12 May 2015
Macmillan Cancer Support helped many people in urgent financial need during 2014, with 221 Worcestershire cancer patients receiving a Macmillan grant last year to help them with costs arising from their treatment.
New figures from the charity highlight the financial isolation that often follows a cancer diagnosis. Patients in Worcestershire received £62,254 for vital essentials such as heating bills, clothing and transport costs, as well as practical household items like new beds.
Research by Macmillan also found that four out of five people are, on average, £570 a month worse off as a result of a cancer diagnosis.
Katherine Maxted from Malvern knows firsthand how vital this support is, she received a Macmillan Grant of £210 to help support her following her diagnosis of breast cancer last year. She says:
‘I found out I had cancer after a routine mammogram, after the operation to remove the tumour I was told I needed radiotherapy. As the Worcestershire Oncology Centre wasn’t open at the time this meant I had to travel to Cheltenham Hospital for my radiotherapy treatment, five days a week for five weeks, which is a 50 mile round trip. It was going to be a huge expense for me and with Christmas coming up it meant extra financial pressure for me at a time when you are already worrying about money, I panicked.
My Breast Cancer Nurse told me about the Macmillan Grant, I applied for one and I was awarded £210 which I put towards my petrol costs for travelling to treatment. It was a huge relief, when you are diagnosed with cancer you have enough to think about and the extra stress of money worries is the last thing you need. It meant I could focus on getting better. It’s great that there is extra support out there.’
Anna Mason, a specially trained Case Worker at the Worcestershire Macmillan Citizens Advice Service, says:
‘Each week I see people with cancer who just do not know how they are going to pay the next fuel bill or their costs for getting to and from hospital for treatment. Macmillan grants are a vital way of providing some support to these people, so that they can concentrate on their health rather than worrying about finances.’
Rachel Hobbs, Macmillan Cancer Support Senior Communications Officer said of the record numbers:
‘Our latest grants figures demonstrate the dramatic financial impact cancer has on the lives of patients and their loved ones. In 2014 Macmillan helped more people than ever before, as we continued to work to ensure that nobody faces cancer alone.
‘People undergoing or recovering from cancer treatment should not have the additional worry of how to pay for absolute basics such as heating their home, or bedding to keep warm. There are 2.5million people now living with and beyond cancer in the UK. And with this figure set to double by 2030, we believe that our next government needs to make cancer a priority. That’s why Macmillan is urging all of the main political parties to commit to matching the best cancer outcomes in Europe by the end of the next Parliament.’
In 2014, Macmillan awarded over £10million in grants to 33,011 people across the UK. The Macmillan grants programme gives payments to cancer patients who have limited financial resources and are in need of immediate assistance, giving an average level of help of £303 per person assisted.
Macmillan helped more patients with clothing than with any other cost arising from having cancer. This was followed by grants to help with the cost of fuel bills and the cost of travelling to and from hospital for treatment.
Rachel concludes: ‘Macmillan believes no one should face cancer alone and we urge any cancer patients who are struggling financially to contact our helpline to find what support is available to them.’
Every week, over 634 people in the UK receive a grant from Macmillan Cancer Support. Macmillan relies on public donations to continue providing this vital financial support to people affected by cancer. To donate to Macmillan Cancer Support, please call 0300 1000 200 or visit macmillan.org.uk/donate.
Macmillan grants are just one of the ways Macmillan can help with the cost of cancer. For more information about financial support available to patients, please call freephone 0808 808 0000.