DIMBLEBY Cancer Care today officially launches the cancercaremap.org, after research finds a significant lack of awareness across the UK of the thousands of support and advice services available following a cancer diagnosis.

New research revealed that over half (51%) of those in Britain were unaware of emotional support services, such as talking therapy or support groups, despite studies finding mental ill health can affect up to 49% of people with cancer. Just under three quarters also lacked awareness of the financial or practical support available.

Nation unaware of cancer care support services
Jonathan Dimbleby

In addition, the findings highlighted that:

  • Men are significantly less likely to be aware of the support and advice services available than women. For example, 43% of women were aware of health and wellbeing services, such as complementary therapies, available following a cancer diagnosis compared to 36% of men
  • Cancer support and advice services are most likely to be sought by family members with 20% of all those surveyed doing so on a family member’s behalf, compared to only 7% doing so for themselves
  • Over a quarter (28%) of those surveyed online would turn to the internet first in search for support.

The cancercaremap.org is now being launched ahead of World Cancer Day (Monday 4th February), to address this information gap, and provide the UK’s only comprehensive directory of cancer-related services for those living with cancer, their friends and family, carers and clinicians.

The pilot site for the cancercaremap.org opened in February 2018 and has been developed over the past year with the input of current and former cancer patients, carers and clinical staff. Growing week by week the site features everything from NHS centres, charity and community led groups to local businesses offering special discounts.

Jonathan Dimbleby chair of Dimbleby Cancer Care and creator of the map, said:

“These results illustrate a shocking truth – that vital cancer care and support services are available, yet remain hidden to those who need them. By 2020, one in two people in the UK will have had a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime. That’s 27.6 million people who may not know where to find cancer support groups in their local area.”

“Five years ago, a friend asked me to find cancer services for his wife. I realised very quickly that this was frighteningly difficult to do, and that there was no comprehensive resource to help me. At Dimbleby Cancer Care, we wanted to create our own site to ensure make sure that nobody facing cancer, goes without the care they need; all you would need is an internet connection and a postcode. The site has already grown tremendously over the past year, and we’re now incredibly excited to be officially launching the cancercaremap.org and helping raise awareness across the country of these much-needed services.”

The research also showed that even those who had accessed services had trouble sourcing information, with some (5%) of those who have accessed services revealing it had taken them weeks to find the support they were looking for. A lack of knowledge of services available and no central place to see what was in their local area were identified as the top barriers preventing people from finding cancer care and support services.

Frazer Scott, 30, from London, who has received support from Dimbleby Cancer Care, said:

“After a cancer diagnosis, no one gives you a map for what you’ll go through or what you’ll face when you’re in the eye of the storm. Having one place where you can go to armour yourself – as well as your loved ones – to help deal with what’s coming is invaluable.

“When you’ve had cancer, you also feel like you want to help others, and it’s so limiting to just say, ‘well, I can recommend this particular charity in London’, which might not be available in their local area,” continues Frazer. “The cancercaremap.org will be incredibly helpful to signpost people nationwide to more localised services which can provide them with vital support throughout their journey.”

To find out more about the medical, health and wellbeing, emotional and practical services that could be available to help you or someone you know, visit cancercaremap.org.

If you there is a service that you would like to add to cancercaremap.org get in touch at cancercaremap.org/contact.