People are asking to end treatment early - as they can't afford to stay off work
A shocking new survey has revealed that well over a quarter of people with a cancer diagnosis are more worried about the cost of living crisis than their disease.
Meanwhile, more than three quarters (77%) feel that the crisis is affecting their chances of successful treatment for cancer.
The OnePoll survey, for cancer support charity Maggie’s, polled 500 people throughout the UK currently living with cancer.
It found that 80% of people with cancer in the UK also said they are worried about the cost of travel to their hospital appointments with over a third (34%) saying they worry ‘very much’.
At Maggie’s cancer support centres the charity is already hearing about people with cancer struggling to go to appointments because of travel costs and/or asking if they can end treatment early so they can return to work because they can’t afford to be off any longer.
Over half (55%) of those surveyed also said they think they will struggle to pay for food this winter and two thirds (67%) think heating bills will be a problem.
Maggie’s chief executive Dame Laura Lee said: “It is truly shocking that people living with cancer – which is possibly the hardest, most frightening experience of their lives – are now so worried about money that it is overshadowing the fact they are living with cancer.
“Many even feel the current crisis will impact their chances of successful treatment.
“The situation is clearly only going to get worse as the cost of fuel, food and heating continue to rise in the autumn. We know people with cancer are harder hit by the cost of living crisis. They need to use more heating, they are living on reduced incomes and paying to travel for treatment.
“We also know people are returning to work too early and even missing appointments because they can’t survive on benefits. This too can have devastating consequences.
“This is simply wrong. People with cancer need to be able to focus on treatment.
“At our 24 UK support centres we have experts to help if someone is worried about money as well as professional staff to help with eating well on a budget, stress management and much more. We are here for you.”
Melanie Bunce, Maggie’s benefits advisor for Maggie’s Fife, said: “I have been a benefits advisor for 25 years and this current situation is the worst I have ever seen.
“The fact is that even very ordinary situations are now becoming impossible for people with cancer. People who could have managed a year ago are now facing stark choices between eating, heating and travel to hospital appointments – and particularly badly hit are those in low income jobs. The stories we are hearing in our centres have become so much more desperate in the last six months and it is only going to get worse.”