Money and cancer

People with cancer face a significant financial impact as a result of their diagnosis. It is important that they have access to the support they need from financial services providers, the NHS, Governments and beyond.

Macmillan’s research shows that people with cancer face a significant financial impact as a result of their diagnosis. Four in five people are affected and find themselves, on average, £570 a month worse off. Many are faced with a combination of reduced income – due to having to stop working – and increased costs, such as paying for regular trips to medical appointments and spiralling household bills.

With the cancer population set to grow from 2.5 million today to 4 million by 2030 it is vital that action is taken now to ensure people can access the financial support they need.

Macmillan’s new report, No Small Change [PDF], provides insight into the severity of the financial impact of cancer – including its devastating impact on people affected by cancer’s physical and mental wellbeing. It outlines what governments, health bodies and the financial services industry should do to help people face the financial impact of cancer.

We are calling for:

  • people affected by cancer to be made aware of the financial impact of cancer and signposted to the appropriate financial information, guidance, or advice at key points in their journey
  • the benefits system to operate effectively and to provide an adequate level of support for people affected by cancer
  • the banking and insurance sectors to do more to ensure their customers with cancer have consistently positive outcomes.

Claire, diagnosed with brain Cancer, hugs Shez, her Macmillan nurse.

Cancer Matters

Ahead of the General Election, we asked Macmillan campaigners and supporters to email their candidates and let them know that cancer matters.

Find out more


Financial Support for cancer patients has always been at the forefront of Macmillan’s work in Scotland. We are currently partnered with the Scottish Government and local councils to provide Financial and Benefits Advice at the five cancer centres in Aberdeen, Inverness, Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

With new welfare powers being devolved to the Scottish Parliament we will campaign to ensure that cancer patients get the benefits they are entitled to in as efficient a manner as possible.


Wales / Cymru

We know from our research and from speaking to people affected by cancer that finances and the cost of cancer is an increasing issue for people in Wales. Only a quarter of people with cancer discuss their financial situation with a health or social care professional. 

We believe that each person who receives a cancer diagnosis should be offered the opportunity to access welfare benefits advice to ensure stress and anxiety around their finances is minimised.

Arian a Chanser

Gwyddom trwy ein hymchwil ac wrth siarad â phobl sydd wedi cael eu heffeithio gan ganser fod cyllid a chost canser yn broblem gynyddol i bobl yng Nghymru. Dim ond chwarter y bobl sydd â chanser sydd yn trafod eu sefyllfa ariannol gyda gweithiwr iechyd neu ofal cymdeithasol proffesiynol.

Credwn y dylai pob person sydd yn cael diagnosis o ganser gael cyfle i gael cyngor am fudd-daliadau lles er mwyn lleihau’r straen a’r pryder yn ymwneud â’u sefyllfa ariannol.


Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Welfare Reform Act was passed in November 2015 and the introduction of changes to working age benefits are now underway. This could have an impact on the financial support received by people affected by cancer. We consider it vitally important that people with cancer are supported through these changes and do not lose out on much needed income.

Currently, more than 1 in 4 people of working age receive no information about getting financial help when undergoing treatment for cancer in Northern Ireland. Macmillan is committed to making sure that everyone affected by cancer is signposted to appropriate support and receives the benefits they are entitled to.


Key UK reports

A collection of our UK key reports are available to download below. Please see nation specific resources above.

Tick the document name to select. Then click ‘Download selected’ to download