An estimated 50,000 mothers are living with a cancer diagnosis in Wales according to Macmillan Cancer Support.
The charity has raised concerns about parents having to cope with a range of issues, including breaking the news of their cancer to their children, being apart from them while they have treatment, and needing to pay extra childcare costs.
Of the 50,000 mothers, 10,00 are estimated to have children under the age of 19.
of people living with cancer are parents
Macmillan Cancer Support is holding the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning fundraising event tomorrow (29 September), aimed at raising awareness of the challenges parents face.
40-year-old Suzanne Rees, from Merthyr found out she had breast cancer in April 2014. With only one week from diagnosis to undergoing major surgery, Suzanne said she had very little time to prepare and didn't know when she would tell her 13-year-old daughter Chelsea.
Speaking about her cancer experience, Suzanne said:
A friend of mine had died the previous year from breast cancer and Chelsea asked me straight out if I was going to die.
After her emergency surgery Suzanne underwent six courses of chemotherapy and 20 radiotherapy treatments. Severe side effects from the cancer treatments meant that Suzanne was admitted to hospital three times.
is the average age of mums with cancer in the UK who have teenagers
Although Suzanne’s treatments finished in November 2014, she was off work for a year in total.
I was lucky.
Speaking about the long-term impact of her cancer diagnosis and treatment on her daughter, Suzanne said:
Chelsea is still nervous when it comes to my yearly mammogram to check that I’m still clear of cancer - we both are.
Susan Morris, Head of Services for Macmillan in Wales, said:
I know how much energy it takes to be a parent so I can’t imagine how hard it must be when you’re also coping with the emotional strain of cancer or having gruelling treatment.
The charity provides Macmillan nurses and professionals who can offer practical and emotional support, as well as information on how to communicate with children about cancer.
The figures are based on a survey of more than 2,000 people living with cancer in the UK, conducted by YouGov.