Undergoing cancer treatment is challenging, isolating and deeply personal. We asked 149 young cancer patients about the impact their cancer diagnosis had on their lives. Our report shows that young people are often disproportionately experiencing mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
Mental health impacts
We asked young people what mental health impact they felt their diagnosis and treatment had on them:
- 79% of young people felt cancer had a serious impact on their emotional wellbeing
- 70% of young people experienced depression during their cancer treatment
- 90% of young people experienced anxiety during their cancer treatment
- 83% of young people experienced loneliness during their cancer treatment
- 42% of young people experienced panic attacks during treatment
We also asked young people about the support they accessed during treatment and whether it met their needs.
- 41% of young people did not access support for the mental health impact of their cancer diagnosis and treatment
Where they did access support, the top three types were CLIC Sargent social workers, counsellors or psychologists, or online support.
- 73% of young people said talking to others with similar experiences helped them
Our research shows that the mental health impact of cancer should be given equal consideration alongside young people’s physical health needs. We make three recommendations for change:
- Access to evidence-based mental health interventions for young cancer patients should be part of the treatment pathway if needed, and provided consistently across the UK.
- All UK hospitals should provide free Wi-Fi access to support young cancer patients to maintain the connections that are important to them.
- Further research is needed on how young cancer patients are accessing services locally and the emotional and mental health impact of a cancer diagnosis on the wider family, particularly siblings.
Find out more
Download our Hidden Costs report to find out more about the mental health impact of a cancer diagnosis on young people.
This report is part of CLIC Sargent’s cancer costs campaign, highlighting the range of costs a cancer diagnosis has on young cancer patients and their families. Find out more about the cancer costs campaign.