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More than 100,000 cancer patients 'left in the dark' about side effects, says Macmillan

The charity Macmillan Cancer Support wants the NHS to ensure cancer patients recieve a care plan and are told about potential long term side effects, both from their cancer and their treatment

Around 116,000 cancer patients in England are at risk of serious illnesses because potential side effects of their treatment were not properly explained to them, according to the charity Macmillan Cancer Support.

It bases its finding on the 2015 cancer patient experience survey (CPES), which found that 42% of 71,186 cancer patients surveyed said staff did not fully explain possible long term side effects.

Side effects can include heart conditions and issues with fertility.

Previous Macmillan research estimated that around 500,000 people in England (one in four people living with cancer) experience long term health conditions caused by their cancer or the treatment.

The charity believes that patients may be unaware of side effects because an estimated 100,000 patients in England do not receive a care plan.

It argues that people living with cancer should be given prior warning so that they can spot side

Around 116,000 cancer patients in England are at risk of serious illnesses because potential side effects of their treatment were not properly explained to them, according to the charity Macmillan Cancer Support.

It bases its finding on the 2015 cancer patient experience survey (CPES), which found that 42% of 71,186 cancer patients surveyed said staff did not fully explain possible long term side effects.

Side effects can include heart conditions and issues with fertility.

Previous Macmillan research estimated that around 500,000 people in England (one in four people living with cancer) experience long term health conditions caused by their cancer or the treatment.

The charity believes that patients may be unaware of side effects because an estimated 100,000 patients in England do not receive a care plan.

It argues that people living with cancer should be given prior warning so that they can spot side effects and get prompt treatment.

Macmillan chief executive Lynda Thomas said: ‘These findings highlight how important it is that patients are given information at the right time and in the right way, whether that is through a face-to-face discussion, leaflets, access to online resources, or a combination of all of these.

‘Cancer patients need to be told about potential long term side effects, be offered a care plan, be told where to get support and know who to speak to about their worries and fears.

‘The NHS needs to be equipped to provide this for cancer patients in order to cope with the increasing numbers of people being diagnosed and living with the disease.’

The 2015 CPES, conducted by survey company Quality Health, also found that almost half (48%) of patients surveyed said that, during their hospital stay, they could not always find staff to talk to about their worries and fears.

 

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