NEW YouGov figures reveal that almost a quarter of Brits (24%) will be affected by cancer this Christmas – with either themselves or someone close to them having cancer, or having lost someone to cancer this year.
Of those supposed to receive treatment for their cancer this year – or know a family member or close friend who was – 42% said that they, or the person close to them, have had their treatment delayed this year. With 21% delayed by more than three months.
The data was commissioned by World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), who are launching a series of short films featuring people affected by cancer talking about Christmas firsts – whether that be their first Christmas with cancer, or with someone special missing from the Christmas table.
One of the films features James Radford from Northamptonshire, who was 19 when he lost his mum to cancer. In it, he said:
“Christmas dinner was something my mum always did. It was something she loved to do for us. Our first Christmas without mum was very odd because it was quiet, nobody wanted to speak really, it was just an uncomfortable atmosphere to be sat around a Christmas table. Setting four places instead of three by mistake was, I don’t know, it was just natural I guess.”
James, who has also lost his grandmother, aunt and, most recently, his stepmother to cancer, has an inherited condition – Lynch syndrome – which means he has a higher risk of getting certain cancers such as bowel cancer. He is a committed fundraiser for WCRF, regularly taking part in challenge events – including two Virgin Marathons.
“The fundraising gives me focus, something positive to channel my energies into. If I can help one person not to have to deal with what I have had to deal with, then I will feel I’ve made a difference.“
Another of the films features Tricia Zenisa George, an NHS nurse from Croydon, who is a breast cancer survivor. In it, she said:
“Following surgery…I was also battling with not having any appetite at all, I was actually off food and that was an issue for my family because they…knowing how much I love food, they were concerned. However, I was absolutely determined that despite what, we were going to have a joyous Christmas. So, I set out a schedule, and I paced myself because I was still quite tired but my joy was seeing that Christmas tree go up, the lights, the decorations, the wreath in the window and just seeing things come together. I persevered, and we had a wonderful Christmas, a little different…but it was joyous all the same.”
The films highlight how vital the charity’s research into the links between lifestyle and cancer are and WCRF is asking people to #showcanceryoucare this Christmas by making a donation towards its life-changing work. They are also using social media to sign-post how people can tackle some of the issues raised in the films; from loss of taste because of cancer treatment, to honouring the memory of a loved one.