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Please see below a personal message from Sarahjane Robertson, Chief Executive of Look Good Feel Better (LGFB), the industry’s charity.
"Cancer support charity, Look Good Feel Better was set up in the UK 27 years ago with the support of the CTPA and a group of Founder Member companies. Today, it is recognised as the Beauty and Cosmetics Industry’s flagship charity. The charity provides both practical and emotional support to women, men and young adults diagnosed with any form of cancer, that are struggling to manage the visible and psychological effects of their cancer treatment.
The Coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on all our lives. Whilst most of us find elements of our lives have stopped or changed significantly, cancer has not – it does not stop. Just as before the pandemic, each day nearly 1,000 people receive the devastating news that they have cancer. Last year, Macmillan reported that the virus and associated lockdown has left as many as one in four (840,000) people with cancer feeling stressed, anxious or depressed and 1 in 8 people with cancer (around 390,000 people in the UK) having seen their mental health worsen due to the pandemic.
The Coronavirus pandemic has also had a catastrophic effect on Look Good Feel Better. We began 2020 with the aim of reaching more people living with cancer than ever before, with increasing demand for our services in ’our’ 141 hospital and cancer care centres. However, this all came to an abrupt halt in March, with centres closing and hospitals becoming overwhelmed with Covid patients. Within three weeks of the first lockdown, we moved all our services online to ensure that those living with cancer were still able to receive our unique support. These online services have proven extremely popular and provided vital support at a time when cancer patients tell us they are feeling forgotten, isolated and incredibly stressed.
Since a national lockdown was introduced across the UK in March, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, cancer screening has been suspended, routine diagnostic work deferred, and only urgent symptomatic cases prioritised for diagnostic intervention. Only now is the true picture emerging about how the Coronavirus pandemic has affected the lives of those living with cancer, as the following statistics gathered from various research papers by Cancer Research UK highlight, the picture is a troubling one.
- Between March and September 2020, 350,000 fewer people than usual had a referral for ‘fast-track’ investigation.
- In England, 3.4 million fewer key diagnostic tests (–35%) were performed between March and August 2020 compared with the same period in 2019.
- Within 5 years, 3,000 additional deaths from some of the most common cancers (breast, lung, oesophageal and colorectal cancer) will result from delayed diagnosis owing to COVID-19-associated disruption to diagnostic services.
- In England, in May 2020, 9,500 fewer patients (–37%) started treatment compared with May 2019.
As the unprecedented backlog of cancer treatment is addressed, demand for Look Good Feel Better’s support is going to be greater than ever before and it is imperative we are ready and able to provide our support to anyone who needs it. Sadly, in order for us to be ready and able, we need to ensure our funding levels are returned to those pre-pandemic. In March 2020, we forecast our income would be down as much as 60% down on 2019. As a consequence we had to make some radical and drastic cuts to our expenditure, including making a third of the charity’s staff redundant. Whilst we have been able to claw back some lost income, we still remain significantly under funded and under resourced. It is for this reason, I am reaching out to you for your support.
As a Member of the CTPA and integral part of the Industry, I would value the opportunity of discussing how your organisation might consider giving its support at this crucial time in the charity’s history. This might be alongside your existing charitable activity, as a one off activity or something more long term.
Our beneficiaries explain the benefits of our services so much better than anyone else – if you or your team would like to hear what people say (pre Covid!) please click on this link : Voices of Look Good Feel Better.
Many thanks and I hope we can ‘meet’ soon.
Sarahjane Robertson | Chief Executive