Surge in patients needing counselling after cancer appointments cancelled
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Surge in patients needing counselling after cancer appointments cancelled

Chai Cancer Care has warned its clients are facing "extra trauma" from cancelled appointments because of the pandemic

Cancer cells
Cancer cells

The community’s leading cancer charity has warned it is seeing a surge in people needing counselling sessions because of cancelled appointments.

Chai Cancer Care has revealed that the number of counselling sessions given in the past year since the start of the pandemic has increased by a third.

It comes after a group of 47 cancer charities issued an unprecedented warning that cancer deaths will rise unless urgent action is taken to clear the backlog.

The chief executive of Chai, Lisa Steele, said the charity had been on the receiving end of an “inevitable surge” of new clients. In the past year, the service has seen 591 new clients.

“Our clients are experiencing an added layer of trauma due to postponed or cancelled cancer appointments, surgeries and screenings,” she said.

“In addition to this, the loss of social interaction over the last year has been a tremendous source of pressure and anxiety for our clients when they are at their most vulnerable.

“Recognising that many of our clients do not have the luxury of time we are looking to increase our team of counsellors to ensure that we can continue caring for each client who turns to us at a time when they need it most.”

An estimated 44,000 patients should have started cancer treatment in 2020 but did not because of delays caused by the pandemic.

Speaking this week, the One Cancer Voice coalition urged ministers to take decisive action to prevent delayed cancer appointments translating into worse health outcomes for patients.

“As a result, sadly, we’re likely to see more patients diagnosed at a later stage when chances of survival are lower, likely stalling or even reversing improvements in cancer survival,” they warned.

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