Washington: Bowel cancer patients who lack social support are more than twice as likely to experience poorer health and quality of life, according to a new research.
According to researchers from the University of Southampton and Macmillan Cancer Support, patients lacking ‘positive social interaction’, such as having someone to do something enjoyable or relax with, were more likely to face problems.
These could include experiencing severe pain, having serious problems with moving around or having difficulty completing simple tasks such as washing and dressing.
The findings indicated that the people who lack affectionate support, such as someone to hug them or show them love, are almost six times more likely to have clinical levels of depression and three times more likely to have clinical levels of anxiety following treatment.
The study looked at how the social support available to people with bowel cancer changed over time and found that the number of people who lacked affectionate support almost trebled from diagnosis to two years later.
Similarly, the proportion of people with little or no positive social interaction almost doubled from diagnosis to two years later (seven per cent vs 12 per cent).
Professor Claire Foster from the University of Southampton, said: “It is so important for people to have the help and support they need to manage the consequences of cancer, particularly after their treatment ends.”
Dany Bell, Treatment and Recovery Specialist Advisor for Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “This research shows how vital it is that people with bowel cancer have social interaction with others.”
“Having a friend to go for a coffee with or someone who can join them for a country walk could help people cope with a range of problems, from anxiety and depression to pain and even mobility problems,” Bell added.
The research appears in the journal Psycho-Oncology.