Results of UK study on how cancer impacts on patients’ finances

macmillan cancer support

Macmillan Cancer Support  have commissioned research from the University of Bristol to look into the financial costs of cancer and have discovered some shocking results -  results which will come as no surprise to those patients struggling with the financial impact of a cancer diagnosis.

Four in five cancer patients are hit with a monthly average cost of £570 (€666; 870 USD) as a result of their illness (this is a combined cost of loss of earnings and the increased costs of cancer -e.g. extra heating, travel to hospital).  Even more shocking, the survey showed that one in three patients are actually losing on average £860 a month in earnings because of not being able to work or having to cut down on working hours.

The new research shows that the financial burden of cancer is not the same for everyone. Those in work, and those with children are more likely to bear the costs of their illness and the average monthly total is twice as high as for those who are not in work or who do not have any children. Unfairly, the impact for those on low incomes is twice the size of those on the highest incomes. Similarly those with a rarer cancer are hit with a bill (£890 a month) twice the size as that of someone with colorectal or prostate cancer.

This new research shows that cancer comes with a whopping price tag for many patients. Combined with the current recession and with welfare cuts, the cost of the disease is hitting the most vulnerable hardest. With the number of people living with cancer in the UK doubling from two to four million by 2030, this is a growing problem which cannot be ignored. Cancer costs the equivalent of a second mortgage. We must act now to protect the financially vulnerable from having to foot the bill for their illness ~ Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support.

Macmillan believes no-one should face financial worries alone and is calling on governments, businesses and the NHS to act urgently to ensure the right support is offered at the right time to ease the terrible financial strain on people living with cancer.

Did you find that a cancer diagnosis impacted your finances in a significant way? Have you any helpful resources or advice to share with readers in the same situation?