Cost of cancer as much as a mortgage

When the diagnosis is cancer- concern about survival prospects and what the treatment will involve will naturally be the first thoughts for many people in that position.
Cost of cancer as much as a mortgageHowever the financial consequences can be pretty severe too, as  a new report produced by Demos demonstrates that four in five people with cancer find that they are also losing out financially.

Not only is there the cost of not working- and not earning, particularly if you are self employed.

On top of that, there are the extra costs of spending money on wigs and new clothes as the steroids- coupled with the frequent inability to exercise which means that many also put on weight.

Also heating bills also go up not only because people are at home more- but they also feel the cold more- needing to turn the thermostat up.

The think tank calculates the average cost is about £7,000 a year – equivalent to the standard mortgage.

And it is not just in the immediate aftermath of a diagnosis that the costs are accrued.

With more and more people surviving cancer, the financial hit can last for years, the report Paying the Price suggests.

There is some support available. Those on low incomes can get free transport too and from hospital, while prescription charges for cancer patients are waived (elsewhere in the UK they have been abolished for all patients).

Several charities offer grants too. But Demos doesn’t think that goes far enough.

It wants to see those affected by cancer given the same legal right to request flexible working as parents have and the government to offer a financial health check as part of the routine follow-up care.

Jo Salter, who authored the report, says this is the “new reality” with cancer diagnoses on the rise – nearly half of people are now expected to get it in their lifetime.

Ministers say they are considering what support can be given.

For patients, this can’t come quickly enough, according to Macmillan Cancer Support.

“People living with cancer should not be left to deal with the terrible financial strain alone,” says its chief executive Ciaran Devane.

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