The impact of coronavirus is being felt acutely by young people with cancer due to late referrals and diagnoses, a leading cancer charity, The Youth Cancer Trust has warned.
The charity also predicts a sharp increase in delayed diagnoses in this age group as a direct result of the pandemic.
As charities begin to evaluate the impact of the pandemic, The Youth Cancer Trust has seen a fear of the disease impacting young people in seeking medical care.
Young people, (14 – 25) have sometimes been dismissed or overlooked when reporting symptoms to primary care however now, along with the fear of the pandemic, young people are even more put off from seeking medical care or are experiencing delays in accessing it.
Studies into the impact of the pandemic on young people have shown a quarter of 25-29 years olds are very worried about the effect that Coronavirus is having on their lives (ONS, n.d.).
Research published in the Lancet (Lancet Oncol 2020; 21: 1023–34), predicts that COVID-19 will increase the mortality rate of cancer patients between 4.8% and 16.6% depending on the type of cancer.
The Youth Cancer Trust warns young people could be forgotten by healthcare providers and may be diagnosed late. The trust is calling on healthcare providers to encourage young people to visit their GPs and come forward if they are reporting symptoms in the hope fewer people will be diagnosed late.
“Since the start of the pandemic, Youth Cancer Trust has been working with over 150 young people living with cancer on a safe and secure digital environment.
It has become a huge concern to us that many are experiencing severe mental health issues about treatment delays, issues surround loneliness, visiting their GP or consultant, going back to the workplace, finding a job along with anxieties surrounding undertaking simple activities such as going out to get basic essentials due to the fear of catching Covid-19.” Says Georgina Hillman (Manager)
Like many charities, The Youth Cancer Trust has seen a fall in donations. During the pandemic, the Trust quickly adapted and continued to support young people with cancer by focusing on providing support online with activities and signposting support. However, the trust is calling for support for cancer charities from Government to help bolster support for young people with cancer.