2 November 2015
**New data highlights alarming numbers of people living with cancer in the most deprived areas at risk of the financial impact of the disease**
Around 200,000 people with cancer in England are living in the most deprived[i] areas of the country, according to a new study by Macmillan Cancer Support and Public Health England’s National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN) which will be presented at the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) conference in Liverpool tomorrow[ii]
People living in deprived areas face higher levels of unemployment and are more likely to be on some form of income support, leaving them vulnerable to the financial impact of cancer. Previous Macmillan research
has found that four in five (83%) cancer patients are hit with an average cost of £570 a month as a result of their illness[iii]. The charity warns that the increased financial burden of cancer risks putting a ‘greater strain’ on hundreds of thousands of people who live in the most deprived areas of the country.
The research reveals for the first time that in England there are more than 57,000 women living with breast cancer and around 30,000 men living with prostate cancer from the most deprived areas of the country as well as over 27,000 people with colorectal cancer and over 11,000 people with lung cancer.
The data also highlights the association between certain cancers and deprivation. People living with lung, liver or cervical cancer are almost three times more likely to live in the most deprived areas than those with skin cancer.
In addition, for eight of the top 10 most common cancers[iv], long-term survivors[v] are more likely to be from the least deprived areas, highlighting the poorer survival and higher mortality rates associated with the most deprived group for some of these cancers[vi].
Amanda Whetstone, 52, from East Sussex was diagnosed with breast cancer.
'I was diagnosed in 2009 but I'm still suffering not only the physical and mental side effects but also the financial hardships that cancer brings. There have been times when I've barely had enough money to live on.
My partner left me on the day I was told I had cancer and with all the extra costs and loss of job, some very basic things in life had to give, even food. It really is that simple. The struggle to pay for things has kept me awake at night crying.
'The benefits system does not understand what cancer does to a person and how it can turn into a hell through none of your own making. I feel very let down by the system.'
Lynda Thomas, Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, says:
“It is incredibly worrying to see that there are such high numbers of people living with cancer in some of the most deprived areas in England. We know that a cancer diagnosis can often be financially crippling, even more so for those who are already dealing with the highest levels of deprivation. Just as people are often left with the long term consequences of treatment, so cancer can have a serious lasting impact on finances. More needs to be done to mitigate this as far as possible.”
“Managing the financial impact of cancer is complex and ultimately there is no ‘magic bullet’ which will solve this. Every sector has a role to play, including the government, who have a duty to help mitigate the financial impact of cancer, especially for those who are most susceptible. Yet the proposed cuts to Employment & Support Allowance payments could leave thousands of people with cancer without a vital financial lifeline at a time when they need it most.
“Macmillan is urgently calling on the Government to remove the reduction in payments for those in the Work-Related Activity Group from the Welfare Reform and Work Bill and protect people with cancer from further financial turmoil.”
Julia Verne, Head of Clinical Epidemiology, Public Health England, says:
“This report is a stark reminder that people with cancer living in more deprived areas are still facing major health inequalities. The social causes of health inequalities are often deep rooted and complex, but PHE is committed to tackling the problem.
“The NCIN has published a range of reports to highlight variations relating to deprivation across the country, including the Cancer Equality report
and Cancer by Deprivation
, and is supporting NHS England to identify variation in quality of care so health inequalities can be reduced.
“Prevention is central to our work and taking action on preventable risk factors, such as smoking, obesity and alcohol, which are all associated with deprivation, is crucial in reducing the growth of cancer in the future.”
No-one should face financial worries alone. For financial support visit www.macmillan.org.uk/financialsupport
to find your nearest face-to-face benefits adviser, or call us free on 0808 808 00 00
For further information, please contact:
Patrick Pringle Media & PR Officer, Macmillan Cancer Support
0207 840 4891 (out of hours 07801 307068)
Notes to Editors:
[i] The English Indices of Deprivation 2000 – 2010: Income Deprivation Domain.. The most deprived group is based on the 20% most deprived Lower Super Output Areas in England. For this research, the Indices of Deprivation 2000 measure was used for data up to 2002, the Indices of Deprivation 2004 measure for 2003-05 data; the Indices of Deprivation 2007 measure for 2006-08 data and the Indices of Deprivation 2010 measure for 2009/10 data. This was to ensure that the income deprivation measure used was the closest measure to the year of diagnosis. Department for Communities and Local Government. Available at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/english-indices-of-deprivation-2010. (accessed October 2015).
[ii] NCIN. 2015. Macmillan-NCIN work plan. 20-year cancer prevalence in the UK. Macmillan and the NCIN are working in partnership to develop robust data analysis and insight, which increases our understanding of the UK cancer population and helps make personalised care a reality. The number of people living with cancer is a measure of cancer prevalence. Cancer prevalence describes people living with cancer (the number or proportion of people alive on a specified date who have been diagnosed with cancer at some time in the past). Our statistics are based on 20-year cancer prevalence as of the end of December 2010 only. By linking cancer registrations to mortality records we are able to quantify how many people were diagnosed with cancer between 1991 and 2010, and who were still alive on 31st December 2010. Northern Ireland data are 1993-2010 only.
[iii] Total cost figure includes additional expenditure and loss of income. All cost figures show the mean average for all those incurring that cost. Three-digit figures have been rounded to the nearest 10 to make them more accessible. Figures based on a postal survey of 1,610 adults with a cancer diagnosis, recruited from a database of callers to the Macmillan Support Line and visitors to a sample of Macmillan Information and Support Centres located in hospitals across the UK. The majority (95%) had received cancer treatment within the last six months. Fieldwork took place between August and October 2012. Results were weighted to be representative of all people with a cancer diagnosis in the UK by age, gender, cancer type and country of residence.
The research was commissioned by Macmillan Cancer Support, carried out by researchers from the University of Bristol Personal Finance Research Centre in partnership with TNS BMRB, and part-funded by our partner The RBS Group.
[iv] Most common meaning most prevalent cancers.
[v] Long-term survivor meaning somebody alive 10-20 years after diagnosis.
[vi] NCIN. Cancer and equality groups: key metrics 2015 (July 2015).
About the UK Cancer prevalence project
The UK Cancer prevalence project is part of the Macmillan Cancer Support and Public Health England’s National Cancer Intelligence Network Partnership Work-Plan. Data are sourced and presented in collaboration with the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, Health Intelligence Division, Public Health Wales, Public Health Wales, the Scottish Cancer Registry and the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry. Outputs from the Cancer Prevalence project cancer be found here: http://www.macmillan.org.uk/Aboutus/Ouresearchandevaluation/Ourresearchpartners/NCIN.aspx
(accessed October 2015).
About Macmillan Cancer Support
When you have cancer, you don’t just worry about what will happen to your body, you worry about what will happen to your life. Whether it’s concerns about who you can talk to, planning for the extra costs or what to do about work, at Macmillan we understand how a cancer diagnosis can take over everything.
That’s why we’re here. We provide support that helps people take back control of their lives. But right now, we can’t reach everyone who needs us. We need your help to make sure that people affected by cancer get the support they need to face the toughest fight of their life. No one should face cancer alone, and with your support no one will.
To get involved, call 0300 1000 200
today. And please remember, we’re here for you too. If you’d like support, information or just to chat, call us free on 0808 808 00 00
(Monday to Friday, 9am–8pm) or visit macmillan.org.uk