Macmillan gives £87,400 to keep Shropshire cancer patients above the breadline

Reporter:

Lucy Wain

Macmillan Cancer Support has revealed that in 2016 it gave out grants totalling approximately £87,4001 to Shropshire residents who were struggling with the financial hardship that cancer can bring.

With hundreds of Shropshire cancer patients relying on charity handouts to stay above the breadline, Macmillan Cancer Support is calling on the Government to change the law to ensure banks do more to ‘play their part’ as the financial crisis for cancer patients grows.

Last year across Shropshire Macmillan provided approximately £27,0001 to help local people living with cancer pay their heating bills; £14,6001 for travel costs to get to hospital appointments; £8,0001 for convalescence and outings and £16,6001 to help clothe people who often experience weight gain or loss due to their treatment.

Jo Judges, head of services for the midlands at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “The sheer number of cancer patients turning to Macmillan for help highlights just how much they are struggling financially.

“To feel too scared to put the heating on because of soaring energy bills is an unacceptable reality for thousands of vulnerable cancer patients who feel the cold more and have to spend long periods of time at home.

“Just the cost of travel to and from daily chemotherapy appointments, for example, is one of a number of hidden costs cancer patients can be burdened with at a time when the majority of them face a bill comparable to a monthly mortgage payment.

“Although we’re campaigning for the Government to protect cancer patients with a legal duty of care at banks, anyone with cancer who’s struggling financially right now can contact our helpline to find what support is available to them.”

For the majority of patients, 83 per cent, having cancer costs an average of £570 per month. This is a result of lost income – if people are too ill to work – and increased expenses such as petrol if people need to travel to hospital and higher household bills because cancer patients often feel the cold more during treatment.

Anyone affected by cancer living in Shropshire can ask their healthcare professional for a referral to the Macmillan Benefits service or contact them directly by calling 01743 492405 or email shropshire.macmillan@wolverhampton.gov.uk

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