A CANCER support charity will be visiting libraries across South Gloucestershire to provide support sessions to help lonely people living with cancer.

Macmillan’s cancer information and support specialists will continue their visits to libraries in South Gloucestershire to show people affected by cancer that they are not alone.

After a successful trial of these sessions earlier this year, the programme will become an ongoing drop-in service.

New research conducted by Ipsos MORI has revealed the serious impact of being lonely on the lives of people living with cancer.

It compares the experiences of cancer patients who say they feel lonely since their diagnosis with those who aren’t and shows clear differences.

Lonely cancer patients are three times more likely to drink more alcohol than they usually do and almost five times more likely to have not left the house for days.

For many, their diet also suffers. Lonely cancer patients are five times more likely to skip meals and almost eight times more likely to eat a poor diet (45% vs. 6%)

People with cancer who are most likely to feel lonely include those with cancer that is advanced or has spread or relapsed, those living alone, and those who have made a change to their working life.

Michelle Smith, the Macmillan cancer information specialist who supports the sessions, said: “The response to the previous library sessions was really positive. Many people came after seeing the sessions advertised and had specifically planned a journey to come and see us.

“We are delighted to be in a position whereby we are looking at sustaining the scheme as a constant source of support to the people of South Gloucestershire.

“We know that currently 1 in 3 people will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in our lifetimes. With 266,000 people living in South Gloucestershire, it is essential that support is available.”

Martin Burton, manager of South Gloucestershire Libraries, says: “Local libraries have always been a handy source of freely-available, impartial information. It’s great that Macmillan is able to come out into the community and raise awareness of the support available to people affected by cancer.”

On Friday, September 5 and Friday, September 19, between 10am and 12pm a session will be held in Yate Library. On Saturday, September 27 a session will be run in Thornbury Library between 2pm and 4pm.

If you cannot visit the team when they come to one of the libraries in South Gloucestershire, but have questions about cancer, you can call Macmillan free on 0808 808 00 00 or visit www.macmillan.org.uk