Cost of living still one of the top worries for 48% of people living with cancer

Thursday 13 July 2023

A new survey shows that almost half (48%) of people living with cancer list cost of living as one of their top worries.

The survey carried out by OnePoll on behalf Maggie’s, polled 250 people living with cancer in the UK asking them to highlight their main worries:

  • 71% of people said they were worried about their cancer diagnosis
  • 48% were worried about the rise cost of living expenses
  • 21% of people surveyed said they were very concerned about the rising costs of food
  • 19% of people also cited climate change as a source of worry. 

Supporting Julie

Julie Tennant (58) from Heywood was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and is currently receiving chemotherapy treatment at Royal Oldham Hospital. She is especially worried about the cost of living and rising food bills, as she is having to take time off from her job as a support worker and is living on half-sick-pay - with only one week of this left.  

Julie explains: 

"I came to Maggie’s for support for my cancer diagnosis and found out I could apply for PIP and statutory sick pay through a benefits adviser in the centre, however, I only applied for these benefits last week and I have been told there is a 13 to 16 week wait to find out if I will receive them.

My situation is tricky because my sick-pay has been very limited because I had been off before with long-Covid for seven months two years ago. This means that I’m currently living off of £125 a week and this is about to be cut off from next week. £125 does not buy very much these days, so my husband Andy and I are having to be very careful, especially when it comes to our food shop and we have to plan what we buy very carefully.

Andy is disabled and can only work 25 hours per week so there is no option for him to be able to work overtime either."

Help with money worries

Neil Murray, Benefits Adviser at Maggie’s Oldham said: 

"We are definitely seeing an increase in people coming into our centres worried about money at a time when they should be able to focus on their treatment. 

People suddenly have a reduced income – or no income at all - when the cost of the most basic living expenses are higher than ever. Then there is the added costs of having cancer such as heating costs and extra travel for hospital appointments.

The good news is that there is help out there, but the problem now is the time it takes to get people access to that help – on top of the 3 or 6 month qualifying periods, it often takes between 12 and 16 weeks for benefit payments to be approved which is a very long time for someone to be struggling with money while also undergoing treatment. 

There needs to more help for people living with cancer."

How we can help

We're have expert staff in our centres available to help you. 

Research used must state as a reference: 

OnePoll surveyed 250 UK adults living with cancer from 27-28 June 2023.

The survey was conducted online using panel members who are credited to participate in surveys. Respondents who are currently living with cancer were targeted using screening questions and profile data in order to ensure the correct demographic was achieved. 

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