Macmillan responds to new NHS England Cancer Quality of Life Survey | by Media & PR at Macmillan | Macmillan press releases and statements | Oct, 2021

Media & PR at Macmillan

Yesterday NHS England released the first official results from a new national survey of cancer patients to understand more about their quality of life.

Macmillan Cancer Support was a key partner in the development of the Cancer Quality of Life Survey. Key findings from the data and our response is below.

The survey was undertaken by around 34,000 people with either breast, prostate or colorectal cancer around 18 months post-diagnosis between September 2020 and July 2021.

Key findings

· People with cancer reported an overall lower quality of life on average than the general population[i]

· Almost half (48%) of respondents had problems carrying out their usual activities 18 months after their diagnosis, compared with around one in five of the general population (this refers to things like work, study, housework, family, or leisure activities)

· Almost half (48%) report problems with anxiety or depression, compared with one in three of the general population

· One in four (27%) experience problems with sleeping that may be serious enough for further medical investigation

Source: NHS England and NHS Improvement. Cancer Quality of Life Survey. Accessed October 2021.

Minesh Patel, Head of Policy at Macmillan Cancer Support, says:

“This important new data emphasises that cancer can impact much more than just someone’s physical health, both during treatment and for many months and years afterwards.

“People with cancer deserve to live their lives fully, not just survive — yet too many are not getting the right support to enable this. Specialist cancer nurses are critical in providing this support, but we are facing an alarming shortage of staff in these roles. It’s imperative that Government uses this week’s Comprehensive Spending Review to invest in our cancer nurses and grow the cancer workforce, so that all people with cancer get the tailored support they need to live as well as possible.”

[i] Survey results have not been adjusted to account for age or other characteristics.

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