in Scotland – have seen their mental health worsen.
The charity is now calling on the Scottish government to “urgently execute its plan to restart cancer services”.
Melissa McNaughton, 31, a Glasgow cancer patient, said, “I never had anxiety, but the lockdown made me so nervous and anxious to leave my apartment, even for fresh air. I had a few panic attacks and I felt so trapped. Usually, if I am anxious or nervous about something, I will go for a walk or a drive, but I have not been able to. It was horrible. “
Research has also found that around 33,000 people with cancer in Scotland have experienced sleep problems, fatigue or pain during the lockout.
Adrienne Chaplin, a 70-year-old woman from Edinburgh, is currently undergoing breast cancer treatment.
She said, “I found locking very, very difficult.
“I feel like I am in the twilight zone. As if I am not really part of the world.
“For the first time in three months, I went for a walk on my street with my son and I spoke to a few neighbors from afar.
“It’s the most exciting thing I’ve done since March. It was so nice to have a conversation with people in real life, but I’m afraid to go out a lot. “
She said she was concerned that a second wave of the virus would mean “everyone who protects themselves will be trapped at home most of the year.”
Janice Preston, Head of Services at Macmillan in Scotland, said: “At this time, in addition to the usual concerns, many patients are also facing treatment uncertainty, protective restrictions and isolation from loved ones, as well as concerns about their risk of contracting the virus. .
“Even in normal times, we know that people with cancer often don’t get the help they need to cope with the mental and physical impact of the disease.
“The government must urgently implement its plan to get the cancer care system back on track, including an explicit recognition of the importance of ensuring that people always receive emotional and practical help.”
“No one should have to face cancer alone. Macmillan is there for everyone who needs us. “
A Scottish government spokesperson said, “As the Secretary of Health said, we know that the locking restrictions have been extremely difficult for people with cancer and their families.
“The postponement or delay of certain cancer treatments, knowing the profound impact it would have on so many people, was one of the most difficult aspects of dealing with Covid-19.
“We are working with the NHS and all relevant stakeholders to think about how to resume services as quickly and safely as possible.
“Our approach is driven not only by national and local clinical priorities, but also by what matters to people’s quality of life, such as pain clinics, dental treatment and preventative work like cancer screening.
“The majority of cancer treatments have continued throughout this pandemic, but the treatment plans of some patients may change to minimize the individual risk.
“Those requiring changes will always be done on a clinical basis and will be in discussion with the patient and the clinical team.”
YouGov interviewed 2,202 adults for Macmillan and searches took place between June 2 and June 15.