A fifth of the 29,000 newly diagnosed cancer patients in Scotland lack support from family and friends during their treatment and recovery, according to new research.
Macmillan Cancer Support revealed around one in five of that number, an estimated 1,200 people each year, will receive no help and face cancer alone.
Relatives and friends living too far away, having other commitments or patients just having no-one to turn to are the most common reasons patients lack support, a survey of 1,794 people living with cancer in the UK found.
Across the UK, Macmillan estimates around 20,000 people face cancer completely alone. A total of 80% said the financial impact of cancer means they were unable to afford to see their loved ones as much.
The online survey also revealed that isolation appears to be a direct result of a cancer diagnosis for some, with 18% saying they have lost touch with family or friends because of their diagnosis.
The charity's report, Facing The Fight Alone, found 12% of those surveyed had not received a single visit from friends or family in more than six months.
It also revealed more than half of isolated patients have skipped meals or not eaten properly and 27% said they have not been able to wash themselves properly.
Allan Cowie, the charity's general manager in Scotland, said: "No-one should have to face cancer on their own. Many patients have friends and family who want to be there for them but most people are leading busy lives and it can be difficult for them to be there all the time, especially if the person with cancer is reluctant to ask for help.
"However sometimes just asking someone going through cancer how they are feeling and if there is anything you can do to help can make a big difference to them."
Mr Cowie added: "It's also vitally important that medical professionals understand the impact isolation can have on people with cancer and direct them to sources of support including Macmillan."