Thursday 20th June 2013
Four in five people living with cancer are hit with an average cost of £570 a month as a result of their illness – the same as the average mortgage.
People living with cancer should be focusing on their treatment and recovery, not worrying about their wallets. But, from fuel costs for trips to the hospital through to the worry of a reduced income, the price of living with cancer can often be too high.
We commissioned the University of Bristol to carry out a piece of research [PDF] looking at how cancer impacts on people’s finances. The results revealed that, as the economic crisis continues to bite, many people have to cope with the hidden costs of cancer and treatment combined with, for those who are unable to continue working as before, a drop in income.
One in three people experience a loss of earnings, on average a shocking £860 a month, because they are unable to work or have to cut down their hours. For six in seven people with cancer, their monthly expenses also shoot up by £270 on average. This includes:
- travelling to appointments, which costs two in three people £170 a month
- day-to-day living costs, which cost more than half of people £63 a month
- car parking fees for outpatient appointments, which costs three in eight people £37 a month
- fuel bills, which cost one in three people £24 a month
- over-the-counter or prescription medicines, which cost one in five people £8 a month
- home help or live-in care, which costs one in twenty people £56 a month.
The research also showed 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 twice the size of that of someone with colorectal or prostate cancer.
This isn’t right. That’s why we have launched a three-year UK-wide campaign, Cancer’s Hidden Price Tag, to ensure that people with cancer are focusing on their treatment and recovery, not feeling anxious about their finances.
We are calling on governments, businesses and the NHS to act urgently to ensure the right support is offered at the right time, so that people living with cancer are not left to deal with the terrible financial strain alone. It is vital that people with cancer are given financial support and information at key points during their cancer journey to help them deal with the hidden costs of their illness.
Visit the Cancer's Hidden Price Tag campaign section of the website, or contact Claire Keuls, Media and PR Officer for Campaigns and Services.