23 October 2015
At least 120,000 people with cancer in the UK depended on Macmillan Cancer Support to cope financially in 2014. 
Newly released data from the charity reveals that record numbers, more than 33,000, of cancer patients depend on Macmillan to buy clothing, heat their homes, get to and from hospital, buy bedding or many more vital items.
Over half (53%) of the people with cancer who received a grant from Macmillan last year needed it to help pay for clothing or to heat their homes.
People with cancer often need different clothes because of weight loss or gain, abdominal swelling or a colostomy bag or special bras if they have had a mastectomy. Cancer treatment also causes people to feel the cold more at a time when they’re likely to be spending more time at home, often leading to increased fuel costs.
The remaining tens of thousands depended on Macmillan for financial support on a range of issues, from accessing government benefits to guidance on paying mortgages.
Macmillan is highlighting the extra financial burden that many people with cancer face, due to extra costs as a result of treatment and/or a loss of income. It is warning that potential changes to the benefits system could leave many without a financial lifeline.
More people with cancer than ever before (over 85,000)  also depended on the charity to understand and access the government benefits and tax credits system, including getting help to fill in complex and often time consuming forms and tribunal representation from Macmillan’s local benefits advice services.
Over 5,000 more depended on the charity through phone conversations with the charity’s specialist financial guides for:
- help managing their fuel bills from through an Energy Advice Team and the joint Fuel Management Programme with npower. 
- information and guidance on issues such how to manage their mortgage, pension and insurance options whilst going through cancer.
Paul Burks, 56, from Essex, was first diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2010. In April this year he was told the cancer had returned. Paul says
“My loss of earnings was huge – I went from a three figure income to £67 a week. We had to extend the mortgage and my wife had to take over the full thing.
“I’ve not been able to work because of all the problems since my diagnosis and I’ve suffered from so many unexpected expenses. My wife came with me for treatment but it was impossible to come home every day because it was too costly for two people to do the journey for a week.
“Heating is another major expense that you don’t think about. When I get back from treatment, my immune system is low so I have to have the heating on all day and we even have to buy more cleaning products to keep away any germs I might pick up. My wife often sits there with her calculator dealing with the bank.
“Macmillan benefit advisors really helped me with all the paper work. There is so much red tape. Cancer has a devastating impact not only your body but on your finances too.”
Lynda Thomas, Chief Executive at Macmillan Cancer Support says:
“The growing number of people with cancer turning to Macmillan with money worries is a stark reminder of the financial impact of a cancer diagnosis.
“Clothing and rising energy bills are just two of a number of costs people with cancer are burdened with at a time when on average their income halves and their outgoings rocket. People can face spiralling financial problems they don’t know how to manage when they’re already dealing with the gruelling physical and emotional consequences of cancer.
“As numbers surge, the support that organisations like Macmillan provide are becoming even more urgent and important but we cannot do it alone.
“Every sector has a duty to protect people with cancer from further financial turmoil. Yet the Government is proposing to reduce the benefits of people with cancer who are currently unable to return to work because they’re not well enough by around £30 a week in the Welfare Reform and Work Bill. The Government must reconsider these plans or risk pushing the most vulnerable over the edge financially.”
Macmillan is calling on the Government to remove the proposed £30 a week cut from the Welfare Reform and Work Bill. To get involved in the campaign visit our website
For further information, please contact:
Charlotte Morris, Media and PR Officer, Macmillan Cancer Support
0207 091 2467 (out of hours 07801 307068)
Notes to Editors:
 Internal Macmillan data on unique people helped in 2014
 The joint Fuel Management Programme with npower ensures that Macmillan Cancer Support can refer npower customers who have been diagnosed with cancer through to special energy advisors, who will support them with their energy bills.
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