People in the North East unaware of cancer care support services

Charity launches UK’s first independent map to help people in the region find cancer care and support services using their postcode 

Dimbleby Cancer Caretoday officially launches the cancercaremap.org, after research* finds a significant lack of awareness across the North East of the support and advice services available following a cancer diagnosis.

New research revealed that more than half (64%) of those in the region were unaware of emotional support services, such as talking therapy or support groups, despite studies finding mental ill health can affect up to 49% of people with cancer.1Almost three quarters (74%) also lacked awareness of the availability of practical support, such as help with driving or coping with housework.

In addition, the findings highlighted that in the North East:

  • Over three quarters (76%) of people aren’t aware financial support, such as benefits, and financial planning advice is available
  • Cancer support and advice services are most likely to be sought by family members with 22% of all those surveyed doing so on a family member’s behalf, compared to only 3% doing so for themselves
  • A quarter (25%) of those surveyed online would turn to the internet first in search for support.

The cancercaremap.org is now being launched ahead of World Cancer Day (Monday 4thFebruary), to address this information gap, and provide the UK’s only comprehensive directory of cancer-related services for those living with cancer, their friends and family, carers and clinicians.

The pilot site for the cancercaremap.org opened in February 2018 and has been developed over the past year with the input of current and former cancer patients, carers and clinical staff. Growing week by week the site features everything from NHS centers, charity and community led groups to local businesses offering special discounts.

Jonathan Dimbleby chair of Dimbleby Cancer Careand creator of the map, explains, “These results illustrate a shocking truth – that vital cancer care and support services are available, yet remain hidden to those who need them. By 2020, one in two people in the UK will have had a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime.2That’s 27.6 million people who may not know where to find cancer support groups in their local area.”

“Five years ago, a friend asked me to find cancer services for his wife. I realised very quickly that this was frighteningly difficult to do, and that there was no comprehensive resource to help me. At Dimbleby Cancer Care, we wanted to create our own site to ensure make sure that nobody facing cancer, goes without the care they need; all you would need is an internet connection and a postcode. The site has already grown tremendously over the past year, and we’re now incredibly excited to be officially launching the cancercaremap.org and helping raise awareness across the country of these much-needed services.”

The research also showed that people in the North East had trouble sourcing information, with a general lack of knowledge of services available and no central place to see all available options in their local area identified as the top barriers which could prevent people in the North East from finding cancer care and support services.

Laura Lee, Chief Executive at Maggie’s, which has a centre in Newcastle said: “Maggie’s is a charity providing free cancer support and information in our centres alongside NHS hospitals and online.  We help people take back control when cancer turns life upside down, with professional support for anything from treatment side effects to money worries. The cancer care map will help even more people with cancer and their families to be aware of the support that we offer.”

This project has been made possible in part by a grant from Postcode Community Trust, a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

To find out more about the medical, health and wellbeing, emotional and practical services that could be available to help you or someone you know, visit cancercaremap.org.

If there is a service that you would like to add to cancercaremap.org get in touch at cancercaremap.org/contact.

Additional UK wide statistics

  • Over half (51%) of those in Britain were unaware of emotional support services, such as talking therapy or support groups, despite studies finding mental ill health can affect up to 49% of people with cancer.1
  • Almost three quarters (74%) also lacked awareness of the availability of practical support, such as help with driving or coping with housework.
  • Just under three quarters (73%) of people also aren’t aware financial support, such as benefits, and financial planning advice is available
  • Cancer support and advice services are most likely to be sought by family members with 20% of all those surveyed doing so on a family member’s behalf, compared to only 7% doing so for themselves
  • Over a quarter (28%) of those surveyed online would turn to the internet first in search for support.