Why are young people facing cancer alone?

A cancer diagnosis can be utterly terrifying, at least it was for me. After hearing I had melanoma it was hard to take anything else in.

Luckily, I had my husband with me and we took notes to look back on and digest once the initial shock was over.

I consider myself incredibly fortunate that after two small surgeries the ordeal was mostly over. But every step of the way I had a loved one with me, or waiting for me, and I'm not sure what I would have done without them.

I was in my thirties when I got my diagnosis and am now thankfully three years cancer free. I've been hearing stories of teenagers facing cancer alone due to Covid restrictions and although we all must do all we can stop the spread of Covid, it sounds incredibly lonely.

A campaign has now been launched by CLIC Sargent and The Teenage Cancer Trust to make sure young people have a 'hand to hold' throughout their treatment and for appointments.

Mikaela Forrester, 18

Mikaela, recently moved to Manchester and had a stem cell transplant following treatment for Hodgkin Lymphoma.

Due to the pandemic she had chemotherapy alone and spent three weeks in hospital unable to leave her room.

Sophie Mulligan, 24

Sophie travelled from Liverpool to the Christie for CAR-T Cell therapy in Manchester. Her mum dropped her off at the door with her suitcase for 3 weeks and was unable to visit.

In a poll conducted on CLIC Sargent’s Facebook support group for young cancer patients, 90% of young people said they had experienced treatment alone in hospital during this time.

This could mean learning of their diagnosis, prognosis and discussing treatment plans.

The charities leading the campaign say although there is guidance in place there should be specific guidelines for young people.

And to finish on some good news, although it's early days, both Mikaela and Sophie are now in remission.