Romford cancer patient describes impact of Covid pandemic on mental health
- Credit: Raveen Sethi/Macmillan Cancer Support
A Romford cancer patient described a charity support service as a "lifeline" after revealing how the Covid pandemic impacted her mental health.
Raveen Sethi, 26, was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in 2018, a rare form of cancer.
She had stem cell transplant treatment in August last year and is in recovery, but spoke out about her experiences to encourage others with cancer to access support.
Raveen said: “Since being diagnosed with cancer and also having had times when I’d relapse, there have often been times where it felt like my world was ending.
"Then the pandemic happened too, adding a whole new layer of anxiety and stress to an already distressing experience.
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"There was a time when I wasn’t allowed to have my mum with me for appointments and, with no distractions, I had more time to think about my diagnosis and also had fears over whether my transplant would be delayed or cancelled."
She used charity Macmillan Cancer Support's help line, which offers assistance to those living with cancer and their families.
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Raveen described talking to someone who understood how she was feeling as "a lifeline".
She added: "We as cancer patients tend to isolate ourselves anyway because nobody understands, but Macmillan does.
"Nobody talks about the emotional impacts of cancer, but the support line provides that safe space to do just that.”
A Macmillan spokesperson said a charity survey in December found one in five people with cancer in London were concerned that the Covid pandemic "could be reducing the likelihood of their treatment being successful or, at worst, risk shortening their lives".
Chris Payne, the charity's support line manager, said: "We’re hearing from people every day who are feeling incredibly isolated, who are too scared to go outside because of their vulnerability to coronavirus and who have found receiving a diagnosis and going through treatment without loved ones by their side really distressing.
"For many, this pandemic feels like the worst possible groundhog day. We want them to know that they aren’t alone.
“Macmillan’s specially trained teams are on hand, every day, to provide support."
Anyone in need of cancer support can call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00, which is open seven days a week between 8am and 8pm, or visit https://community.macmillan.org.uk/.