Thousands of cancer patients in London face financial burden of more than £1,000 a month


Macmillan Cancer Support is urging people living with cancer in London to access its specialist support as it reveals that nearly 8 in 10 people with cancer in the capital (79%) experience some kind of financial impact from their diagnosis, and for those affected, this reaches an average of £1,064 a month, on top of their usual expenditure[i].

More than 1 in 2 in people with cancer in London (53%) are severely financially affected by their diagnosis[ii] and for those living with the long-term effects of cancer across the UK, the overall financial burden of their diagnosis is more than a year’s average UK full-time salary[iii]. The charity’s analysis suggests that the financial cost of cancer may have increased over and above the cost of inflation[iv] since it first revealed the financial impact of cancer in 2012.

The financial hit that many people are forced to face as a result of a cancer diagnosis can come from an array of extra and often unexpected needs, as well as a drop in earnings if they are less able to work. For example, the latest figures show that 53% see an increase in day-to-day living costs, 71% of people with cancer in London experience a loss of income, 23% experience extra costs of travelling to and from their appointments and 16% see their household fuel bills rise[v].

The charity is warning of the wider ramifications of these financial pressures, with many people with cancer across the UK who have been financially affected by Covid-19 saying they are left feeling anxious or stressed or experiencing worse health overall and having missed hospital appointments[vi]. Worryingly, people with cancer in the UK who have been financially affected by Covid-19 and who have also received welfare benefits during the pandemic are significantly more likely to experience these mental and physical impacts. They are more likely to find it hard to stick to their treatment plan, to miss hospital appointments and experience worse health overall as a result of financial pressures from Covid-19[vii].

These findings are mirrored by the charity’s own figures which show that during September this year, the financial teams on Macmillan’s Support Line answered more calls from people in need of support than at any other point during the pandemic so far[viii].

In response to this concerning evidence, Macmillan is urging anyone experiencing the financial impact of cancer to access support available through the charity, including the financial, emotional and practical guidance Macmillan’s specially trained Support Line advisers can offer.

Carrie Whitham, Head of Operations for Money & Work Support at Macmillan Cancer Support, says:

“Even before Covid-19 we were receiving more and more calls to our support line from people living with cancer, worried about the financial impact of their diagnosis. The pandemic has supercharged these concerns. Every day now we are hearing from people who have felt the financial impact of the Universal Credit cut, rising energy bills or the end of furlough, often making them more anxious about their finances than their health.

People with cancer need to live, not just survive and Macmillan’s specially trained teams are on hand, every day, pushing to make sure people get the support they need and deserve.”
Macmillan is doing whatever it takes to give people living with cancer the support they need and is urging people to contact the charity’s financial teams on 0808 808 00 00 seven days a week. Peer-to-peer support is also available 24 hours a day via the charity’s Online Community and more information about the support available can be found at