An estimated 30,000 people do not have any close friends they can talk with about their disease
An estimated 30,000 people do not have any close friends with whom they could talk with about their disease, according to a new survey.
The findings, released to coincide with World Cancer Day, show that an equivalent number of sufferers say they have actually lost friends when they revealed their diagnosis.
The YouGov survey for Macmillan Cancer Support found that 14 per cent of people with cancer in Scotland – around one in seven – do not have anyone to turn to.
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In Scotland, we have a wide network of information and support services
The charity says a range of factors can contribute to friendships being strained following a cancer diagnosis.
Janice Malone, Macmillan's engagement and volunteer manager in Scotland, said: "While lots of people have an amazing network of friends, unfortunately we know that a cancer diagnosis can cause relationships to break down.
"Some people feel as though they will burden friends with their worries so they choose to deal with them alone. At the same time, often people don't know what to say to friends living with cancer and so avoid communicating altogether.
"Cancer can cause so many worries that are not just related to health, such as the impact on your work, your finances and your confidence. It can be an incredibly overwhelming time and so it's crucial that people feel supported and have someone to talk to.
Simply being there is often exactly what a person needs.
"In Scotland, we have a wide network of information and support services in local libraries offering help to people affected by cancer, as well as their friends and family. Alternatively, you can access Macmillan's online community or call our support line."
However, for many other people living with cancer, support from their nearest and dearest proves invaluable, with around half saying they could not have coped through their experience without the help of their friends.
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Macmillan found that 14 per cent of people with cancer in Scotland do not have anyone to turn to
For those in Scotland who have had a friend diagnosed with cancer, half find it difficult to support them, with most saying this is because they do not know what to say.
This World Cancer Day (Sat), Macmillan is urging people with cancer to connect with the charity if they feel they have no one to talk to or don't feel supported.
Macmillan says it can also support people to be there for a loved one, friend or colleague with cancer.
Among those who found it hard to talk about their cancer after being diagnosed was Leigh Roberts.
Half of people in Scotland with a friend who has cancer find it difficult to support them
The 53-year-old, from Longniddry, found out she had breast cancer in July 2015.
Speaking to promote Macmillan's campaign, Ms Roberts said: "When you're going through treatment, people are nice because you're looking ill but they don't actually want to talk about it.
"You can walk past five people you know who don't want to look at you and suddenly find the sky more interesting. You also don't want to burden people because they have their own problems and they don't understand how you feel."
The mother-of-two says that while her close-knit group of friends have been very supportive, she finds it hard to confide in them about how she is feeling-especially now a year after finishing treatment.
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She added: "You can't keep banging on about it a year later but your brain is still processing what you've been through. There are a lot of loose ends floating around in your head. You're left with incredible anxiety.
"Things you could have taken in your stride are now ridiculously stressful but there is such pressure to perform and be normal.
"There isn't anyone to talk to and that's why Macmillan's online forum is so amazing. That just reassures you in the middle of the night that other people are going through the same and you're not alone."
For support, information or just to chat, call free on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm) or visit macmillan.org.uk
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