People suffering from cancer pay-out almost £1.5k more every year than parents looking after their children say Macmillan

SUFFERING from cancer costs nearly £1,500 more a year than having a child, according to Macmillan Cancer Support, who is calling on parliament and banks to do more to help those diagnosed.

According to a report published by the UK charity, 83 per cent of cancer patients spend £570 each month, over £100 more than parents who spend an average of £448 per child.

Lynda Thomas, Macmillan’s chief executive, said: “Cancer does not wait until you get a promotion at work or until you have enough savings in the bank.

“It arrives unexpectedly, shaking up everything from your health to your finances.”

Amy Riley, a self-employed mother of two from Lancashire remembers the constant worry of not knowing how long their savings would last.

The 32-year-old said: “My husband became the only earner in the house and even though I’ve now fully recovered the worry still lingers, as it’s very hard for me to get health insurance”.

The report comes as PM’s debate the new Government and Financial Guidance and Claims Bill, in which Macmillan wants to see a legal obligation for banks to do more to help with the financial impact of cancer.

Barry Jones, 59 from Surrey was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2016.

Severe complications after a pneumonectomy, surgical removal of a lung or part of a lung, meant he was hospitalised for three months, unable to work.

His wife Valerie said: “There are hardly any benefits out there to help people battling cancer.

“My salary alone could just about cover the mortgage and when I called my bank, as sympathetic as they were; they offered no help or consideration of our circumstances.”

The charity is calling to introduce specialist training, flexibility on mortgage repayments and interest freezes on loans and credit cards for patients.

Macmillan’s research has shown that just 11 per cent of people with cancer tell their bank about their diagnosis and that a quarter of patients have said that they are dissatisfied with the help they received from their bank.

Lynda added: “Without the right support, the sudden financial impact of the disease can be crippling.”

According to the data, the hidden costs involved in having cancer include being too ill to work, transport and hospital parking fees.

Those receiving cancer treatments often feel colder and more than one in five patients said they saw and increase in their annual energy bills.

Sheila Elliot, 67, from Surrey received full sick pay from work while recovering from kidney cancer, but knew of others that struggled: “I was one of the lucky ones as I only had six weeks off with pay, but if you had to take off longer, then there’s no way that statutory sick would cover everything.

“My friend had to take six months off and found it very hard to cope on such a low income.”

The new Bill is scheduled to be discussed again in The House of Commons this month.

Joe Patrick
Reporter