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Thousands of people in Wales living with 'chronic cancer' charity warns

There could be around 8,000 people living with ''chronic cancer'' in Wales Credit: PA

New research suggests thousands of people in Wales could be living with ''chronic cancer.''

A study by charity Macmillan Cancer Support shows at least 136,000 people in the UK are living with a ''chronic'' form of cancer - known as treatable but not curable.

The charity say this could mean around 8,000 people in Wales are living with cancer that can be managed but rarely cured.

8,000
People living with ''chronic cancer'' in Wales

The charity warn the uncertainty of the condition causes significantly higher levels of anxiety, fear and pain in patients due to the requirement for constant tests and procedures to monitor the disease.

In a UK survey, they found over 70% of patients said they were not getting the right emotional or physical support they need.

The fact that 77% of this newly identified group with treatable but not curable cancer across the UK feel they are not getting all the support they need shows the challenges facing our current NHS workforce despite the best efforts of hard-working staff.

With treatments continuing to advance and the number of patients with 'chronic' cancer set to continue growing, we need to have the right cancer workforce with the right skills in place in Wales to ensure people living with cancer, including those with treatable but not curable cancer, can add quality, as well as years, to their lives.

– Richard Pugh, Head of Services (Wales) for Macmillan Cancer Support

The Welsh Government has been approached for comment.

Karen Sinclair has been living with chronic cancer for 11 years Credit: Macmillan

Former Assembly member for Clwyd South, Karen Sinclair, has been living with incurable multiple myelomas for 11 years.

After an initial eight month course of chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant, she now has regular blood tests and yearly check-ups.

''When I was diagnosed I thought it was a death sentence,'' Karen said.

''But due to huge strides in medical science, more and more people are living with cancer now and you can almost regard it as a chronic condition.

''I didn't think I would live to get to see my grandchildren, but I did, I now have three beautiful grandchildren.''

As treatment advances, more and more people are surviving cancer. Living with treatable but not curable cancer requires a new approach, focusing on maintaining a high quality of life through and beyond treatment.

Our Cancer Delivery Plan for Wales sets out how we expect health boards to deliver this care.

– Welsh Government Spokesperson