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Many cancer carers 'hold down full-time jobs'

Around half a million people in the UK currently caring for someone with cancer are in full-time work, research shows.

Data from Macmillan Cancer Support shows more than 50,000 people may be providing over a week's worth of care to a loved-one with cancer - 35 hours of care - despite holding down a full-time job.

The research, carried out by Ipsos MORI, found one in ten - or around 100,000 people in the UK - provides a staggering 50 hours or more of care each week.

Just under half of cancer carers polled (46%) said they suffer from emotional and mental health problems such as stress, anxiety and depression.

One in eight (13%) said their caring role causes physical health issues such as exhaustion, sleep and digestive problems. 

“Dealing with the relentless physical and emotional pressures of caring for someone with cancer is hard enough, combining it with a full-time job is extremely difficult and can drive carers to breaking point,” said Ciarán Devane, chief executive at Macmillan Cancer Support.

“It's vitally important cancer carers are fully supported both at home and at work to enable them to cope with the tough demands of their role. If they are left to struggle on their own it will cost carers their health and even their job. It will also put a significant strain on the NHS.”

Just under half (49%) of cancer carers also said they received no support from the government - either formally or informally - to help them look after their loved-one with cancer.