Twenty-four percent of people with cancer in the South East have no savings to cushion the financial impact of cancer, according to new research by Macmillan Cancer Support out today. The charity’s report, No Small Change, shows money worries can affect people with cancer when they least expect it. It warns that a lack of financial safety net could leave an estimated 63,000 people with cancer in the South East, and 700,000 UK-wide, vulnerable to hardship due to the unexpected cost of cancer.
Macmillan explains cancer can be tough on people’s finances as there may be significant loss of income from being too unwell to work and additional travel costs to and from hospital appointments and increased heating bills. Previous research by the charity has shown, for the majority of people, cancer costs an average of £570 a month in lost income or increased expenditure.
Sue Alford, Service Manager at Hampshire Macmillan Citizens Advice Service said: ‘People are often quite surprised at how much their finances can be affected after receiving a cancer diagnosis. It’s often the last thing you would think about, but having cancer can be expensive. We are here to offer free, confidential advice to patients, carers and family members about benefits and charitable grants that may be available. If people need further financial advice – on things like debt, employment, budgeting or energy bills – we can refer them to other specialist services that can help.’
Lee Hodgson, Head of Services for Macmillan Cancer Support in the region said; ‘It is worrying that so many people in the South East don’t have savings and could therefore be financially vulnerable if they were to get cancer. It’s difficult to save at the best of times and when you’re going through cancer the last thing you want to worry about is if you can put food on the table or keep a roof over your head. It’s important that people know, if they were to get cancer, Macmillan is here to help with money worries.’
Macmillan wants to ensure people with cancer and money worries in the South East get the support they need. We can’t do it alone though and need the government, healthcare professionals and banking and insurance sectors to play their part in alleviating the financial struggles of people affected by cancer.
Anyone affected by cancer in Hampshire who is worried about money can access the Hampshire Macmillan Citizens Advice Service on 0344 847 7727, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The Hampshire Macmillan Citizens Advice Service gives free, impartial and confidential advice on a variety of issues, including benefits, housing, employment and debt for anyone who has cancer, or is affected by cancer. The team can give advice over the phone, at your home, or in local hospitals, hospices, and Citizens Advice Bureaux across Hampshire.
To find out more about the wider financial impact of cancer, read the policy report and get support visit macmillan.org.uk/moneyworries