The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on thousands of people affected by cancer. As we look to provide support the whole way through, our Chief Executive, Delyth Morgan, explains the extreme challenges that we, and the charity sector, are currently facing.
We have never experienced a time like this before
It’s extremely concerning to hear of the major impacts the pandemic continues to have on thousands of people affected by cancer. The outbreak has led to many people’s cancer treatment being paused or delayed, an extremely worrying drop in the number of people being referred to see a cancer specialist, thousands of screening appointments being cancelled and some clinical trials being paused.
We have never seen a time where those affected by breast cancer and their families are in such need of reassurance, support, clear and trusted information, and hope for the future. In particular, many women with incurable secondary breast cancer are experiencing or fearing considerable changes to their care or treatment options, and the level of anxiety, distress and fear that we’ve been hearing on our Helpline is unparalleled in recent years.
To everyone affected by breast cancer: we are here for you and we will be working tirelessly to support you the whole way through this crisis and beyond, whatever you’re facing. If you need information or someone to talk to, our free Helpline is there for you on 0808 800 6000, or you can visit our information pages.
Charities must act now
These really worrying impacts are by no means limited to breast cancer alone. The need for support, for millions of people affected by a wide range of health conditions and issues, has never been greater. Charities quite simply have to act now, but we must be very clear that this is the greatest threat the sector has ever faced and we will not be able to meet this need without emergency support of our own.
At a time when we at Breast Cancer Now want to expand our services to meet the growing need for support and information; at a time when so many people affected by breast cancer are feeling absolutely distressed, anxious, fearful and even hopeless; at a time when we desperately need to advocate for patients and ensure we support and influence the NHS as it reacts to the pressures of the crisis, we as an organisation are facing one of our greatest threats and challenges to date.
We urgently need support
While we are taking steps to mitigate the impact as much as we can, COVID-19 will have major implications for our income. We expect to see at least a 25% drop in our fundraising income this year as a result of the outbreak ― and if we are to continue our world-class research and life-changing support services, we urgently need support, now more than ever. Without further financial support from the Government for cancer charities and many other organisations, we are extremely concerned that the impacts on the voluntary sector will be felt for years to come.
Note: this statement was originally published in inews.
For more information on coronavirus and how it may affect you if you've had breast cancer, visit our information page.