The un-clear ‘all clear’: cancer survivors under pressure to bounce-back to normal

23 September 2015
  • Nearly half (43%)* felt pressure to bounce back to normal after being given the ‘all clear’
  • Three in five (61%) say that their cancer diagnosis changed them
  • Over half (56%) have since taken steps to improve their lifestyles.

For many, life isn’t ‘all clear’ after cancer, a new study by Bupa UK reveals. In fact, nearly half (43%) of those living beyond cancer admitted feeling under pressure to return to normal immediately after their treatment ended, while over a third (35%) said they felt emotionally drained.

Increasing numbers of people are being diagnosed with cancer each year**. Research talking to those who had survived cancer highlighted just how important it is to understand not only the impact a cancer diagnosis and treatment can have, but also how people feel once their treatment ends. Those who have had cancer and have been given the ‘all clear’ confessed that they generally feel much more anxious (22%) and worry much more (21%), and also admitted that they didn’t know whether what they were experiencing was ‘normal’ or not (20%) and feel less in control than they did during their treatment (18%).  

Bupa’s Cancer Survivorship Programme helps those living with and beyond cancer.    A dedicated cancer nurse is available for as long as customers and their families need them (even after recovery), and can offer support on emotional issues and practical guidance.

Jayne Molyneux, Business Change Manager at Bupa UK comments: “Being diagnosed with, and surviving, cancer can be a long and emotional journey, and ‘getting back to normal’ might be more difficult than people initially think. 

“As our research shows, people who have been given the ‘all clear’ often feel drained, unprepared or unsure who to turn to, and that returning to normal can take much longer than expected. This is exactly why we offer support for our customers who are living with, and beyond, cancer for as long as they need – of course finding out that the cancer has gone is a huge relief, but often the impact of cancer doesn’t end there.”

The survey also found that being diagnosed with, and surviving cancer, can encourage people to change their lifestyles for the better. In fact, two-fifths (41%) exercise more and nearly half (46%) spend more time doing the things they enjoy, while nearly half (49%) have taken steps to improve their diet for the better.

Jayne Molyneux adds: “Overcoming cancer can be enormously empowering and being given the ‘all clear’ clearly encourages people to reassess and improve their lifestyles. The fact that two in five (38%) people who are living beyond cancer say that they can cope with anything that comes their way just goes to show that cancer impacts everyone in a different way, which is why it’s vital that the right support is in place.” 

This research marks the re-launch of Bupa UK’s TV campaign, which highlights Bupa UK’s cancer survivorship programme. The advertisement follows a father return to ‘normal life’ after finishing cancer treatment. 

The cancer survivorship advertisement can be viewed here

Notes to editor

About the research
* All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from One Poll.  Total sample size was 429 cancer survivors. Fieldwork was undertaken between 28th August and 7th September 2015.  The survey was carried out online. 

**Data taken from Cancer Research UK 

For further information contact:
Bupa UK Press Office
Tel: +44 (0)207 656 2454

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