Bowel cancer patients' friends and family in 'anguish' due to lack of support


Loved ones of bowel cancer patients are suffering a "hidden anguish", a charity has said after a new report concluded that they are not receiving enough support.

Only a quarter (27%) of friends or family members of someone who has died from the disease feel as though they were given enough support following the death of a loved one, according to Beating Bowel Cancer.

A third of family members and friends said they were not given the information and support they needed whilst trying to help their loved one through treatment. 

The charity said that the emotional impact on friends and family can be "debilitating".

People should be given more information, support and advice, be it from health workers, a charity or others who have had similar experiences, it said.

"What is clear from this research is that partners, relatives and close friends of bowel cancer patients can find themselves in a very desperate place," said Beating Bowel Cancer chief executive Mark Flannagan.

"Time and time again people said they felt uncertain, helpless and longed for some kind of normality.

"It's very difficult to say 'but what about me' when your loved-one is going through bowel cancer, but the emotional impact on family and friends can be very debilitating.

"However, with the right support and information their fears and anxieties can be relieved. As a charity, we're here for everyone affected by bowel cancer and would encourage anyone, whether they've been diagnosed or are supporting someone who has the disease, to contact us for help and information."

The charity is looking to raise £100,000 so it can increase the number of people it can support and create a new information booklet for loved ones.

Commenting on the release of the report, which saw 700 family members or friends of people bowel cancer polled from across the UK, Steve Guy, whose wife Wendy died of the disease in 2015, said: "It's a very lonely place because you really don't know what to expect and there isn't much help and support for partners at all.

Mr Guy, from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, added: "Nobody is talking to partners, nobody is taking you aside and saying this is what's going to happen; this is what your loved-one is going through or anything like that. No one is looking after us."