Last year, Macmillan Cancer Support gave £1,236,800 to 3,372 people living with cancer in London.
As many cancer patients on low-incomes struggle with the financial fallout of a diagnosis, compounded by the current cost of living crisis and Covid-19, Macmillan is urging anyone in need to seek their support.
Macmillan Grants helped 3,372 Londoners pay for essentials such as heating bills and hospital transport costs, after they were diagnosed with cancer or underwent cancer treatment.
A cancer diagnosis often brings increased and unexpected living costs, such as requiring wigs or post-surgery clothing, a new bed for someone who can no longer climb the stairs to their bedroom, or fresh bedding for those experiencing incontinence and other treatment side-effects. Research by Macmillan found that across the UK, 83% of people diagnosed with cancer suffered a financial impact.
However, one of the biggest expenses facing people with cancer is higher energy bills. Many people undergoing cancer treatment need to have the heating on for longer periods due to the side-effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
With domestic energy prices due to rise by as much as 50% in April, and further increases expected in October when the energy price cap is raised again, this year could present a triple threat for people with cancer, who are already struggling with the financial impact of their diagnosis and the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In recognition of the extraordinary challenges facing cancer patients in 2022, Macmillan has made an extra £3.5 million of emergency funds available to help pay escalating fuel bills. In the first six weeks of 2022, Macmillan has given out over £1.6 million in grants to support vulnerable patients across the UK – an increase of 33% on the same time last year.
Karen from Worcester Park, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2017 explained what receiving a Macmillan Grant meant to her:
“When I received a one-off grant from Macmillan, to help pay for essentials like my utility bills, I burst out crying and I never cry! I was just so shocked and overwhelmed, as I have never had any help in my life – I don’t like to ask for help, as I’ve always been very independent and had to survive on my own.
“The grant meant so much to me, that I sent an email to the top person at Macmillan to say a huge thank-you to everybody that had helped me, and for their continuous help throughout such a difficult time: from the advice I received from a Macmillan financial adviser, who arranged the grant, to Macmillan’s employment advice – I learnt so much about being an employee with cancer and how an employer should be treating an employee with cancer.
“I was ever so grateful – I thought Macmillan was just a cancer charity, but they are so much more!”
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Kewcha from South London, who was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2007, also was helped by a Macmillan Grant:
“I was able to access a Macmillan grant through my allocated key worker at King’s College Hospital. From this one-off payment I was able to purchase a bed which made life much easier for me, as at times I was too sick to leave the house. My Macmillan grant brought some comfort when I needed it most.
“Cancer brings many challenges but worrying about paying for essentials such as heating shouldn’t be one of them. I’d encourage anyone who is struggling with the financial impact of their diagnosis to contact Macmillan and access the help and support they can offer.”
Emma Tingley, Macmillan’s Head of Partnerships for London & South East Regions, said of the additional challenges facing people with cancer in 2022:
“It’s been an incredibly tough few years for people with cancer. Covid-19 continues to cause great challenges for the clinically vulnerable and now cancer patients are having to contend with a cost of living crisis that has seen prices for fuel and food rocket.
“Macmillan is here for everyone with cancer. But we know there are always more people that we could be helping. So, if you are someone in need of our support, we will do everything we can to ensure you get the practical advice and help that can make life with cancer not simply about survival.”
Across the UK, Macmillan gave over £12.3m to over 33,000 cancer patients in 2021.
Macmillan grants are a one-off, means tested payment of £350 to help with the extra costs that living with cancer can bring. Anyone over 18, who has been diagnosed with cancer or undergoing treatment can apply.
To find out more about Macmillan grants, including who can apply, call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00 (open seven days a week, 8am to 8pm) and talk to the Macmillan Welfare Rights Team.
Or, speak to your Macmillan nurse, or other healthcare professional, who can help you apply for a Macmillan grant.