Posted on Wednesday 23 September 2020

in News, Press releases

New report reveals over half of young people with cancer feel they are not coping in the pandemic

A new report published by CLIC Sargent reveals that over half (52%) of young people supported by the charity feel they are not coping in the pandemic. While 54% of parents and young people who completed the survey felt the most difficult thing about the coronavirus pandemic was the additional stress and worry.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a particularly difficult time for young cancer patients and their families. They have been dealing with the emotional, financial and practical impact of cancer, whilst the country has had to adapt to changes in how we live, work, and receive health care. As the UK’s leading charity for young cancer patients, CLIC Sargent wanted to really understand the impact of these unprecedented times in order to better support young cancer patients and their families.

The charity conducted two online surveys between April and July with young people and parents, which explored the practical, emotional and other impacts on young cancer patients and their families. The report has been published during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Throughout the month, CLIC Sargent is focusing sharing the experiences of young cancer patients to ensure they aren’t forgotten during the pandemic.

Key findings from the Cancer and Coronavirus – As Tough as it Gets report include:

  • Over half (52%) of young people felt they were not coping
  • Around half of parents felt that they were not coping (53% of parents of young people, and 46% of parents of children with cancer)
  • Nearly half (46%) of respondents said their finances were affected by the current situation
  • Over half (54%) of people who completed the survey felt the most difficult thing about the coronavirus pandemic was the additional stress and worry
  • Around a third (36%) of parents felt they were not meeting the needs of their families.

"It’s making it a lot harder to be social…I have no one who knows me well in a social support bubble near me to talk to."

Young person with cancer

"Not being allowed family support in times of being diagnosed, having to be told all alone in a room with just a doctor, not being able to have support when [your] child is having treatments… just having a cuddle from family or friends helps."

Parent of a child with cancer

Responding to the survey findings, Sonia Malik, Head of Research, Policy and Campaigning at CLIC Sargent said: “2020 has been a particularly anxious and challenging time for young cancer patients and their families. They have been dealing with the emotional, financial and practical impact of cancer, whilst navigating these uncertain times. From the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, CLIC Sargent social care staff saw an increase in demand for support from the families they work with, as well as the intensity of the emotional support that was needed, as families struggled to manage the mental health impact and anxiety surrounding the pandemic.

“Going forward we need to ensure that access to emotional support is made a priority as the health system moves into the recovery phase and beyond. We’re calling on the government and NHS to work with the children and young people’s cancer charity sector in order to understand the gaps in support that have arisen due to coronavirus, and how we can work together to make sure everyone has the support they need.”

Notes to editors

About the Survey
CLIC Sargent conducted two short online surveys with young people and parents. The goal of the surveys was to explore the practical, emotional and other impact on young cancer patients on their families. In total 273 people completed the surveys; 114 parents of children with cancer, 70 parents of young people with cancer, and 80 young people. The surveys were live in the second week of April (survey one), and the second week of July 2020 (survey two). 115 people completed survey one and 158 completed survey two. They were promoted via CLIC Sargent’s Twitter, closed Facebook groups, emailed to potential service users and promoted via other charities’ networks.

For more information please contact Alison Millar on 07775 723 755 or email alison.millar@clicsargent.org.uk

About cancer in children and young people
Today, 12 more children and young people in the UK will hear the devastating news that they have cancer. Treatment normally starts immediately, is often given many miles from home and can last for up to three years. Although survival rates are over 80%, cancer remains the single largest cause of death from disease in children and young people in the UK.

About CLIC Sargent
When cancer strikes young lives CLIC Sargent helps families limit the damage cancer causes beyond their health. CLIC Sargent is the UK’s leading charity for young cancer patients and their families. We provide specialist support, to help and guide each young cancer patient and their family. We will fight tirelessly for them, individually, locally and nationally. For more information, visit www.clicsargent.org.uk

Note to sub editors
Please note that the name ‘CLIC Sargent’ should not be abbreviated to CLIC, and that the word ‘CLIC’ should always appear in capitals, as above.

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