Cancer and Coronavirus – As tough as it gets

Our research found that around half of young people with cancer and parents found it hard to cope with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a particularly difficult time for young cancer patients and their families. They have had to deal with the emotional, financial and practical impact of cancer, while the country has had to adapt to changes in how we live, work, and receive health care.

Young Lives vs Cancer wanted to understand the impact of these unprecedented times in order to better support young cancer patients and their families, and advocate for the support they need from the wider Health System. 

We conducted three online surveys between April 2020 and February 2021 with young people and parents, which explored the practical, emotional and other impacts on young cancer patients and their families. 

Our surveys said… 

The results of our first two surveys were published in our September 2020 report, Cancer and Coronavirus – As Tough as it Gets.

The results of the third survey are set out in our research briefing: The continued psychosocial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on young cancer patients and their families published, in August 2021.  

Key findings from Cancer and Coronavirus – As Tough as it Gets include: 

  • Over half (52%) of young people felt they were not coping 
  • Around half of parents felt that they were not coping (53% of parents of young people, and 46% of parents of children with cancer) 
  • Nearly half (46%) of respondents said their finances were affected by the current situation 
  • Over half (54%) of people who completed the survey felt the most difficult thing about the coronavirus pandemic was the additional stress and worry 
  • Around a third (36%) of parents felt they were not meeting the needs of their families. 

The follow up research briefing: The continued psychosocial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on young cancer patients and their families found that families continued to struggle throughout the pandemic in several key areas: 

  • 52% of young people and parents felt they were not coping well with the ongoing pandemic 
  • 53% felt they needed more financial help to manage their day-to-day living costs 
  • 39% of young people experienced some aspect of their cancer care alone 
  • 19% of those who had been on treatment during the pandemic said an aspect of their treatment had been delayed in some way. 

We believe it is vital that:  

  • Access to mental support be made a priority as the health system moves into the recovery phase and beyond  
  • Analysis is done to understand the impact of coronavirus on cancer diagnosis and treatment experiences of children and young people so that any potential ongoing impact can be tackled  
  • Gaps in support that have arisen due to coronavirus are understood, so that charities, the NHS and others can work together to make sure that children and young people with cancer have the support they need. 

Read more about our policy and campaigning work during the pandemic

Our campaign for government funding

We launched a campaign for  government funding to ensure our vital work can continue.

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Hand 2 Hold

Young Lives vs Cancer, alongside Teenage Cancer Trust, is supporting young people (over 16) who have had to go through treatment, attend scans and hospital...

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