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1.8m have cancer and another long-term condition

The overall number of people with cancer and another long-term condition could swell by one million over the next 15 years, placing a major strain on the NHS and local authorities, new Macmillan Cancer Support research reveals.

Currently, there are an estimated 1.8 million people in the UK who have cancer and at least one other long-term health condition, such as hypertension, obesity, or chronic kidney disease.

The cancer charity warns that those living with cancer and another long-term condition are more likely to have practical, personal and emotional needs than others with the disease.

Juliet Bouverie, director of services and influencing at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “A holistic needs assessment, which identifies those living with complex needs has to be available to all people with cancer. A comprehensive recovery package will then support them to manage their health as they look to get their lives back to a new sense of normality after a cancer diagnosis.

“The upcoming general election and the development of a cancer strategy for England offer a unique opportunity to ensure that decision makers readdress the way that people with cancer are supported.”

“The face of cancer is changing; it is no longer just a case of being cured or dying from the disease. Instead, people are living with cancer and most of them are managing this alongside other conditions, which may seriously affect their lives.

Gary Tanner, 62, from Somerset was diagnosed with cancer for the second time in 2013. He said: “I try to live with it all but dealing with several conditions at the same time has been depressing and incapacitating. I'm tremendously happy to be alive but know that I will rely on medical professionals for the rest of my life.”

Macmillan is calling on the next government to prioritise cancer care and is working with an independent Cancer Taskforce to ensure that the needs of people living with and dying from cancer - beyond diagnosis and treatment - are addressed in an updated cancer strategy for England.