15 December 2014
*Crippling cost of cancer leaves thousands of patients at risk of losing their homes each year**
In the past year, more than 250,000 people with cancer in the UK have faced difficulties paying their mortgage or rent, according to new research by Macmillan Cancer Support.
The UK-wide YouGov poll of 2,011 adults diagnosed with cancer found that two in five (39%) people who rent a home or have a mortgage struggle with their payments and almost half say this is at least partly as a result of their diagnosis.
Cancer is an expensive disease. Many people have to cope with a loss of income and additional financial burdens such as expensive hospital travel costs and increased fuel bills as a result of treatment.
Macmillan is particularly concerned that 10,000 people (2%) with cancer are potentially at risk of losing their homes after missing at least one payment and a further 16,000 people (7%) have had to downsize or sell their homes in the past year.
In order to help meet these payments:
- one in four (24%) were forced to sell their belongings
- one in six (17%) have been given or loaned money from friends and family
- two in five (39%) used their savings
- 4% took out a payday loan
Deanne Wilson, 43, from West Yorkshire, was diagnosed with throat cancer in February this year. Unable to work and with mortgage bills stacking up, she was forced to put her house on the market and move into council accommodation. She says:
“A house is more than a material possession. It is a home. It is a necessity. It was a horrible experience.
“Things just got worse and worse. It is hard enough to deal with the stress of cancer, let alone worrying about losing my home.
“You can fall into a poverty trap. The stress and the poverty literally consume you. We are getting by now, but it is still incredibly difficult. It can be overwhelming.”
Lynda Thomas, Chief Executive at Macmillan Cancer Support, says:
“Our research shows just how dire the financial situation has become for people with cancer in the UK. We know that each year thousands of cancer patients are left vulnerable and at the brink of financial crisis as they are forced to manage a loss of income and the additional costs of cancer.
“But to think that thousands of people are being forced to sell their homes just to cope with the crippling costs of the disease is completely heartbreaking.
“Particularly as winter approaches and the weather turns colder, no one should have to face the thought of losing their home simply because they have been diagnosed with cancer. It is vital we act now to support and protect the financially vulnerable from having to foot the bill for their disease.”
Macmillan believes no-one should face financial worries alone and is calling on local and national governments (in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland), registered social and private landlords, businesses and the NHS to act urgently to ensure the right support is offered at the right time to ease the terrible financial strain on people living with cancer.
Macmillan offers financial support to anyone affected by cancer. Our financial guidance service can help you with your options if you're struggling to keep up with repayments. To speak to one of our financial experts, call us free on 0808 808 00 00, Monday to Friday 9am-5pm, and ask to speak to a financial guide. Or visit www.macmillan.org.uk/financialsupport.
The charity has also partnered with Nationwide Building Society to provide financial support which delivers lasting benefits to people affected by cancer http://www.macmillan.org.uk/Aboutus/OurCorporatePartners/Nationwide.aspx
For further information, please contact:
Cora Bauer, Media and PR Officer, Macmillan Cancer Support
0207 091 2016 (out of hours 07801 307068)
Notes to Editors:
1 Macmillan Cancer Support/YouGov online survey of 2,011 UK adults who have ever been diagnosed with cancer. Fieldwork conducted 7-11 November 2014. Survey data has been weighted by age and gender to match the known profile of people living with cancer (using 2008 cancer prevalence estimates). Macmillan estimate (of over 250,000) calculated by taking the number of survey respondents who say they have struggled to meet or missed mortgage or rent payments (n=259) divided by the total number of respondents (n=2,011), applied to the total estimated number of people living with cancer in the UK (2,000,000).
2 Macmillan estimate of over 10,000 calculated by taking the number of survey respondents who say they have missed at least one mortgage or rent payment in the last year (n=11), divided by the total number of respondents (n=2,011), applied to the total estimated number of people living with cancer in the UK (2,000,000).
3 Macmillan estimate (of 16,000) calculated by taking the number of respondents who say they have had to downsize or sell their home (n=17) divided by the total number of respondents (n=2,011), applied to the total estimated number of people living with cancer in the UK (2,000,000).
4 In Wales, the Welsh Government’s Cancer Delivery Plan, which was published in June 2012, made a commitment that people affected by cancer will be routinely offered the opportunity to access financial advice and support as part of the care assessment and planning process. Macmillan is calling now on the Welsh Government to issue guidance to Local Health Boards which clarifies its expectations on how the commitment should be implemented consistently across Wales. To find out more about our campaign visit www.macmillan.org.uk/GetInvolved/Campaigns/Cancers-Hidden-Price-Tag/CountingtheCostofCancer/CountingtheCostofCancerNextSteps.aspx
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
About the Macmillan and Nationwide partnership
Nationwide Building Society and Macmillan Cancer Support have been working in partnership for 21 years. Since starting in 1993, £6.8million has been raised. This has funded vital Macmillan services, including two Cancer Information Centres, Welfare Benefits Advisers in five regions and more recently, funding for Macmillan Support Line (MSL) and grants to help people living with cancer with mortgage and rental payments.
The partnership has a joint ambition to provide financial support which delivers lasting benefits to people affected by cancer by keeping them in their own homes.
Since 2012 the partnership has provided £80,000 to MSL to assist calls from people with housing worries and £115,465 for rent and mortgage grants. So far, 252 people have received help to stay in their own home across the UK, with an average grant of £259.73; 98 grants towards mortgage payments totalling £28,165 and 154 grants towards rent payments totalling £37,287. The partnership funded these grants in their entirety and will continue to do so until 2016.
For more info visit http://www.macmillan.org.uk/Aboutus/OurCorporatePartners/Nationwide.aspx